Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are only a few weeks into the legislative session and there are a variety of issues being debated in committees – school funding, workers' compensation, many proposals related to liquor and even legislation to relocate wolfpacks in western Washington. We have many more weeks of committees meeting and going through the public hearing process. I will keep you posted as priority and legislation of interests moves through the legislative process.
Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, there have been a number of legislators who have introduced legislation as a response. There are those who want to see stricter gun control laws. And on the other side, we're seeing bills that would fight to protect the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. As expected it is a polarizing issue.
We all want to make sure our children are safe when they go to school. We also want to make sure our families are safe in their homes, at their workplaces and in their communities. Yet, as a strong supporter of the second amendment that right must be protected.
As we look back to the various shooting tragedies that have happened across the United States, there's been one thing each of those incidents have in common. In every circumstance in which the perpetrator prepared to do harm, that person broke the law, possibly numerous times, BEFORE pointing the gun at the intended targets and pulling the trigger.
What law or laws could have effectively stopped the perpetrator when he/she ignored and broke the other laws and proceeded to commit the tragedy?
At this point, we do not know will happen with this issue as we move forward. It could involve stronger background check laws, more stringent penalties for people who have already committed serious crimes (many who have committed murder with a firearm have prior offenses with weapons), looking closer at our mental health system, and many other factors related to this issue. But first and foremost is protection of the 2nd amendment.
I had a couple of different bills that received public hearings this week but one in particular I would like to receive your feedback on. House Bill 1212 deals with the way insurance companies use credit scores to calculate homeowner insurance rates. We all know many credit scores dropped in the 2008 recession. I introduced this bill because I saw insurance rates go up when credit ratings drop but the rates never seemed to decline when credit ratings improved. People that made their payments and had good standing with their insurance companies were paying higher rates due to no fault of their own. I would like to know if this has affected you. Please contact our office and tell us about it.
Every two years the House of Representatives adopts permanent House Rules on how the body operates. It is usually done without anyone blinking an eye. However, this year, House Republicans will offer four amendments to those rules. Amendments that would benefit taxpayers, honor the state constitution, and give citizens more of a voice during the public hearing process here in Olympia.
First, we want to place the super majority vote provisions of Initiative-1185 into the House rules for the next two years. We want to do this because there is a chance that I-1185, approved by 64 percent of the state's voters, will get thrown out by the State Supreme Court…despite voters having enacted or reaffirmed the two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases five times since 1993. I-1185 passed in every county in the state…and 44 out of 49 legislative districts. It passed in the 12th Legislative District with over 73 percent of the vote.
Second, we want to prioritize citizen testimony in committees. Folks who take the time and make the drive to Olympia to share their views should be given priority over the Olympia insiders and lobbyists. Period. We need to hear from you, the citizens…the taxpayers, on how proposed laws will impact you.
Third, we want to respect Article 9 of the state constitution. It's time we fund education first. Shockingly, the Democrat majority in the House voted no on this same amendment in 2011. Article 9 should not be held hostage so the majority party can propose and push tax increases–especially in light of budget growth of over $2 billion dollars!
Finally, we want to see each legislator get a public hearing on at least one of their bills. Each legislator represents a district of approximately 137,000 people. This would show bi-partisanship and a willingness to represent and listen to concerns from all districts across the state.
It is expected the majority party will only accept the “prioritizing citizen testimony in committee.”
Each week I tape a video and the main focus is usually what is going on here in Olympia. However, sometimes I do discuss what is going on back in the other Washington. I touched on the immigration debate in Congress in my latest video. Any immigration policy changes could have huge impacts on our region, our economy, our agricultural workforce. To watch my video click on the photo below:
In this day and age in which technology and communication are an integral part of our daily lives, I encourage you to take advantage of the many ways to get connected to information about your Washington State Legislature. Here are some very important links to keep you informed:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
- Check out my Web site – This year, I have a new Web site: houserepublicans.wa.gov/condotta. From this link, you can view get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- Video updates – Every two weeks, I record a new legislative video update with the latest news from the Legislature. You can view my reports here on YouTube.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org.
- Legislature's Web site – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov.
- Weekly Radio – Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, Rep. Brad Hawkins and I are on the radio every Friday morning. KOHO from 7:15 a.m. – 7:30 a.m., KPQ from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., KOZI from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Please share this e-mail update with everyone you know and encourage them to sign up for Representative Condotta's e-mail updates.