As the scheduled 60-day session reaches its halfway point today, I am pleased to report that many of our Freedom Agenda bills are alive and well, and have made it past the committee cutoff deadlines. Your support has helped to make The Freedom Agenda the most successful slate of conservative legislation since the Republican Contract in the mid-1990s. Below is a status report of our bills moving through the process. Also, be sure to take action on our “Action Bill” to ensure more freedom. We must also remain vigilant to protect the unprotected, to serve the underserved, and to provide a voice for those who cannot speak – and that includes our unborn children. See below about one of the worst bills of this legislative session, and our fight to stop it and protect women and children.
- Watch my Legislative Video Update. Every two weeks, I record a video update of the current activities in the Legislature. It is also shown at various times on Spokane City Cable 5.
- Check out all of my prime- and co-sponsored bills here.
- Listen to our Freedom Agenda podcast on Sound Cloud.
- Go to Facebook and look for Freedom Agenda Washington.
- Visit my website: www.representativemattshea.com
- Join me for a telephone town hall meeting, Feb. 19, from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Call toll-free: 1-800-757-3703.
With 30 days remaining in this legislative session, we are determined to carry the torch of freedom to the very end – standing strong for LOWER TAXES, LESS GOVERNMENT and MORE FREEDOM.
Thank you for joining with us. And thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you in the state Legislature.
“The best road to progress is freedom's road,” said John F. Kennedy more than 50 years ago. It remains true today, even though many liberals who hold JFK up as their hero, continue to seek ways to shackle freedom and halt progress. I am proud to say we are making considerable progress in the Legislature with our Freedom Agenda bills. Here's the latest status of those bills that are advancing:
- Expanding the freedom to use off-road and all-terrain vehicles – Building upon our success last year with the ATV/ORV bill that passed the Legislature and was signed into law, this year I have introduced House Bill 2675. The measure would do four things: 1. Changes the process for obtaining a title to an off-road vehicle; 2. Adds a sponsoring organization (such as a search and rescue unit) to the list of entities in which a volunteer emergency worker would be protected from liability for civil damages; 3. Provides reciprocity of wheeled all-terrain vehicle laws with other states, such as Idaho; and 4. Allows motor vehicle repair shops to do inspections. I am pleased to report this bill passed the House Transportation Committee and is now in the House Rules Committee awaiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote.
- A new way to get your food directly from the farm – House Bill 1827 would create a license for pass-thru wholesale food distributors, such as Zaycon in the Spokane Valley, that deliver pre-packaged food directly to the consumer. A public hearing was held Jan. 17 in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The bill passed from the committee last Wednesday and has been referred to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology. Read more about this legislation in my e-mail update from two weeks ago.
- Expanding the state's economy through industrial hemp – On Thursday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Information Technology approved House Bill 1888, which would legalize growing and sales of industrial hemp. This measure could create an entirely new industry in the state of Washington and have a tremendous positive impact on our state's economy. Please note that industrial hemp is NOT marijuana, but an entirely separate product. The Associated Press recently wrote a story on a similar bill in the Senate. Read the story.
- Preventing active military service from being used against a military parent in custody disputes – There are a lot of military members who may be separated or divorced from their spouse and are unable to be present during designated visitation times with their children. Their military service should not be used against them in custody disputes. House Bill 1107 would allow visitation rights or residential time to be voluntarily delegated to another person (such as a grandparent, etc.) when that military parent has received orders of temporary duty that involves being more than one night away. The measure passed the House unanimously on Jan. 31 and is now in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
ACTION BILL – House Bill 1771 restricting the use of drones
House Bill 1771 would establish state safeguards for the purchase and use of public unmanned aircraft systems (PUAS), also known as drones. Under the measure, a state agency would have to get permission from the Legislature before it obtained a PUAS. A local agency would need to get permission from a local governing body. For example, a city police department would need approval from a city council to obtain a drone.
The bill has 19 co-sponsors, including eight Democrats, and support from the American Civil Liberties Union. It passed the House Public Safety Committee last year. Unfortunately, it has been stuck in the House Rules Committee for nearly a year. We need to get this bill moved to the House floor for a vote!
Call the toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Ask to leave a message for your state representative. Tell your lawmakers to move House Bill 1771, the “Drone Bill,” out of the House Rules Committee and onto the House floor for a vote!
House Bill 2148 would require all health insurance companies in Washington to provide coverage for abortions. If approved, Washington would be the first state in the nation with this abortion mandate. It would force people who want health insurance in Washington to purchase from an insurer who provides money to pay for abortions. It is anti-choice because it would take away the right of women to choose whether or not they want this type of coverage. It is an attack on religious liberty, freedom and conscience-protections in the U.S. and Washington constitutions.
Here are some points I have made on this issue:
- God is the author of life and all life is sacred – especially the unborn.
- If we get the life issue wrong, we get EVERY issue wrong.
- There is NO choice in a mandate.
- The body inside your body is NOT your body.
Despite our best efforts to stop this legislation, it passed the House last Wednesday, 54-44. The measure is now in the Senate, where we are working to stop this horrific and destructive bill.