Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Washington State Legislation’

Say Hello To ESSB 6444, The Largest Tax Increase This State Has Ever Seen…


Senate Passage Notice for 6444 ESSB‏
From: OFM mi Tax and Fee Proposals (OFMmiTaxandFeeProposals@OFM.WA.GOV)
Sent: Mon 3/08/10 12:36 PM
To:  

ESSB 6444, titled AN ACT Relating to fiscal matters, has been passed by the Senate. The Office of Financial Management has identified Sections 205(1)(k); 206(16); 222(2); 222(6); 302(10); 402(7); 613(12); and 904(2) of this bill as requiring a ten-year projection of increased cost to the taxpayers or affected feepayers.

Authorization is provided for the following agencies to raise fees.

Department of Social and Health Services
Department of Health
Department of Ecology
Washington State Patrol
Department of Early Learning
All state agencies that send out renewal notices

For ease of viewing, the ten-year projection is available by clicking on the following link:
www.ofm.wa.gov/tax/eshb6444fees.pdf

The following legislators voted yea:

Senator Jean Berkey
Democrat
Everett
(360) 786-7674
Berkey.Jean@leg.wa.gov

Senator Lisa Brown
Democrat
Spokane
(360) 786-7604
Brown.Lisa@leg.wa.gov

Senator Tracey Eide
Democrat
Des Moines
(360) 786-7658
Eide.Tracey@leg.wa.gov

Senator Darlene Fairley
Democrat
Lk Forest Park
(360) 786-7662
Fairley.Darlene@leg.wa.gov

Senator Karen Fraser
Democrat
Olympia
(360) 786-7642
Fraser.Karen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Randy Gordon
Democrat
Bellevue
(360) 786-7641
GORDON_RA@leg.wa.gov

Senator James Hargrove
Democrat
Hoquiam
(360) 786-7646
Hargrove.Jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mary Margaret Haugen
Democrat
Camano Island
(360) 786-7618
Haugen.MaryMargaret@leg.wa.gov

Senator Ken Jacobsen
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7690
Jacobsen.Ken@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jim Kastama
Democrat
Puyallup
(360) 786-7648
Kastama.Jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Claudia Kauffman
Democrat
Kent
(360) 786-7692
Kauffman.Claudia@leg.wa.gov

Senator Karen Keiser
Democrat
Des Moines
(360) 786-7664
Keiser.Karen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Adam Kline
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7688
Kline.Adam@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7670
Kohl-Welles.Jeanne@leg.wa.gov

Senator Chris Marr
Democrat
Spokane
(360) 786-7610
Marr.Chris@leg.wa.gov

Senator Rosemary McAuliffe
Democrat
Bothell
(360) 786-7600
McAuliffe.Rosemary@leg.wa.gov

Senator Joe McDermott
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7667
McDermott.Joe@leg.wa.gov

Senator Ed Murray
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7628
Murray.Edward@leg.wa.gov

Senator Eric Oemig
Democrat
Kirkland
(360) 786-7672
Oemig.Eric@leg.wa.gov

Senator Margarita Prentice
Democrat
Seattle
(360) 786-7616
Prentice.Margarita@leg.wa.gov

Senator Craig Pridemore
Democrat
Vancouver
(360) 786-7696
Pridemore.Craig@leg.wa.gov

Senator Kevin Ranker
Democrat
Bellingham
(360) 786-7678
Ranker.Kevin@leg.wa.gov

Senator Debbie Regala
Democrat
Tacoma
(360) 786-7652
Regala.Debbie@leg.wa.gov

Senator Phil Rockefeller
Democrat
Bainbridge Island
(360) 786-7644
Rockefeller.Phil@leg.wa.gov

Senator Paull Shin
Democrat
Mukilteo
(360) 786-7640
Shin.Paull@leg.wa.gov

The following legislators voted nay:

Senator Randi Becker
Republican
Eatonville
(360) 786-7602
Becker.Randi@leg.wa.gov

Senator Don Benton
Republican
Vancouver
(360) 786-7632
Benton.Don@leg.wa.gov

Senator Dale Brandland
Republican
Bellingham
(360) 786-7682
Brandland.Dale@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mike Carrell
Republican
Tacoma
(360) 786-7654
Carrell.Michael@leg.wa.gov

Senator Rosa Franklin
Democrat
Tacoma
(360) 786-7656
Franklin.Rosa@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mike Hewitt
Republican
Walla Walla
(360) 786-7630
Hewitt.Mike@leg.wa.gov

Senator Steve Hobbs
Democrat
Lake Stevens
(360) 786-7686
Hobbs.Steve@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jim Honeyford
Republican
Sunnyside
(360) 786-7684
Honeyford.Jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Derek Kilmer
Democrat
Gig Harbor
(360) 786-7650
Kilmer.Derek@leg.wa.gov

