All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Smarting" government

State government is under the gun to fulfill its court-ordered obligations to fully fund schools. No one doubts that the funds exist to meet the McCleary case, the real fight is how much the rest of state government should grow.

House Democrats will reveal their budget proposal on Monday. We’ll see how realistic they choose to be. All indications are that it will include a cap-and-trade carbon tax. What’s unclear is whether the Democrats even have the votes to pass cap-and-trade – Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon gave a pretty political non-answer to Austin Jenkins’ direct question on TVW.

The fiscal reality is, the state will have $3 billion more in its next two-year budget than the current one. That’s an 8% increase to deal with the required education spending increases. But that’s not good enough for some. In his budget proposal, Gov. Inslee called for new taxes that would grow state spending by 15.4%. That’s a big jump.

Do House Democratic leaders think their members have the stomach for big tax increases? We’ll find out Monday.

– Rob McKenna

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Halftime at the legislature


It’s halftime in the 2015 legislative session, and now Legislators are retreating to their districts to hold constituent (that’s you) town halls. Here are the dates and times for the town halls.

This is your opportunity to hear what important issues Legislators are working on, and for you to ask them questions.

If you are short on questions, here are a few we think would be great to ask:
  1. Do you support right-to-work legislation in Washington?
  2. What are you doing to make sure that labor unions are transparent and accountable to the public employees they represent?
  3. Do you support transparent collective bargaining negotiations?
  4. What are you doing to protect the interests of taxpayers in public-sector collective bargaining?
  5. Will you support legislation that gives state workers the choice whether they want to join an employees union or not? 
It’s up to each of us to hold our Legislators accountable, and until we remove the stranglehold public-sector unions have on our government, no idea which limits the growth of government will survive.

Thank you for all you do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Legislative report

We are approaching the first cutoff date of the 2015 legislative session. This Friday is the policy committee cutoff date, meaning House bills must be passed out of their respective policy committees or they are likely "dead" for the session. The cutoff for the fiscal committees is next week, Feb. 27. Of course bills necessary to implement the budget "NTIB" are exempt from cutoff dates. For more on cutoff click here 

In this week's update I touch on the Senate's transportation proposal and small business-killing legislation we heard in the House Appropriations Committee, and you can watch my legislative update where I discuss my bill that would change red light camera laws.
Sincerely,

Cary Condotta

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Senate unveils transportation proposal
Late last week the Senate introduced a bipartisan transportation plan. Overall, it is a $15 billion tax increase including an 11.7 cent fuel tax increase over three years, 2015-17 and increases numerous fees. It does contain some important reforms such as prevailing wage requirements on transportation projects and streamlining environmental permitting. However, I believe the current proposal is too large of a tax hit for what the 12th District gets back. Our district would get back about one-half of one percent of the $15 billion package. I am also concerned about the number of fee increases. At this point, I do not support this proposal

Business-killing bills heard in Appropriations Committee
This week the House Appropriations Committee heard a number of bills that could devastate an already fragile business climate in Washington state. Democrats are moving legislation that would:
A higher minimum wage would not reduce poverty, stimulate the economy or address income inequality.  Remember, our state has the highest minimum wage in the nation, but poverty has still increased and our income inequality has grown compared to many other states with the federal minimum wage.In fact, it will cost government more, and drive small employers out of business. It increases employers' taxes, when they already pay an exorbitant amount of taxes. It hurts low-skilled workers and teen unemployment. If a low-skilled worker or teenager is struggling to find work at $9.47 an hour, they will not find work at $12 an hour. We are hearing stories of some companies moving out of the Puget Sound region because of the increased cost of doing business. Read: "Longtime Seattle manufacturer moving 100 jobs to Nevada."

The family and medical leave insurance will be an additional cost to the state and it would also reduce state employee wages. It is another mandate on employers instead of allowing them to provide the benefits or leave that suits their business the best.

If the mandatory paid sick and safe leave were to pass Washington employers would pay approximately $450 million in additional costs. School districts and local governments would face increase costs. Small businesses would disproportionately be effected as most large businesses provide some type of sick leave.

The bill concerning wage retaliation is not needed. There are already several statutes in place prohibiting employers from taking adverse action against employees. It would just add another layer of bureaucracy employers would have to contend with.

