We have finished our first full week of the 2014 legislative session and it has been an eventful one. During the first day, Democrats cut short opening comments and pulled a bill to the floor for a vote – the so-called “Dream Act”- which would extend state tuition assistance to undocumented students living illegally in Washington. I voted “no.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Inslee delivered his State of the State address. He advocated for more government and higher taxes – everything The Freedom Agenda is fighting against.
Throughout the week, my Freedom Agenda colleagues and I worked to empower citizens and rein in government through new rule changes and introduction of legislation. You can read more about this below.
Finally, the week ended with the Seahawks defeating the 49ers and securing the right to play in the Super Bowl in two weeks. Not a bad way to end the week.
During the legislative session, my Spokane Valley office will be closed. However, you may reach me through my Olympia office. I encourage you to call (360) 786-7984 or leave a message on the toll-free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000. You may also e-mail me at email@example.com.
Listen to our Freedom Agenda podcast on Sound Cloud. And go to Facebook and look for Freedom Agenda Washington.
Freedom Agenda Highlights
Lower taxes, less government and more freedom! That's what The Freedom Agenda is all about. Each week in my e-newsletter, I will be highlighting Freedom Agenda bills. This week, we turn our attention to three:
- Prohibiting the use of transportation funds for public works of art or artistic designs
The governor wants to raise as much as 11 1/2 cents a gallon in state gasoline taxes, because he says the state doesn't have enough money to build roads and pay for transportation projects. However, did you know that thousands of your taxpayer dollars are being diverted away from highway projects (i.e. pavement, building roads and bridges, etc.) to public art along and within those projects?
I have introduced House Bill 2092, a measure that would prohibit the use of transportation funds for public works of art or artistic designs. Let's stop siphoning money away from needed projects, such as the North-South Freeway, so that we can actually build highway projects that have been in the works for years.
LEGISLATIVE ALERT – ACTION ITEM:
A public hearing on this bill will be held tomorrow, Jan. 21, at 3:30 p.m. in the House Transportation Committee. Please attend this hearing or send your comments to Rep. Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee. Her e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” However, did you know the National Security Administration (NSA) has a snooping facility located at the Yakima Training Area in central Washington? It's time to protect your right to privacy and freedom!
Along with Rep. David Taylor, I have co-sponsored House Bill 2272, the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. The bill declares “it is the policy of this state to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched or seized.”
I recently was a guest on the Alex Jones' InfoWars program with host David Knight. I invite you to watch my interview here. Rep. Taylor was also interviewed on KIRO Radio about the bill. You can listen to that interview here.
- Rule changes
I fought for and was successful in adding at least two rule changes to the House of Representatives through House Resolution 4659. Under those changes, the House is directed to allow citizens to testify on a bill first, before lobbyists and state agencies. It also directs lawmakers who missed a vote to place on record (the House Journal) how they would have voted had they been present. This prevents lawmakers from skipping out on difficult votes and keeps transparency in the process.
Governor's State of the State Address
On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his State of the State Address. He called for eliminating tax breaks/exemptions (raising taxes) to push more money into education, increasing the state's minimum wage (even though Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation), passing a transportation funding package (proposed to cost an additional 11 1/2 cents a gallon more at the gas pump), and addressing climate change (the governor's proposed low-carbon fuel standards could raise fuel prices by a dollar a gallon). His expansion of government spending speech was an about face from the “hold-steady budget” Inslee proposed one month ago.
Separation of powers – High court goes too far
Despite the fact the Legislature pumped an additional $1 billion into K-12 education last year, the state Supreme Court on Jan. 9 said that wasn't sufficient to meet the requirements of its McCleary decision. The high court said unless “real and measurable progress” is made, it may hold the Legislature in contempt.
Constitutionally, the state Supreme Court is overstepping its separation of powers. Article 2, Section 16 of the Washington State Constitution very clearly delineates that Washington state lawmakers cannot be held in contempt of court for an action taken during their legislative duties.
I support the state's paramount duty to provide for the education of all children within its borders. However, the funding of education and the issue of separation of powers are two entirely separate issues. It's the job of the Legislature to make the laws and appropriate money to operate state government. It's the job of the state Supreme Court to interpret the laws and the constitution. The court has no business telling us what our timeline is when it comes to funding education. It is up to us to craft that budget, not the state Supreme Court.
Bad bill – House Bill 1817 – The (Broken) Dream Act
On Monday, the first day of session, opening ceremonies were cut short as House majority Democrats took the unusual step of running a a measure, House Bill 1817 – the so-called “Dream Act” – on the floor for a vote. The measure would make illegal immigrants eligible to compete for the state Need Grant as assistance for college tuition. It's the identical bill from last year that stalled in the Senate at the end of the second special session in June. I voted against it last year and I voted “no” again on Monday.
Everyone wants people to get an education. However, it is pure politics to send out a bill with the full knowledge and understanding that there is no additional money to fund undocumented students that would be competing against the 32,400 legal residents of Washington who have applied for state Need Grant tuition assistance. It's an intentionally false promise.
I am also concerned if this bill is passed, supporters will eventually push for tax increases to pay for the additional applicants.