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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the House passed a pair of unconstitutional anti-firearm bills:
- House Bill 1143 would impose training, permitting, and waiting period requirements on gun owners and firearm dealers with large fines and possible jail time.
- House Bill 1240 would outlaw the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any so-called “assault weapon” with an emergency clause to go into effect once signed.
When I joined the U.S. Air Force on July 3, 1984, I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. The Constitution isn't a buffet where you get to pick and choose which provisions to follow. It's our job, as elected officials, to defend the whole document, including all the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
Sadly, these bills are another example of government making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves from criminals.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Article I, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution: The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.
On Tuesday, the House Democratic leadership blocked our attempt to bring House Bill 1363 – bipartisan legislation concerning vehicular pursuits – to the floor for a vote. Preventing a vote on this bill is wrong for so many reasons: Crime is skyrocketing, businesses are closing, Washington state citizens are dying, and time is running out.
As elected officials, I believe it's our solemn duty to protect the lives and property of citizens in Washington state. But without this critical tool, law enforcement officers cannot do their jobs and keep us safe.
Just last week, two children were killed by a drunk driver in Sunnyside because state troopers were not allowed to engage in the pursuit of a suspected speeding drunk driver. Two young lives are gone forever because the majority party is prioritizing the interest of criminals over the rest of society.
We cannot allow this dangerous, anti-police experiment to remain on the books for another year.
On Wednesday, the Senate did pass a vehicular pursuit measure, Senate Bill 5352, that would accomplish many of the same goals of the House version. I'll do everything in my power to ensure we pass the strongest version of this bill before it heads to Governor Inslee's desk for his signature.
House of origin cutoff
During the past few weeks, the House held floor sessions every day, through the evenings, and late into the night and a few mornings. We debated dozens of bills affecting firearm rights, public safety, the economy, health, transportation, etc. Both good and bad bills advanced through the House and on to the Senate.
Wednesday, March 8, at 5 p.m. was house of origin cutoff – the deadline for House bills to pass out of the chamber. If a bill did not advance by this deadline, it is considered “dead” for the year; however, bills considered by the House speaker to be necessary to implement the budget are exempt from this deadline.
You can view an up-to-date list of the important good and bad bills introduced during the 2023 legislative session here.
To view important deadlines for the 2023 session, click here.
Stopping the commission on violent extremism
House Bill 1333, which would establish the domestic violent extremism commission to investigate citizens' political speech, is dead.
This was one of the worst bills in the Legislature's history and generated the most calls, letters, and emails to my office.
I believe the task force could be used to target groups that are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Under this bill, parents simply voicing their concerns at a school board meeting could make them a government target. We need citizens to be more engaged with government and not fear it.
Killing this bill was one of the best accomplishments of the 2023 legislative session.
A bright spot this session has been our efforts to increase access to affordable housing by removing unnecessary rules and regulations.
With the article in the Spokesman, many of you have reached out to my office asking why I supported House Bill 1110. It was my original intent to vote no on the bill; however, the majority party agreed to work with a team of Republicans and stakeholders to amend the bill to a much better version, limiting the zoning change to lots near mass transit routes instead of the entire city. The final bill had the support of many city leaders across the state. The politically safe vote would have been a no, but the majority party had the votes to pass the original bad bill. Most of the representatives in our area worked hard to get this to a bill that we could support in the final hours.
Another such effort is House Bill 1245, which would remove prohibitions on lot splitting. This would lead to the expansion of a variety of different housing options.
As a state, we've failed to build enough homes to keep up with demand. In fact, Washington is last in the nation for the number of housing units per household of any state. Our housing shortage is a man-made problem, and we must take major steps this year to address it.
Town hall meeting
Rep. Suzanne Schmidt and I will host another in-person town hall meeting at CenterPlace Event Center (2426 N. Discovery Place Spokane Valley) on March 18 at 10 a.m. for residents in the 4th Legislative District.
This is a great opportunity to discuss the issues we've been working hard on, the important debates happening in the Legislature, and other important issues facing our region and state.
We look forward to seeing you there!
How you can get involved
- My legislative website | Find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories.
- The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans.
- TVW | TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
- Legislature's website | Bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
- State agencies | List of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
- Participating in the Process | Information about how you can participate in the legislative process
Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. I encourage you to provide feedback and get involved. I am here to serve you and everyone in the 4th Legislative District.
I will do my best to answer messages from constituents first, so please be sure to include your home address and phone number in your correspondence.
It's an honor to serve you.
122C Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7984 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000