Senator Curtis King
Republican
Yakima
(360) 786-7626
King.Curtis@leg.wa.gov

Senator Bob Morton
Republican
Kettle Falls
(360) 786-7612
Morton.Bob@leg.wa.gov

Senator Linda Evans Parlette
Republican
Wenatchee
(360) 786-7622
Parlette.Linda@leg.wa.gov

Senator Cheryl Pflug
Republican
Maple Valley
(360) 786-7608
Pflug.Cheryl@leg.wa.gov

Senator Pam Roach
Republican
Auburn
(360) 786-7660
Roach.Pam@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mark Schoesler
Republican
Ritzville
(360) 786-7620
Schoesler.Mark@leg.wa.gov

Senator Tim Sheldon
Democrat
Hoodsport
(360) 786-7668
Sheldon.Timothy@leg.wa.gov

Senator Val Stevens
Republican
Arlington
(360) 786-7676
Stevens.Val@leg.wa.gov

Senator Rodney Tom
Democrat
Medina
(360) 786-7694
Tom.Rodney@leg.wa.gov

Senator Joseph Zarelli
Republican
Ridgefield
(360) 786-7634
Zarelli.Joseph@leg.wa.gov

The following legislators were excused:

Senator Jerome Delvin
Republican
Richland
(360) 786-7614
Delvin.Jerome@leg.wa.gov

Senator Brian Hatfield
Democrat
Raymond
(360) 786-7636
Hatfield.Brian@leg.wa.gov

Senator Janéa Holmquist
Republican
Moses Lake
(360) 786-7624
Holmquist.Janea@leg.wa.gov

Senator Bob McCaslin
Republican
Veradale
(360) 786-7606
McCaslin.Bob@leg.wa.gov

Senator Dan Swecker
Republican
Rochester
(360) 786-7638
Swecker.Dan@leg.wa.gov

Legislative Bill Information Website: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

SB 6813 Vote TOMORROW???

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

NRA-ILA ALERT

The Senate budget released this week would zero out the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) budget and transfer all WDFW functions to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in a merger of the two agencies. Further, it would reduce by $10.5 million the amount spent on the functions that have been handled by WDFW.

To those involved in the shooting sports, the net result of such a transfer of authority would likely be devastating. Gun owners and sportsmen have been fighting DNR for years with regard to shooting and hunting on DNR land. Leadership in DNR is, at best, indifferent to the interests of sportsmen and, more likely, hostile and antagonistic.

The majority of hunters and sportsmen in Washington State agreed last year to surcharges on their licenses to keep important WDFW functions in place. Every hunting (and fishing) program and every dedicated fund is at risk for reduction or termination. Sportsmen’s support of the department could be wiped out if the Senate Budget is allowed to advance with the merger language in it.

It is critical that hunters and sportsmen contact the members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee immediately! Tell them to OPPOSE THE MERGER OF WDFW INTO DNR! Please leave messages for your Senator and Representatives, as well.

Senator Margarita Prentice  (D-)
prentice.margarita@leg.wa.gov
Committees
Ways & Means (Chair)
Olympia Office
303 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0411
(360) 786-7616
1-800-562-6000

Senator Karen Fraser  (D-)
fraser.karen@leg.wa.gov
Committees
Ways & Means (Vice-Chair Capital Budget)
Olympia Office
404 Legislative Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0422
(360) 786-7642
1-800-562-6000

Senator Rodney Tom  (D-)
(Author of the SB 6813 merger effort)
tom.rodney@leg.wa.gov
Committees
Ways & Means (Vice Chair Operating Budget)
Olympia Office
220 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0448
(360) 786-7694
1-800-562-6000
Senator Joseph Zarelli (R-)
zarelli.joseph@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
204 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40418
Olympia WA 98504-0418
Phone: (360) 786-7634
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-7524

Senator Dale Brandland  (R-)
brandland.dale@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
203 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40442
Olympia WA 98504-0442
Phone: (360) 786-7682
Toll-Free: (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-7524

Senator Mike Carrell  (R-)
carrell.michael@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
102 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40428
Olympia WA 98504-0428
Office Phone: (360) 786-7654
Home Phone: (253) 581-2859
Toll-Free: (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-7819

Senator Darlene Fairley  (D-)
fairley.darlene@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
227 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0432
(360) 786-7662
1-800-562-6000

Senator Mike Hewitt  (R-)
hewitt.mike@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
314 Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40416
Olympia WA 98504-0416
Phone: (360) 786-7630
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-1266

Senator Steve Hobbs  (D-)
hobbs.steve@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
213 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0444
(360) 786-7686
1-800-562-6000

Senator Jim Honeyford (R-)
honeyford.jim@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
107 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40415
Olympia WA 98504-0415
Phone: (360) 786-7684
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-7173

