It is now Day 65 of the scheduled 105-day session. Our first floor cutoff was last Wednesday, March 11. With the exception of measures necessary to implement the budget, all other bills that had not passed out of their house of origin by that date are considered “dead” for the session. You can view the list of major bills that survived or died in our “Dead or Alive” report.
I'm pleased to report that five of my prime-sponsored Freedom Agenda bills passed off the House floor and are now in the Senate. Your support for these measures and for The Freedom Agenda is why we are so successful. In fact, it is the most successful slate of conservative legislation in 20 years.
I've provided a report below of our Freedom Agenda bills. We still need to move the industrial hemp bill forward and with your help, we can kill bad bills that threaten the good citizens of our state.
Please keep your calls, letters and emails coming! Together, we will ensure a society of lower taxes, less government and more freedom! Contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about legislation and how you can help to further the cause of liberty.
Shea's ATV/ORV bills clear House
Two of my three bills related to off-road and all-terrain vehicles passed the House with bipartisan support:
- House Bill 1817 would provide liability immunity for local jurisdictions when wheeled all-terrain vehicles are operated on public roadways. This measure would fix a problem leftover from my 2013 legislation that expanded allowed ATV/ORV usage. It extends protection from liability to cities, counties, and
towns. Some local jurisdictions have refused to allow ATVs on public roadways because they are too concerned with liability. This bill would remove that barrier.
- House Bill 1918 modifies provisions applicable to off-road, non-highway, and wheeled all-terrain vehicles and their drivers. Idaho has the same regulations as Washington, so this measure would ensure both states have reciprocal exemption privileges to promote tourism. It also requires the Department of Licensing (DOL) to issue titles to all ORVs and, if
there is no vehicle identification number (VIN), then the DOL is to use the engine serial number.
These bills would bring more travel and tourism to the communities that allow ATVs on roadways. The people who come to these communities for ATV recreation bring their families and are good people with good values. They also spend money, which helps our local economies.
Tightening home detention requirements
Investigations the last two years by The Freedom Foundation and KING 5 News discovered extreme lax accountability for convicted criminals sentenced to electronic home monitoring. There were reports of offenders going on vacation, drinking in bars, or actually buying time off the clock from the monitoring companies to look the other way. To address these problems, I introduced House Bill 1943. The measure, which passed the House by a near-unanimous vote, would, among other things:
- Provide that a person who knowingly violates the terms of home detention is guilty of escape in the third degree;
- Prohibit pre-trial home detention for offenders who have a prior conviction for a violent, sex, or escape offense; and
- Hold monitoring companies accountable through civil penalties if they do not comply with the law.
Read more about this bill and passage from the House here.
Action item – Industrial hemp – House Bill 1552
Imagine creating an entire new industry filled with jobs. Imagine the benefits it would have on our state's economy! We have that opportunity before us in the form of House Bill 1552. The measure would legalize industrial hemp in Washington state.
Industrial hemp is used in many ways, from hemp milk to hempcrete, which is a mold- and fire-resistant building material.
The measure passed out of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee on Feb. 10. It was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, but has been held there ever since.
Please call House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Ross Hunter and ask him to bring up House Bill 1552 for a vote. You can reach Rep. Hunter at (360) 786-7936 or via e-mail at: email@example.com.
A similar bill has passed the Senate. Senate Bill 5012 had a public hearing Monday in the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. If House Bill 1552 does not move forward, I intend to add the language from that bill onto the Senate bill.
Bad bill – Senate Bill 5987 concerning transportation revenue
Our bad bill of the week is Senate Bill 5987. During our 4th District telephone town hall on Feb. 24, we asked if local citizens are in favor of raising the state gas tax by 11.7 cents per gallon. More than 65 percent of respondents said “no.” This is consistent with other similar surveys throughout Washington state. Senate Bill 5987 would raise the gas tax incrementally to 11.7 cents per gallon, despite the fact that we've already had a 7.7 percent growth in revenue over the past year in state government. Remember what we say in The Freedom Agenda: “LOWER taxes, LESS government!”
I think it is in poor taste to ask taxpayers for more money when the Washington State Department of Transportation is wasting dollars now. They have the broken Bertha tunneling machine in Seattle, leaky pontoons on the 520 bridge, and have built ramps to nowhere. We need to make the best use of the tax dollars you pay at the gas pump. Let's not ask for more of your money.
Watch my Legislative Update video
Every two weeks, I record my Legislative Update video. You can watch it online here.
In this latest video, I discuss the minimum wage bill that passed the House floor and why it is bad for Washington.