Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Monday, (Jan. 27) put us at a quarter of the way through the legislative session. In 15 days we have seen almost 1600 bills introduced – 863 in the House. Keep in mind, those are just bills introduced this year. Bills introduced last year are also considered alive or eligible to be brought up for public hearings, debate, floor action, etc. While most the bills will not see the light of day, it gives you an idea of the volume of legislation being introduced.
Week two of the legislative session featured a number of gun bills up for a public hearing in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.
Many of you are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and interested in the gun legislation that has been introduced this session. I also have concerns that many of these bills may violate our constitutional rights.
I have included the agendas for last week's meetings below so you know what was introduced. While the public hearings were last week, it is not too late to share any concerns, comments or questions about the bills. You can call or email the chair and members of the committee. You can find committee information including members and contact information here.
It should be noted that these are just the House bills. The Senate has the same (companion) or similar bills as well.
I recently introduced legislation that builds on the clean energy theme of Central Washington. House Bill 2825 would provide a tax incentive for those who use oil-free hydroelectric turbines. Oil-free turbines are used in Europe. With the proper incentive, this emerging technology has the potential to enhance our clean energy hydropower system. The bill has strong bipartisan support. I am hopeful for a public hearing in the House Finance Committee in the near future.
I have also introduced legislation, House Bill 2866, that would prohibit transfers of water rights out of their original water resource inventory area (WRIA). We want to ensure we are leaving enough water in our (WRIAs) so we are not adversely impacting irrigation and agriculture along with rural economies by transferring or selling water rights.
The legislation would also provide more local control of water banking. The loss or purchase of water rights in Washington state has gained national attention. Last fall, The Seattle Times published the article: Wall Street spends millions to buy up Washington state water.
Low carbon fuel standard passes House
Today, (Wednesday) the state House of Representatives passed the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), House Bill 1110, aimed at reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by authorizing the state Department of Ecology (DOE) to create a clean fuels program “by rule.” The bill passed by a vote of 52-44, with all Republicans and five Democrats voting “no.”
This bill would drive up the cost of gas and goods while doing very little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I opposed this bill for a number of reasons:
- It could increase the cost of gas by 57 cents per gallon and diesel 63 cents per gallon, and not generate any new revenue for transportation infrastructure.
- It puts a financial burden on those who can least afford it and impact rural families who have to drive long distances to work, school and medical appointments.
- It would hurt our economy. The unintended consequences for businesses such as increased shipping costs would put us at a competitive disadvantage. The Puget Sound Regional Transportation Fuels Analysis Final Report states this would result in job loss in Washington.
- Finally, voters in Washington state have defeated similar proposals at the ballot box.
Instead of Olympia ignoring the will of the voters again and passing a law that will negatively impact our rural families, greatly impact transportation costs and not improve our transportation system, let's find a solution that will work for all sides.
Last week I had the honor of sponsoring Giovanny Rosario, a student at Cascade High School, as a page in the state House of Representatives. It was great to have him working on the Capitol campus.
Giovanny is the son of Alfredo Rosario and Ivonne Trujillo Martinez. He likes to ride bikes and talk politics with his teachers. Pages work on a culminating project and write a piece of legislation, then present the bill in a mock committee hearing to fellow pages.
If your son or daughter is interested in paging, please do not hesitate to contact my office or check out the website for more information: House page program.