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Hello Defender!

Thank you to all who plan to follow our legislative updates during this last week of Session. We have recently completed installation of a new software program that has enabled us to provide you with an improved model when interacting with the legislative process. You will see ongoing changes in the formatting of our reports through the remainder of this year. Please feel free to share with us your likes and dislikes.

A hearty thank you to everyone who responded to our Action Alert regarding HB 1589 – “Supporting Washington’s clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future”.  

Despite a huge outcry from thousands of citizens and industries across the state, Democrats did what they do best – they passed another contentious piece of legislation under the cover of darkness. Following a lengthy floor debate that lasted until after 2 a.m., House Democrats approved a questionable amendment and then voted to pass House Bill 1589 by a count of 50 to 45 with 2 excused. The bill will ultimately force customers of Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to convert from natural gas (clean, affordable and reliable) to electricity (expensive and much less reliable) while also paying significantly higher energy bills. For a detailed explanation of why this bill is unnecessary please view the 5-minute video from Prager U below. 

Rep. Mary Dye, ranking Republican on the House Environment and Energy Committee, spoke against the bill on the House floor and issued the following statement:

“I believe the amended bill is even worse than the bad bill originally sent over to the Senate by the House because it cloaks the possibility of a natural gas ban within extensive regulatory language so there is little or no clarity when it comes to what PSE will or will not provide to its customers. The bill would make extensive changes to the way our state’s largest utility is regulated. Instead of specifying that it’s an electric or natural gas utility, this measure would put it in the category of a large combination utility and consolidate consumers of both types of services into a single rate base. There is even less transparency in this latest version of the bill, which hides if and when natural gas would no longer be offered by PSE.

“It also instructs PSE to find a way to decarbonize itself, meaning it must provide emission-free services to its customers — or in other words, no longer provide natural gas or generate electricity from natural gas. But the bill itself does not make clear when that would happen.

“It’s most disturbing that this bill hides the future of natural gas from the public. And the transformation to electricity will be devastatingly expensive for every customer who relies on natural gas. It’s estimated that electrifying one home costs anywhere between $30,000 and nearly $70,000 depending on what needs to be replaced, such as furnaces, water heaters, and wiring. Plus, it would force consumers to pay more for utilities to heat their homes, cook their food, wash their clothes, and live comfortably. Washington already has an affordability crisis. This would make it worse.

“Washington can’t afford policies like this that could force skyrocketing utility rates and people out of their homes. The Climate Commitment Act is a real disrupter to PSE, the state’s largest utility, and this bill already adds to bad policy. Except it’s worse now because it creates massive uncertainty and cloaks the real intent — to force the risk of these changes onto the ratepayers.”

Two days ago we pondered “what representatives would vote against the will of the people” in regards to the initiatives. Well, that same question applies to this horrendous bill. In the graph below, you will find your answer. 

In fairness, I want to give credit to the following seven Democratic lawmakers who sided with every Republican representative and voted against this bill: Mike Chapman, Melanie Morgan, Clyde Shavers, Larry Springer, Steve Tharinger, Joe Timmons and Amy Walen. 

In the process of advocating for biblical principles within the political arena, one of our most effective tools is bringing into the light those actions which have been done in darkness and under cover. This is one of those moments. Please make note of those who voted in favor of this bill. Share this information with everyone you can and make sure to vote accordingly come this November. These lawmakers most certainly do not represent “we the people”.

A DAY TO CELEBRATE

On Monday, March 4, 2024, the House and Senate approved three citizen-driven initiatives. These are Initiative 2081, which establishes a parents’ bill of rights; Initiative 2111, which prohibits state and local income taxes; and Initiative 2113, which restores vehicular police pursuits. The initiatives are immune to alteration by lawmakers, and the governor has no authority to veto them. Therefore, with approval from both chambers, each initiative will become state law in 90 days. 

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, the author of all three proposals, issued the following statement regarding their passage by the Legislature:

“This is a great day for everyone in Washington. Leave the politics aside and look at the policy fixes we just voted into law. Restoring reasonable police pursuits of criminals and criminal suspects will lower crime rates. Establishing parental notification rights will support healthier and happier kids — and better school performance. And codifying Washington’s longstanding tradition of opposing any state tax on personal income will help working families and local economies.

“When common-sense conservative policies lead the way, things get better for everyone. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support they’ve received. Working together, we’re fixing what’s broken in Washington. This is just the start, of course. There’s much more work to do. Other problems to fix.”

As part of that work, the legislature should consider a constitutional amendment regarding the income tax, so citizens can be confident future lawmakers won’t repeal the ban or push an income tax again in two years. Consider the fact that Initiative 2111 got 446,000 signatures, over 120,000 more than required. Furthermore, voters have rejected a state income tax 10 times, most recently in 2010 by a crushing 64%. In all, 28 cities and counties have passed local income tax bans.

Six initiatives were introduced this session, but only three have been passed. Consequently, the November ballot will include the other three citizen-driven initiatives. Those are:

          
 
Considering the popularity of the initiatives and that a reported 2.6 million signatures were gathered, one would wonder who might vote against the ‘will of the people’. Well, take a look at the two graphs below . . . 
A total of 27 Democratic representatives voted against at least one of the three initiatives. Nine representatives: Emily Alvarado, Liz Berry, Frank Chopp, Darya Farivar, Nicole Macri, Sharlett Mena, Melanie Morgan, Gerry Pollet, and Julia Reed voted against all three initiatives that were heard on the House floor. Another 11 voted against two of the three initiatives. Considering these Democrats refused to give three of the initiatives a public hearing, these 20 legislators opposed the peoples will on 5 or 6 of the initiatives. 
 