Senator Karen Keiser  (D-)
keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
224 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0433
(360) 786-7664
1-800-562-6000

Senator Adam Kline  (D-)
kline.adam@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office:
223 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0437
(360) 786-7688
1-800-562-6000

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles  (D-)
kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
219 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0436
(360) 786-7670
1-800-562-6000

Senator Joe McDermott  (D-)
mcdermott.joe@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
230 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0434
(360) 786-7667
1-800-562-6000

Senator Ed Murray  (D-)
murray.edward@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
215 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0443
(360) 786-7628
1-800-562-6000

Senator Eric Oemig  (D-)
oemig.eric@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
416 Legislative Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0445
(360) 786-7672
1-800-562-6000

Senator Linda Evans Parlette  (R-)
parlette.linda@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
316 Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40412
Olympia WA 98504-0412
Phone: (360) 786-7622
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-1266

Senator Cheryl Pflug  (R-)
pflug.cheryl@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
415 Legislative Building
P.O. Box 40405
Olympia WA 98504-0405
Phone: (360) 786-7608
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-1266

Senator Craig Pride more  (D-)
pridemore.craig@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
212 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0449
(360) 786-7696
1-800-562-6000

Senator Debbie Regala  (D-)
regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
233 Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0427
(360) 786-7652
1-800-562-6000

Senator Phil Rockefeller  (D-)
rockefeller.phil@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
218 John A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0430
(360) 786-7644
Fax: (360) 786-1999
1-800-562-6000

Senator Mark Schoesler  (R-)
schoesler.mark@leg.wa.gov
Olympia Office
Phone: (360) 786-7620
Toll-Free: 1 (800) 562-6000
Fax: (360) 786-7819

Your Senator and his or her email address can be found here: https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx?Chamber=S

The toll-free Legislative Hotline number for those wanting to leave a phone message for their legislators is (800)562-6000.

Please call and email your legislators immediately!  A Ways & Means vote on the Senate Budget with the merger language could occur as early as tomorrow morning.

SB 6813 – WA Senate bill would merge WDFW, Parks under Natural Resources

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Evergreen State hunters and fishermen have historically been treated with a mix of indifference, disdain and outright contempt by the State Legislature and the governor’s office over the past quarter-century.

When thousands of sportsmen rallied on the Capitol steps in the 1980s – brought there by the now-inactive Sportsmen’s Rights Coalition – they were essentially given lip service. The old Department of Game was merged with the Department of Fisheries to create the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, an indication that the agency would – and many complain has – gradually drifted away from the primary mission for which it was created, to serve hunters and anglers and to conserve, protect and enhance fish and game populations. Many sportsmen so hate this agency and the direction that it has taken that they refer to it as the Department of NO Fish and NO Wildlife; an agency that is less interested in enhancing deer and elk herds than it is in bringing back wolves and giving them a big hug.

Abolishes the department of fish and wildlife and transfers its powers, duties, and functions to the department of natural resources.

The advent of a divisive and many believe disastrous hunting management structure called “Resource Allocation” has been blamed for reducing the number of Washington hunters by some 100,000 over the past quarter-century. Under this scenario, hunters must choose whether they will hunt big game with a bow, modern firearm (including handgun), or muzzleloader. Washington’s “strategy” limits hunters, and essentially keeps user groups at each other’s throats, vying against one another for more time afield for their particular interest group.

The once-thriving pheasant release program is a shadow of its former self, and non-existent in eastern Washington where, a generation ago, pheasant hunting rivaled that found in some Midwest states. The only “new” program that has benefited Washington hunters in the past 25 years has been the wild turkey project spearheaded by now-retired game biologist Dan Blatt. This was a roaring success thanks to Blatt’s savvy about putting different turkey sub-species into the proper habitats similar to their native habitats in the states from whence brood stock was brought years ago.

So why not change the agency? This state’s hunters are not of one mind; many enjoy the reduced numbers of people in the field during fall hunting seasons. They don’t see the “big picture,” however and neither do younger hunters (and anglers), who lack the historical perspective and never experienced “the good old days” of hunting and fishing here. Their shrinking numbers translates to shrinking political clout, and ultimately, that’s going to mean reduced to non-existent management of this state’s game populations.

Right now, there is legislation (Senate Bill 6813) lurking in the Senate Natural Resources Committee that, if adopted and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire – as she most lilely would with the excuse of trimming the state budget (it won’t, but the public doesn’t understand that) – it would merge the WDFW with the State Parks Department under the Department of Natural Resources.

Want to talk about a disaster? This is the kind of scenario that the late Irwin Allen would have put on film as The Towering Bureaucracy. If hunters think they have little influence now, wait until that mega-agency becomes a reality.

