Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are wrapping up Week 4 of this 9-week legislative session. Today marks the passing of the first major deadline of the session: policy cutoff. Today was the last day House policy bills could be heard and passed in a House committee, or Senate bills in a Senate committee. Many good Republican bills fell victim to this deadline in the House, my bills included. As promised in my last e-newsletter, below is an update on the status of my 2016 legislation.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my update and stay informed on what's happening in your Legislature. I hope you take a moment to share your thoughts with me on the issues in this update, and any other issues important to you, your family or your business.
Please feel free to share any updates with your family, friends and neighbors, and encourage them to subscribe. I also recommend that you follow my Sound Cloud page to hear audio updates from Olympia.
Cutoff Casualties: The price we pay for being in the minority
Here in the Legislature, the majority party sets the agenda at every stage. A committee chair has the sole power to advance or kill any bill. Regardless of public opinion, regardless of the merits of an idea, if a chair or the Speaker of the House doesn't like a bill, it is dead on arrival. Such is the case with the legislation I introduced this year.
While I am pleased this bill received a public hearing in the State Government Committee, I am truly disappointed that it was not advanced to an executive session before today's policy cutoff. Despite this, I am hopeful that my position on the JARRC and the appointment of a new committee Chair, Sen. Mike Padden, will enable a more objective review of state agency rules when petitions for review are filed under the current process.
I was told that this bill would receive a public hearing in the Appropriations Committee, then it mysteriously disappeared from the planning schedule without explanation. This is unfortunate because of all the good this bill would have done for victims of domestic violence to help restore their sense of security and independence and increase prosecution of these cases. I remain undaunted and I will reintroduce this measure next year.
HB 2555 – Authorizes the installation of directional signs for auto malls on state highways.
This was a simple bill that would have cost taxpayers nothing and done a lot of good for businesses across the state. I spoke to the Chair of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Judy Clibborn and she indicated that she would hear the bill… then she never did. Thankfully, there was a companion bill introduced in the Republican controlled Senate. The Senate saw the merit of the bill and gave it a public hearing (pictured at right). In fact, they were prepared to move the bill when they were informed that the House would decline to hear it if they did. This is another case where a single chair decided the fate of a good piece of legislation that had broad support.
HB 2553 – Protecting the constitutionally guaranteed right to the lawful possession of firearms during a declared state of emergency.
HB 2712 – Relates to the use of force in self-defense.
Both of these bills remain bottled up in the Judiciary Committee, where the chairwoman, Rep. Laurie Jinkins has steadfastly declined to hear any pro-second amendment legislation that was introduced this session. Nonetheless, I will continue to defend ALL of your constitutional rights.
Yours in service,
418 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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