We are just one day away from the scheduled date of adjournment of the 60-day legislative session. There are many moving parts this evening as lawmakers scramble to finish their business. The most active machine today at the state Capitol is the rumor mill. Everyone is wondering whether negotiators will come to an agreement this evening on a supplemental state operating budget – and whether there will be time enough to print it, have a caucus discussion on it, allow lawmakers to read through it, and then bring it to the floor for a vote before time runs out tomorrow night at midnight – the scheduled end of the 2014 regular session. If not, we may be facing another special session – and that is a prospect no one likes, especially following three special sessions last year.
In the meantime, we were given a humbling reminder this morning of why we are here – and the importance of public service to the people of the state of Washington. We were honored this morning with a visit by U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Ty Michael Carter. He is a true American hero, who dodged bullets, grenades and fire bombs during an attack on his combat outpost in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009. His valiant efforts to supply ammunition to his fellow soldiers, fight fires in the compound, and risk his life to save other wounded soldiers during a 12-hour battle exemplifies the true meaning of sacrifice to ensure our freedom. You can read more about his efforts here.
While there is no comparison to the service and sacrifice of Sgt. Carter and the other brave men and women who defend our country every day, here in the Legislature, we are on a different battlefront to preserve your freedom. I am proud of the accomplishments made through The Freedom Agenda, the most successful slate of conservative legislation in Washington in the past 20 years. Please read on for an update of those bills moving forward.
Thank you for standing with us to ensure LOWER TAXES, LESS GOVERNMENT and MORE FREEDOM. And thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you in the state Legislature.
Freedom Agenda bills advance – Let freedom ring!
The most successful slate of conservative bills in 20 years:
- 65 Freedom Agenda bills introduced;
- More than 40 public hearings;
- More than 25 national news stories;
- 24 Freedom Agenda bills pass House and/or Senate; and
- Six signed into law.
Here's the latest status on our Freedom Agenda bills:
SIGNED INTO LAW:
- Child care facilities – House Bill 2191 requires a consultation with city or county enforcement officials, as well as a written verification that an alteration is required, before the Department of Early Learning could require a code change to a facility. The consultation and potential alteration would only apply to licensed childcare space. This measure will help bring certainty to childcare providers and reign in a state agency that has gone overboard in trying to enforce perceived code violations.
SENT TO THE GOVERNOR:
- Fresh water docks – House Bill 1090 will incentivize the use of environmentally-friendly materials for fresh water dock construction and help fresh water dock manufacturers in the Spokane area create jobs. It gained unanimous passage in both the House and Senate and is heading to the governor for his signature. Listen to my floor speech here.
- Restricting government's use of drones and surveillance – House Bill 2789 will establish state safeguards for the purchase and use of drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, also known as “extraordinary sensing devices (ESD).” Under the measure, a state agency would have to get permission from the agency's governing body before it obtained an ESD. Usage is restricted for certain emergency circumstances or if a search warrant is issued. No regulatory usage is permitted unless the Legislature authorizes it through legislation. I was proud to co-sponsor this measure to protect our civil liberties.
- A new way to get your food directly from the farm and a model for the future of the food industry – Senate Bill 6388 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. I sponsored this legislation in the House through House Bill 1827, but the identical Senate companion bill is the measure heading to the governor.
AWAITING LEGISLATIVE ACTION
- House Bill 1888 – Expanding the state's economy through industrial hemp – This measure, which would legalize growing and sales of industrial hemp, 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. We are still working very hard to get this bill pulled to the Senate floor for a vote.
WE STOPPED THE DEMOCRAT TAX MACHINE!
Lower taxes! That's one of the primary objectives of The Freedom Agenda. We successfully fought against the following tax increase proposals by the Democrats:
- Up to 12 cents a gallon state gasoline tax increase. WE STOPPED IT!
- A new tax on bottled water. WE STOPPED IT!
- Taxing recycled fuel. WE STOPPED IT!
- Non-resident sales tax (current exemption attracts out-of-state shoppers). WE STOPPED IT!
- A new tax on prescription drugs. WE STOPPED IT!
Listen to my radio report on KXLY's Rick Rydell Show
Each Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. during the session, I have provided a legislative update on KXLY's Rick Rydell Show. Today, I spoke about The Freedom Agenda and successful bills going to the governor. You can listen to that broadcast here.
Watch my Legislative Update video
District office re-opens in Spokane Valley next week
For your convenience, I maintain a legislative district office in Spokane Valley through the interim (when the Legislature is not in session). We will be re-opening my district office at the beginning of next week. Here's the address and phone number:
18507 East Appleway, Suite 201
Spokane Valley, WA 99016
P.O. Box 391
Greenacres, WA 99016
I work for you throughout the year, so please contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government.
Here are some other ways to become involved:
- 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
- Have your family, friends and neighbors sign up for my e-mail update here.