Likewise, a total of 15 Democratic senators were nearly as defiant. The Democratic caucus wisely chose as a block to pass the parental rights initiative (I-2081); however, nine senators: Noel Frame, Bob Hasegawa, Sam Hunt, Liz Loveless, Joe Nguyen, Jamie Pedersen, Rebecca Saldana, Yasmin Trudeau and Javier Valdez all voted against the other two initiatives.  
 
As you probably know, not one Republican in the House or Senate voted against any of the initiatives. 
 
We have the opportunity to vote this coming November. Obviously, we all want our representatives and senators to legislate based upon the will of the people. Those lawmakers noted in the graphs above have implied they know better than you and they are determined to vote their own agenda, not yours. It has been reported by ‘Let’s Go Washington’ that 58% of all initiative signatures were Democrats or Independents. Only 42% of initiative signatures were Republicans. Those legislators noted above aren’t even voting with the majority of their own party. Shameless . . . 
 
Please remember these names in November and vote every single one out of office. Spread the names and graphs far and wide. Campaign for conservatives running against these Democratic incumbents. This is how we can justify our title as ‘FPIW Defenders’!

The six certified initiatives sponsored by Let’s Go Washington have all been certified. The Legislature has three options: (1) Adopt the initiative as proposed, making it a law without being placed on the ballot. (2) Alternatively, they can reject or choose not to act on the initiative, leading to its placement on the ballot during the next general election. Voters would approve or disapprove. (3) Another possibility is for the Legislature to propose a different bill addressing the same subject; in that case, both measures would be included on the ballot, and voters would decide.

On Monday, March 4, the House and Senate passed three of the initiatives: I-2113 (police pursuit), I-2111 (income tax ban), and I-2081 (parental rights). These will become law in 90 days. Unfortunately, they have refused to hold hearings on the remaining three: I-2117 (carbon tax repeal), I-2109 (capital gains tax repeal), and I-2124 (LCT tax repeal).

Based upon these results, I believe our write-in campaign to committee members has been 50% effective. Let’s flood the three committees who said they will not hold a hearing with emails and see if we can change their mind in these last few days before Session concludes. 

We have updated our links so that each button will create an email page with each committee member listed. Simply type in the number of the initiative in the ‘Subject’ line and then type a two or three sentence message to the legislators. 

I-2109: Repeal the capital gains tax. Send an email to all members of the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee to demand prompt hearings be scheduled in accordance with our state constitution. 

 

I-2117: Stop the hidden gas tax. Send an email to all members of the House Environment & Energy Committee and the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee to demand prompt hearings be scheduled in accordance with our state constitution.

I-2124: Opt out of the state-run Long-Term Care Coverage Act. Send an email to all members of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee to demand prompt hearings be scheduled in accordance with our state constitution. 

This Thursday, March 7th, is the last scheduled day of Legislative Session for 2024. It is important to note that any bill can technically be revived during the legislative session so a bill is never considered ‘completely dead’ until Sine Die.

I am sorry to report that several very good bills did not survive the first cutoff, including:

  • HB 5820 which would have provided protection to those gathering or signing initiative and/or referendum petitions;
  • HB 2358 that would have made obstructing highways a crime;
  • HB 2233 that would have removed parents or guardians actively using controlled substances in a home where underage children reside;
  • HB 1888 which created more ‘baby boxes’ in safe locations where newborns up to one month in age could be dropped off;
  • HB 2002 which established criminal penalties for the public use of fentanyl or methamphetamine;
  • HB 1380 which would have provided increased funding for the recruitment, retention, and support of law enforcement officers;
  • SB 6026 which would have forced public schools to use student’s given names rather than their gender-identified names — without parent or guardian awareness. 

However, it is with absolute joy that I can report many horrendous bills have also died in committee to date, including:

  • HB 2150 which sought to keep the name of Donald J. Trump off the presidential ballot in Washington state; 
  • HB 1151 which would have promoted the mishandling of human embryos; 
  • HB 2470 that would have created a local sales and use tax to address ‘gender-based’ violence;
  • SB 5427 which would have created ‘hate crime’ bounties, paying up to $2,000 to citizens who turned their neighbors in for ‘bias incidents’;
  • HB 2177 to put a sex offender on the State Sex Offender Policy Board; 
  • HB 2030 which would have allowed any incarcerated criminal to vote, serve on a jury and/or run for office;
  • HJR 4208 that would have removed all gender terms from our Washingon State Constitution;
  • HB 1960 which would have increased staffing in public schools at a time when enrollment numbers are dropping dramatically;
  • HB 1333 which would have created the infamous ‘Domestic Violent Extremism Commission’;
  • HB 1868 which would have outlawed the use of all gasoline powered tools and landscaping equipment; 
  • SB 5770 which would have allowed our property tax rate cap to increase from 1% to 3% annually.


To read our full recap of Bill Updates from previous Action Alert
s, click here. 

In conclusion, please continue to pray for our state, our governmental leaders, FPIW and all other Christian and/or conservative organizations as we lobby for biblical values in the public square in these last few days. Thank you! 

We cannot be over-comers without troubles to overcome!

Brad Payne
Policy & Government Affairs Director 
Family Policy Institute of Washington 


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