Governor signs Shea’s 2016 ‘Freedom Agenda’ bills

The success of Rep. Matt Shea’s “Freedom Agenda” continues to grow following the governor’s signing of three “agenda” bills last week and a veto override of another.

The Freedom Agenda is based on defending the U.S. Constitution, property rights, gun ownership, veterans, and the sanctity of human life while promoting lower taxes, less government and more freedom. Shea, R-Spokane Valley, calls it the most successful slate of conservative legislation in Washington state in more than 20 years.

“We’ve had dozens of Freedom Agenda bills pass the Legislature and become law in the past four years. This year I’m very pleased to say we can add to that list legalization of industrial hemp, the Woodstove Protection Act, ATV reciprocity with Idaho, and the county auditor ballot bill,” said Shea.

Shea’s prime-sponsored bills that passed the Legislature and were signed into law include:

  • House Bill 1858 – Prohibits the names of county auditors and the secretary of state from being included on ballot envelopes and in voters’ pamphlets when running for re-election.
  • House Bill 1918 – Modifies provisions relating to off-road, non-highway and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and their drivers. Among those provisions, the bill exempts ATVs owned by an out-of-state resident from Washington’s registration requirements if the vehicle is lawfully registered in another state and that state provides reciprocal exemption privileges.
  • House Bill 2785 – Known as the “Woodstove Protection Act,” this measure allows people to use their woodstoves, certified and uncertified, for heat during emergency power outages, regardless of whether a temporary burn ban has been issued.

Earlier last week, the House and Senate overrode the governor’s vetoes of 27 bills, including Senate Bill 6206, which creates a limited opening of growing industrial hemp in Washington. Shea is the author of House Bill 1552, a broader measure that would legalize growing of industrial hemp in Washington. Although his measure failed to move from committee, Shea, who has sought industrial hemp legalization for the past three years, sees the Senate bill as a victory toward eventually reaching his broader goal.

“At one time, Washington state was one of the largest producers and exporters of industrial hemp in the world. Unfortunately, it was banned in the 1950s along with marijuana. But the two plants are not the same,” said Shea.

“It’s estimated that nearly 25,000 products could be made from industrial hemp. Think of the thousands of jobs that could be created in Washington, not only in agriculture, but also in industries like manufacturing and pulp and paper. This means jobs in rural southwest and northeast Washington, which have seen the logging industry decimated in recent decades,” he added. “I’m excited to see us moving in the right direction and will continue working toward broader legalization of industrial hemp restoring Washington as a leader in hemp production.”

During Shea’s 2015-16 term in office, 19 bills he authored and/or co-sponsored have become law. He noted that doesn’t take into account amendments he’s successfully attached to other bills.

“Nearly all of these bills have the same theme: lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I’m very proud to be a part of that and to build upon the great success of the Freedom Agenda,” added Shea.

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