What most people miss is the huge increase in cost of government under the bills I have mentioned. This will increase the state budget by billions forcing the state to raise taxes or add additional taxes such as income, capital gains, carbon, etc. No one wins on these bills.

There is also talk circulating around Olympia that large corporations are quietly supporting some of this legislation, particularly the bills mandating some type of leave. It would increase their business at the expense of the small competitors who would have difficulty paying or covering the leave mandates.

Modifying traffic safety cameras
I did a number of interviews in the last week on my traffic safety camera legislation, including on KIRO and KOMO radio. Watch my video update from last week to get more details on it and a wrap-up of last week. Click here to watch it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

$15 per hour grows unemployment in Seattle

Seattle’s $15 minimum wage has claimed its first casualty… and the union-driven, completely arbitrary policy has yet to be implemented. Cascade Designs, an outdoor recreational gear manufacturing company, announced it is moving 100 jobs (20% of the workforce) later this year from Seattle to a new plant it is leasing near Reno, Nevada.

Cascade Designs “manufactures MSR camping stoves, Platypus hydration packs, SeaLine dry bags, and Therma-A-Rest sleeping pads — hundreds of products made by workers in Seattle.” The company has offered some employees positions in Reno, but others must reapply.

Founder John Burroughs and son David Burroughs (Vice Chair) said that Seattle’s $15 minimum wage “nudged them into action.” Burroughs wants to keep production in the United States, though the company does have a plant in Ireland. Burroughs said Seattle’s new minimum wage would “eventually add up to a few million dollars a year.”

The need to expand—an expensive prospect in Seattle—added to Cascade Designs’ decision to move.

published by Shiftwa

Friday, January 2, 2015

New firearm regulations from I-594

Two new sections of Washington state firearms regulations RCW 9.41 are key to knowing the onerous changes 594 is laying on us.  594 wasn't about saving people's lives; it was about complicating gun ownership.

"All firearm sales or transfers, in whole or part in this state including without limitation a sale or transfer where either the purchaser or seller or transferee or transferor is in Washington, shall be subject to background checks unless specifically exempted by state or federal law.  -- New section RCW 9.41.113 (1)"

The key word in that section is transfer.  Normally, if I was selling a firearm, I would expect the transfer to occur when I exchanged the firearm for money.  If I was just handing my firearm over to someone else to look at and hand back to me, I wouldn't consider that a transfer.

This is not so in Washington state anymore.  Initiative 594 caused the state definition to change: "'Transfer' means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.' --  RCW 9.41.010, section (25)" 

If someone else merely handles your firearm in Washington state, you are both guilty of a misdemeanor or felony (see RCW 9.41.115).  The clear intent of I-594 is to impede common interest in firearms through trickery.

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I-594 supporters tried to conceal a provision of 594 -- the requirement the state maintain a database that is tantamount to mandatory registration of all firearms (not just pistol) transfers.  The requirement that all purchasers be approved via background check, and recorded in the state database, as required by I-594 Section 5 c (2) (a) and (b).  This constitutes an entirely separate requirement, therefore violating the single subject law on initiatives, as required by the Washington State Constitution, Article II, section 19. 
Article 2 of the Washington State Constitution describes the whole legislative process; Section 19 defines the limit of a single bill: "No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title."  Initiative 594 describes itself as "AN ACT Relating to requiring criminal and public safety background checks for gun sales and transfers."

I-594 treats more than one subject; I-594 violated the single subject rule, and thus the election result on I-594 is invalidated by sloppy initiative writing.  Washington State requires clarity.  Had the People really known what they were voting for, there is no doubt the result would have been different. 
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Our state's firearms laws used to be based on the principle that individual people have the right to run their own lives. Now, personal "rights" are subject to review and permission from a bureaucracy.  That sort of filter would catch criminals, but by definition criminals don't obey the law.  No bureaucracy is perfect, so only the law-abiding will be "caught" and found guilty of crime.

There are more subtle changes than just those mentioned above.  Please protect yourself from the spider's web.  Download and study a copy of the entire state firearms regulations. Then write your state legislator and demand action on removing I-594.

What other people read on this blog

Effing the ineffable - Washington State elections sometimes have been rigged.

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin