It is Day 86 of the scheduled 105-day session. On Thursday, House Democrats passed their $39 billion budget measure, House Bill 1106, on a party-line vote, 51-47. The measure would rely on $1.5 billion in tax increases. But guess what? They voted the budget out, but not their own tax bill.
On late Thursday afternoon, the Senate began debating its own budget proposal. Partisan parliamentary procedures continued to bog down the debate, which spilled over into the early morning hours Friday. Finally, the Senate gave up without taking a final vote on their budget. Yesterday, they finally voted the budget out of the Senate.
On Good Friday, things got even more strange around the Capitol. Gov. Jay Inslee ordered that the Chinese flag be flown in front of the Capitol Building as he prepared to greet with open arms Chinese Ambassador Ciu Tiankai. Read on below to see what happened afterwards.
Today is the fiscal cutoff for bills from opposite chambers. Last Wednesday was the policy cutoff for bills from opposite chambers. What that means is that all bills, except those necessary to implement the budget, must have been passed out of their respective committees in their opposite chambers, or they are considered “dead” for the year.
Overall, the Freedom Agenda remains very successful:
- 80 bills
- 65 hearings
- 12 have passed the House and are advancing in the Senate
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.
The Chinese flag flying over the state Capitol?
It doesn't get much more disgraceful than Gov. Jay Inslee ordering the Chinese flag, representing communism, to be flown at the Washington State Capitol — and on Good Friday.
This is the same governor who placed a moratorium on the death penalty. This is the same governor who just days earlier ordered a state employee travel ban to Indiana, because the Indiana State Legislature was considering a religious freedom law that is basically a copy of a law that is already in the books at the federal level and 19 other states.
In his press release announcing the travel ban, Gov. Inslee said: “I find Indiana's new law disturbing, particularly at a time when more and more states and people in America are embracing civil rights for everyone. Washington will join other states and cities in opposing this law.”
Gov. Inslee complained that Indiana's proposed law would impinge civil rights. But he, himself, would embrace the Chinese ambassador and fly the communist flag over the state Capitol on Easter weekend? Isn't this the same country that has imprisoned Catholic bishops for practicing their Christian faith, demolished churches, and tortured and executed other Christians? Does anyone see the hypocrisy here? Maybe it is because Indiana is not our largest trading partner.
Fortunately, a group of freedom-loving patriots, with the help of the Washington State Patrol, had the Chinese flag taken down. And Friday morning before his meeting with the ambassador, Gov. Inslee removed the travel ban to Indiana.
ACTION BILL – Last chance to save the industrial hemp bill!
This may be our last chance to rescue House Bill 1552, which 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. Legalizing it in Washington would create an entire new industry filled with jobs.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom Agenda bills – Status in the Senate
Several Freedom Agenda bills have made it out of their respective committees and into the Senate Rules Committee, where they are awaiting being pulled to the Senate floor for a vote. They include:
- House Bill 1639 would create new guidelines for when a state or local agency can use extraordinary sensing devices (ESD) or “drones,” and what they can do with the personal information gathered. Read more details about this bill here.
- House Bill 1858 would prohibit the names of county auditors and the secretary of state from being placed on ballot envelopes when running for re-election.
The following two bills are in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, awaiting action:
- House Bill 1248 would increase jurisdictional limits to $100,000 for district courts and allow for mandatory arbitration, which would save money, lead to a more efficient court system, and promote access to justice.
- House Bill 1943 would set stricter standards on electronic home monitoring. Read more details about this bill here.
Action is expected on this bill today in the Senate Transportation Committee:
- House Bill 1918 would provide liability immunity for local jurisdictions when wheeled all-terrain vehicles are operated on public roadways.
Killing bad bills — A victory for The Freedom Agenda
We've had our share of victories with bills getting hearings, passing committees, and eventually passing the Legislature to be signed into law. Here's a victory you don't hear much about: Killing bad bills.
There were many bad bills this session. And fortunately, with your help and support, most are dead. They include:
- House Bill 2009 – Forced immunizations – This bill would have eliminated the philosophical and personal exemptions from mandatory vaccination in our state. Parents would no longer have the right to decide what is best for their children. The bill is dead!
- House Bill 1692 – The Imitation Firearm Manufacturing Requirement Act – This is one of the many bad bills of the 2015 legislative session which would have only allowed individuals to own or possess a “look alike” firearm if it is painted with white, or bright colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple or a mixture of those colors. We killed this bill in the House Judiciary Committee.
- House Bill 1857– Creating an “extreme risk protective order” –
This would have officials look at whether a person has recently purchased ammunition or firearms as a condition of considering that person an “extreme risk” and imposing a protection order. This would have been an assault on citizens' rights to keep and bear arms. This bill is dead!
- House Bill 1314 and Senate Bill 5283 – Gov. Inslee's “cap and trade” carbon tax. The program would limit the amount of carbon that could be emitted by more than 130 entities he calls “big polluters.” Beyond that limit, they would have to pay for their emissions – estimated at $1 billion annually. Dead for now. However, he may try to impose this program and/or a low carbon fuel standard by executive order. The low carbon fuel standard is our BAD BILL of the week!
- Senate Bill 5628 – Property tax increase – Disguised as a water supply and flood control bill, this would have been an estimated $4.5 billion property tax increase. Dead and buried!