An e-mail alert now being circulated by pro-gun and hunting communities warns, “Every fishing, hunting and related program and every dedicated fund is at risk for termination or reduction.” This alert, originating with the Hunters Heritage Council, notes that “The Senate budget released (Monday) zeroes out the WDFW budget, reduces the agency operating budget by $10.5 million and transfers all WDFW functions to DNR. No proof has been presented that the state ‘saves’ $10.5 million in operating costs by these actions.”

 

“Transfers, administratively, the duties of the governor appointed state parks and recreation commission and the fish and wildlife commission to the department of natural resources.”

The e-mail alert also warns, “Creating another super agency while doing harm to the already existing programs willingly funded by hunters and fishers is not responsible wildlife management.”

There are 22 members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, and they need to hear from hunters and anglers concerned about the future of the resources.

Perhaps instead of merging the WDFW, it ought to be broken up and restored to two separate agencies: Fisheries, which would be tasked solely with managing for commercial and tribal fisheries, and the Department of Fish and Game, whose job it should be to put ten million more trout into our lakes and streams, produce two to five million more steelhead, increase the deer herds by 50,000 and add 10,000 more elk, and that’s just for starters.

Hunters and anglers are being encouraged to contact each member of the Senate Committee and tell them “Do NOT merge WDFW and DNR.”

Senator Margarita Prentice (Chair) – prentice.margarita@leg.wa.gov

Senator Karen Fraser (Vice-Chair, Capital Budget) – fraser.karen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Rodney Tom (Vice Chair, Operating Budget – author of the merger effort) – tom.rodney@leg.wa.gov

Senator Joseph Zarelli (Ranking Minority) – zarelli.joseph@leg.wa.gov

Senator Dale Brandland – brandland.dale@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mike Carrell – carrell.michael@leg.wa.gov

Senator Darlene Fairley – fairley.darlene@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mike Hewitt – hewitt.mike@leg.wa.gov

Senator Steve Hobbs – hobbs.steve@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jim Honeyford – honeyford.jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Karen Keiser – keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

Senator Adam Kline – kline.adam@leg.wa.gov

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles – kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov

Senator Joe McDermott – mcdermott.joe@leg.wa.gov

Senator Ed Murray – murray.edward@leg.wa.gov

Senator Eric Oemig – oemig.eric@leg.wa.gov

Senator Linda Evans Parlette – parlette.linda@leg.wa.gov

Senator Cheryl Pflug – pflug.cheryl@leg.wa.gov

Senator Craig Pridemore – pridemore.craig@leg.wa.gov

Senator Debbie Regala – regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov

Senator Phil Rockefeller – rockefeller.phil@leg.wa.gov

Senator Mark Schoesler – schoesler.mark@leg.wa.gov

Outdoorsmen and women can also contact their own senator here.

Original Article Can Be Found Here: http://www.examiner.com/x-4525-Seattle-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2010m2d24-WA-Senate-bill-would-merge-WDFW-Parks-under-Natural-Resources?cid=examiner-email#

 

 

More on SB 6449…”Conniving, Machiavellian, sneaky…”

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To: Our thousands of supporters throughout the state (cc’d to all media outlets — reporters, columnists, editorial writers, and others in newspapers, radio, and TV — House & Senate members, and the Governor)

From: Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, ph: 425-493-9127, email: tim_eyman@comcast.net, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com

RE: Conniving, Machiavellian, sneaky:

newly amended version of anti-initiative bill SB 6449 — perfectly valid voter signatures WILL NEVER BE COUNTED This is as sleazy, conniving and Machiavellian as it gets.

Chairman Sam Hunt’s original bill required ANYONE, whether paid or unpaid, who collects voter signatures MUST personally write their name, signature, home address, city, state, zip code and date on the back of each petition — if they don’t, then the signatures MUST BE REJECTED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE.

This negation of valid voter signatures drew monstrous protests from the ACLU, newspapers, and citizens. So to supposedly appease critics, he changed the bill so that it became optional to fill it out the back — and with petitions not filled out on the back, the Secretary of State would be required to check every signature on that page — all signatures would still count.

This change earned enough votes to get out of committee. But when the bill moved to Appropriations, the Secretary of State’s surrogate, Katie Blinn, told them that with it being optional to fill out the back, it would likely result in all signatures having to be individually verified, costing $140,000 per initiative.

SO THE SECRETARY OF STATE TOLD APPROPRIATIONS TO CHANGE THE BILL TO PROHIBIT INITIATIVE SPONSORS FROM TURNING IN PETITIONS UNLESS THE BACK WAS FILLED OUT EVEN IF VALID VOTER SIGNATURES WERE ON THE FRONT (see bottom of page 4 of the staff report: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2009-10/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/House/2614%20HBR%20APPG%2010.pdf).

So, the original bill required valid voter signatures be rejected by the Secretary of State — now Senate Bill 6449 requires valid voter signatures be thrown in the garbage by initiative sponsors (scan down to Section 13 of the bill: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2009-10/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/6449-S.E.pdf).

Either way, the result is the same – under SB 6449, valid voter signatures WILL NEVER BE COUNTED. Once the Secretary of State accepts petitions, the valid voter signatures on the petitions WILL COUNT (because of court rulings). So they’ve come up with a sneaky, conniving, Machiavellian scheme to ensure they never receive them — by requiring initiative sponsors to never turn them in in the first place.

And just to add a bureaucratic nightmare to the process, Senate Bill 6449 requires initiative sponsors to fill out an affidavit for every petition sheet attesting that we’ve verified that the back of the petition is filled out. 17,000-20,000 petition sheets are turned in so that means initiative sponsors must complete 17,000-20,000 affidavits.

And then there’s the body cavity search on citizens who collect signatures. Senate Bill 6449 requires registration, licensing, photo headshots, fingerprinting, criminal background checks, names, personal signatures, & home addresses of citizens who collect signatures.

The Democrats and their union backers REALLY want to identity and target ANYONE who collects signatures on petitions — it’s what they’ve always wanted. This appears on their own website: “If you see a signature gatherer, we suggest you ask signature gatherers if they are being paid, find out their names and take their pictures (alone). ‘We would like to identify as many as possible.'” “Keep an eye out. The best way to beat this is at the signature gathering stage. Please let us know if you see those paid signature hunters in your area and let them know in no uncertain terms what their job will do to your job! Every signature we stop is one more Eyman has to pay for.” “If you see a signature gatherer, call us. We want to do all we can to stop them.” Washington State Council of County and City Employees (AFSCME – AFL-CIO).

Here’s more with pictures: http://www.voterswantmorechoices.com/harassment.asp

Here’s the 2 main reasons this anti-initiative bill is bad — (1) THE SYSTEM IS WORKING (2) OPPONENTS WANT TO STOP IT FROM WORKING:

http://soundpolitics.com/archives/013699.html

Now that this anti-initiative bill has a full head of legislative steam, we are hopeful that other newspaper editorial boards, writers, and columnists will weigh in on this issue. Our state Constitution makes it clear that the Legislature can only pass bills that facilitate the initiative process, they cannot pass bills that frustrate it.

SB 6449 certainly do not make the process easier, it makes it harder. It should be rejected.

Regards, Tim Eyman, Jack Fagan, & Mike Fagan, ph: 425-493-9127, email: tim_eyman@comcast.net, http://www.VotersWantMoreChoices.com

Affidavit of Danielle M, including photos, documenting harassment while gathering signatures: http://www.voterswantmorechoices.com/harassment.asp

Walla Walla Union Bulletin editorial: “Legislators are also considering … imposing new rules – with added paperwork – for those collecting signatures. This is the wrong approach. It has the potential to muffle free speech. Legislators pushing the so-called reforms to the initiative process contend they are doing so to curb fraud. But, to this point, there is no evidence of fraud or serious irregularities with the signatures or the way they have been gathered. The public is in control, and that’s the way it should stay. Lawmakers shouldn’t tinker with the initiative process – it’s not broken.”

BELLINGHAM HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: Legislature must not attempt to obstruct initiative process: Every year, it seems, some legislators decide to attack our state’s initiative process. As always, we deplore those attacks. The initiative process is a constitutional right in Washington, spelled out very clearly in our state constitution. There really has to be something better for the Legislature to spend its time on.This bill, like others suggested in previous years, seems like the Legislature trying to do anything it can to limit the right of citizens to create initiatives. That is a serious mistake, one that we urge legislators to reject.

The Centralia Chronicle editorial: “Signature Process Isn’t Broken, Doesn’t Need Democrats’ Fix”: “Legislative Democrats trying to make it tougher to get initiatives and referendums on the ballot have introduced other measures, as well, including requiring signature gatherers … to personally sign each petition page so they can be found if there is any allegation of fraud. But, again, there have been no credible fraud allegations. These other measures amount mostly to harassment and to that extent would further impinge on free speech and petition rights.”

EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE SPOKESMAN REVIEW: Reject bill imposing rules on signature gatherers: it “unreasonably attempts to avoid the mess by making it harder for citizens to use the initiative and referendum recourse that has been available to them for nearly a century. … That is cumbersome if not onerous – all to discourage citizens from writing their own laws or repealing those passed by the Legislature. … Ultimately, individual voters still choose whether to sign a petition and how to vote. The Legislature is facing a plan that would restrict those choices. The plan needs to be rejected.”

COLUMBIAN EDITORIAL BOARD: Blocking democracy: Two misguided solutions to nonexistent problems are clattering around the Legislature. They should be ignored and discounted for precisely what they are: blatant attempts to obstruct public participation in government. (Legislators) want to erect frivolous hoops through which signature gathers would have to jump. We’re more interested in democracy than gymnastics. J. Anderson (73 years old) who testified before the house committee: “There are a lot of wonderful people who live in the state of Washington but there are a lot of real weirdos out there too. I feel it’s utterly callous disregard for our safety and our protection that if you are gonna force us into doing that. And at my age, and many of the other women that work with us are in their 60’s and even the ones in their 30’s and that men that are out there are all in danger. I’ve been spit on. I’ve had French Fries thrown at me, which doesn’t hurt but it’s not very nice. I’ve had people follow me to my car. I’ve had notes left on my vehicles. I just feel like the world is crawling with sex offenders and I’m going to sit here with a label on me saying who my name is and who I’m working for and they can pull this up on the internet somewhere. And there’s identity thieves out there. I think you haven’t thought this thing through, Mr. McDermott. I really don’t think you’ve got me in mind. I just don’t think you’re working for me. And I don’t think you’re working for a lot of other people that are out there doing their First Amendment rights. And I beg you that there’s nothing wrong — this is grassroots, it’s grassroots at its finest — no matter how much money and all we keep talking about is all this money — it’s grassroots. I come from Iowa where (interrupted by Chairman Hunt) … Just let us have our initiative process.” McDermott responds: “I’m not taking it away.” Ms. Anderson answers softly: “You’re making it hard.” Gary Jacobsen (an elderly gentleman) also testified against the bill: “I’ve never been harassed by the public as I’m being harassed by the Legislature that I helped put into office. What possible threat do I pose that I need be licensed, regulated and leaned on by the government. I’m singled out because I might possibly bring a conflicting point of view to the ballot. I find this to be discriminatory and outrageous. Shame on those who put another burden on a hardworking taxpayer doing a legitimate job. Just please leave me alone.”

Here’s the Latest on SB 6130 – I 960

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s what I find this morning.  I watched this debate until about 10:00 last night.   They’re going to convene at 10:00 today to continue the debate and vote later today.  Please make a trip down there if at all possible.  If you can’t make it to Olympia, you can watch the live debate and vote here: http://www.tvw.org/index.cfm?bhcp=1   You can also find it broadcast on TVW Station from your local cable provider. 

Wash. House has debate on suspension of I-960

By RACHEL LA CORTE | Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The state House had a contentious debate Tuesday night over the temporary suspension of tax-limiting Initiative 960, with opposition Republicans maneuvering to delay a vote.

Related Stories & Links

Washington state Legislature (weblink)

Making full use of their limited power, the GOP minority asked to indefinitely postpone action on the bill, a move that allowed each legislator up to 10 minutes of speech time and led to about six hours of debate. The House currently has 61 Democrats and 37 Republicans, and the motion ultimately failed.

“This bill completely guts taxpayer protection in this state,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera, R-Camas. “I think there is no greater thing we can do than to respect the will of the people.”

The House is expected to return to the floor at 10 a.m. Wednesday for more debate before voting on the measure that would suspend I-960, which was approved by voters in 2007.

The initiative requires that two-thirds of the Legislature approve any tax increase – a significant hurdle compared to the simple majority approval needed for other bills.

The Senate already has endorsed a suspension of that rule until July 2011, when the next two-year budget cycle begins. Majority Democrats said they needed to make that move to patch a budget deficit now pegged at $2.8 billion.

Democratic lawmakers plan to increase taxes and cut spending to balance the deficit, but they don’t have enough members to get a two-thirds vote in either the Senate or House.

“I believe that my voters want me to have a balanced view of how I look at our budget and our responsibilities here,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina.

Lawmakers can amend initiatives with a simple majority vote after they’ve been on the books for two years, making this the first legislative session that Democrats can suspend I-960.

But critics of the plan said it would be a mistake to raise taxes while Washingtonians try to recover from the worst recession in decades.

“The bill before us would raise taxes during one of the worst economic downturns of our state,” said Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

As it stands, the I-960 suspension bill would still allow e-mail notifications to be sent to the public about proposed tax increases, including 10-year cost projections of the measures. But the rest of the measure would be suspended, including a requirement for a nonbinding advisory vote by the public on taxes passed by the Legislature.

Four Republican amendments were rejected Tuesday night, including one that would restore the advisory vote requirement.

The changes to I-960 must clear both chambers and be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire before lawmakers can move ahead with tax-raising votes. Gregoire is expected to approve the Legislature’s plan.

The state Senate would have to vote on the bill one more time before it could be sent to Gregoire for final approval.

The I-960 suspension is Senate Bill 6130.

Washington State Fascists will try again to suspend I-960Legislative do-over

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

This is INFURIATING.  These FASCISTS need to hear from us, and soon.  To ignore the State Constitution and the will of the people is absoloutely jaw-dropping.   Their imperialistic attitude will not be tolerated and they’re going to see just how mad We, The People are in November, but I hope they hear us LOUD AND CLEAR before then.  To say that they’ll face a WALL OF RAGE, no matter what they do, so they should just do it anyway is absoloutely UNACCEPTABLE and APPALLING.  This is Nazi crap we’re dealing with now, folks.

 GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE.  YOU ARE FIRED.

Vote would suspend entire initiative, not just part of it.

State Senate Democrats say they flubbed their vote on suspending the two-thirds vote requirement in Initiative 960 for tax increases, and they need to vote again as soon as today on a broader measure.

The Senate voted 26-23 on a largely party-line basis to suspend the supermajority vote requirement for I-960. But they really intended to suspend the entire initiative and will have to vote again, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, said Tuesday evening in a news release.

The new vote would completely suspend Initiative 960, including its requirement for nonbinding or advisory votes for any tax increases as well as publication of all tax increases approved and who voted for them.

“Today’s vote was a recognition of the revenue crisis facing our state and 47 others, and the need for immediate responsiveness on the part of the Legislature to the state’s current budget emergency,” Prentice said in her statement. “Suspending the entire initiative allows for prompt action now, avoiding the added delay and additional cost to the state that a November public advisory vote would require.

The state treasurer says the state will run out of cash by September, so you can see how that sort of delay is something the state just can’t afford.”

Republicans roasted the Democrats in floor speeches during a more than two-hour floor debate for purportedly “gutting” I-960 with Senate Bill 6843. The GOP is likely to step up those attacks.

The vote on SB 6843 initially appeared to move the Democrat-controlled Legislature another step closer to being able to raise taxes as they work to plug a budget gap now measuring $2.2 billion.

Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch and four other Democrats – Steve Hobbs of Lake Forest Park, Claudia Kaufmann of Kent, Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor and Chris Marr of Spokane – had crossed over to vote with Republicans in opposition.

Until the do-over was announced, the bill was supposed to go to the House, where Democratic leaders said a vote might not occur until next week. Democrats need Gov. Chris Gregoire to sign the bill into law before tax bills can move easily through the two chambers, because they do not have two-thirds majorities needed to approve taxes, as I-960 requires. Gregoire also backs the bill; her legislative director said she wants to be sure lawmakers can provide revenues to avoid an all-cuts budget.

In a lead-up to their vote, Democrats dropped a plan to amend several details of I-960 besides the tax-vote requirements. Instead, they chose to focus on the vote requirements – a move that was less severe than their decisions to fully suspend two education-funding initiatives in 2003 and again last year.

Rural Democratic Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Brian Hatfield of Raymond led the changed strategy, and it was the way a majority of the caucus preferred to go, according to Sen. Tracey Eide, Democrats’ floor leader. But it still drew thundering objections from Republicans, who said its emergency clause prevents a public referendum to overturn SB 6843 in November.

Republican Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood and others complained Democrats were “thwarting the will of the people.’’ But Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom of Medina said the circumstances of the state have changed dramatically since 51 percent of voters approved I-960 in November 2007, and the economic downturn has cost 225,000 jobs in the state. “This is not an easy vote, but it is the right vote,” Tom said. “We are in unprecedented times. How many of you have lived through a time like this? How many of you have family members that are unemployed, that are losing their jobs? I do,” said Sen. Eide, D-Federal Way. “Think about this. We are in a crisis. We need to think logically. And who do the people of this state turn to when they need help? To you, me, all of us. They turn to us.”

The vote on I-960 is needed to free up action on other measures to raise revenue. For instance, the House is waiting to act on a bill that closes several tax “loopholes.” Among those is House Bill 3176, which will be heard in the House Finance Committee. HB 3176 would raise $205 million in the budget year ending in June 2011, according to Rep. Ross Hunter, the Medina Democrat who sponsored the bill and is the chairman of the Finance Committee. The bill closes a tax break that was widened by a 2009 Supreme Court ruling in the Dot Foods case; it also adds an excise tax to privately owned airplanes, eliminates a sales tax break for out-of-state residents who shop in Washington, and imposes other taxes on out-of-state firms that do a certain minimum amount of business in Washington.

Numerous other tax proposals are on the table, including a tripling of a hazardous-materials tax that would mainly hit oil refiners and makes of pesticides; a cigarette tax increase; and taxes on candy, bottled water and other products.

Hospitals also have a proposal for increasing the tax, or “assessment,” they pay as a way to generate a larger matching payment by the federal government.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown has not ruled out broader taxes on businesses instead.

Whatever happens with I-960, Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley warned in a floor speech that lawmakers face “a wall of rage” from voters if they repeal or suspend I-960.

Democrats say that misses a larger point. Hatfield, a conservative Democrat, said in an interview before the vote that Democrats face voter anger no matter what they do. He said lawmakers already cut several billion in spending last year, which affected law enforcement and drug-prevention efforts in his district. “I think we get a wall of rage either way. If we vote for another all-cuts budget, we’ll have a wall of rage,” Hatfield said. “The easy thing to do is say, ‘Let someone else solve the problem’ and vote no. That’s irresponsible.”

 

http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/1132118.html

Fear and hostility toward open carry in Olympia

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Fear and hostility toward open carry in Olympia

 http://www.examiner.com/x-4525-Seattle-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2010m1d29-Fear-and-hostility-toward-open-carry-in-Olympia?cid=examiner-email

Wrapping up this week’s coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on SB 6396 – Sen. Adam Kline’s measure to ban so-called “assault weapons” – the story would not be complete without noting an incident that occurred outside the hearing room.

Prior to the hearing, as several Open Carry activists gathered in the hallway of the John A. Cherberg Senate Office Building, Washington CeaseFire’s Ralph Fascitelli approached a member of the State Patrol’s security team and, after pointing out that there were visibly armed citizens in the building, demanded of the trooper: “Do you know if they’re loaded?”

Sources have confirmed to the Gun Rights Examiner that Fascitelli appeared both irritated and unnerved, and he wanted the State Patrol troopers to check every firearm at the door of the building to see if they were loaded. He was told by the WSP that troopers do not have the authority under state law to do that.

We note that, in connection with this case, several individuals have commented that they would find it strange, maybe shocking, to see a man carrying a gun down the street in broad daylight. Casad’s appellate counsel conceded that she would personally react with shock, but she emphasized that an individual’s lack of comfort with firearms does not equate to reasonable alarm.

We agree. It is not unlawful for a person to responsibly walk down the street with a visible firearm, even if this action would shock some people.” State Court of Appeals, Division II, State v. Casad Fascitelli, in the vernacular, “ain’t from around here.” An East Coast transplant, his activities as the Northwest’s most vocal – and alarmist – gun prohibitionist makes him a sterling example of hoplophobia in action, at least certainly as it applies to his conduct the other day in Olympia.

As defined by the late Col. Jeff Cooper, a renowned pistol instructor who was a personal friend of mine, hoplophobia is an “irrational aversion to weapons.” Evidently, Fascitelli was not aware that carrying firearms in public, even on the Capitol Campus, is legal.

Open carry in this state has been affirmed by at least two court rulings in the past several years, State v. Spencer and State v. Gregory Casad, the latter an unpublished opinion from the State Court of Appeals, District II. Fear of guns has also been discussed at length by Sarah Thompson, MD in her essay titled Raging Against Self-Defense. Dr. Thomas differs from Col. Cooper in her analysis of fear of firearms, insisting that it is not perhaps a true phobia, but simply a strong fear. Those afflicted with this fear, she suggests, project that toward everyone. The result can be an anti-gunner whose fear of guns compels him to try banning them from everyone else’s possession.

Open Carry activists Jim Beal, John Parks and Jeff Hayes told Gun Rights Examiner in separate interviews that they were only a few feet away from Fascitelli when he approached the state trooper. Their accounts have been independently verified by two other sources.

We tried to contact Washington CeaseFire, but learned that Executive Director Kristen Comer’s voice mailbox is full. The incident was mentioned briefly in a larger discussion on the OpenCarry.org forum.

As I noted earlier here, the Open Carry contingent of the gun rights crowd, which numbered more than 300, was particularly well behaved. Likewise, several state troopers who were on hand were both casual and professional at the same time; aware of the visibly-armed citizens, but hardly uncomfortable with their presence.

In my experience, the common thread in anti-gun people is rage. Either anti-gun people harbor more rage than others, or they’re less able to cope with it appropriately. Because they can’t handle their own feelings of rage, they are forced to use defense mechanisms in an unhealthy manner. Because they wrongly perceive others as seeking to harm them, they advocate the disarmament of ordinary people who have no desire to harm anyone.”—Dr. Sarah Thompson, MD

Prior to the hearing, I had even discouraged some of the Open Carry folks from packing their guns in the open, concerned that their appearance might shift public focus from a very bad piece of legislation to an issue that is already settled by court precedent.

As it turned out, the only objection was raised by Fascitelli, who apparently went away disappointed, until he was summoned to testify before the committee in support of the Kline measure.

KOMO’s always-affable Bryan Johnson interviewed Parks and did not seem one bit alarmed at his holstered sidearm. One might even consider open carry to be covered as much by the First Amendment as it is the Second, and by Article 1, Section 24 of the State Constitution, along with the court precedents protecting it.

That Fascitelli might want those armed citizens checked, and perhaps even removed from the premises, suggests that anti-gunners may be just as cavalier about stepping on someone’s freedom of speech and expression as they are about trying to trample on their right to keep and bear arms.

%d bloggers like this: