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.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The FBI and I-594

Apparently I-594 was effective in 2013 -- a full year before it went into effect.

From the FBI's most current uniform crime report announcement (2013):
"The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation decreased 4.4 percent in 2013 when compared with 2012 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes decreased 4.1 percent, marking the 11th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined.

"The 2013 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 367.9 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,730.7 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate declined 5.1 percent compared to the 2012 rate, while the property crime rate declined 4.8 percent.

"These and additional data are presented in the 2013 edition of the FBI’s annual report Crime in the United States. This publication is a statistical compilation of offense and arrest data reported by law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

"The UCR Program collects information on crimes reported by law enforcement agencies regarding the violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, as well as the property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
The I-594 supporters lied extensively about the consequences of 594 in order to fool the Washington's people into voting for it.  Stupid lies like "32% of women will have their lives saved" and so forth.

If anything, more gun ownership spells a safer society, with or without background checks.  A free people can figure out if they need a gun, unless there are media forces and hyper rich people spending millions on lies to fool the people into fear of themselves and their freedom.

As soon as 594 begins to cost lives and cause crime, it will be time to make the big, rich supporters of 594 feel the pain.  We must be willing to hold people like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg accountable, by taking their billions away from them in liability actions in a court of law.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I-594 parade of absurd outcomes commences

Barely two weeks after Washington State voters approved Initiative 594 -- a measure the NRA warned was “deeply flawed” -- our predicted consequences are beginning to emerge.

Under I-594’s restrictive language, a person simply handing his or her firearm to another is presumptively required to broker this “transfer” through a gun dealer.  This also necessitates the accompanying background check, fee, paperwork, taxes and, in the case of a handgun, state registration.

Proponents of the initiative had assured voters that fears of this overreach were exaggerated.  Prior to the vote on I-594, Geoff Potter, spokesman for 1-594 proponents Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said I-594 “simply applies the current system of background checks to all sales.”

As recounted in a Washington State news report, however, the Lynden Pioneer Museum has opted to pull eleven loaned WWII rifles currently on display and return these firearms to their collector owners before the “transfer” requirement in I-594 takes effect next month.  The reason?  The law contains no exemptions for firearms loaned for museum displays, or loaned for similar educational or cultural institution study or uses.  Once the law takes effect, the firearms could not be returned to their owners without the mandatory background checks and all the logistics and expenses that entails.

The museum director in Washington came to this decision reluctantly but unavoidably.  “I read through the law about 10 different times looking for a loophole,” he said.  He found none.  Unfortunately, there is no guidance at the state level because Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has reportedly not formed an opinion about I-594, and no authoritative interpretation of the initiative is available to the public, apart from the text of I-594 itself.  In the meantime, the museum’s attorney has stated he would welcome assurances from the state that it would not enforce the law to the detriment of the museum or the owners of the firearms on display.  To date, however, no such assurances have been forthcoming.

For his part, Geoff Potter, according to the Associated Press, now states that the museum scenario “is clearly not what was concerned when I-594 was designed,” and added, "You can't craft every possibility into every law."  The fact that advocates of I-594 ignored warnings by NRA and others of the measure’s overreach, however, tells a different story.  These consequences can hardly be considered unforeseen, and perhaps, unintended.  While even the staunchest supporters of the law do not appear to be arguing that the museum mishap somehow promotes public safety, it does serve their overarching goal of marginalizing the role of firearms in American life and history.

While we await news of other embarrassing and counterproductive consequences of the law, what is already obvious is that this poorly thought-out and badly drafted law goes too far, and will disproportionately, unnecessarily and unfairly burden law-abiding firearm owners.

Supporters of I-594 have indicated they will use the momentum from the Washington State vote to pursue similar “background check” campaigns in other states, including Nevada and Oregon.  Yet if I-594 in Washington is good for anything, it is to painfully illustrate how the gun-control agenda leads to the chilling of innocent conduct, potentially creates criminals out of decent people, requires the willful suppression of reason and reality, and has little to do with public safety.  Above all, it counsels that I-594 is a bad decision to be corrected, not one to be replicated in other states.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fact check on I-594 FBI claim

I-594 supporters can tell you that Women are 38% less likely to be shot to death by their partners in states with compulsory background checks.  They claim the US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Report of 2010 proves this claim.

How can they say that?  Plow through those FBI reports for yourself (links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,).  Nowhere is the data broken down by state, or the presence of that state's laws requiring background checks.

Do you think maybe the I-594 freaks are making stuff up?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Corrupt Elections, From the Left

"Democratic" politicians lie for personal political gain... they say what they think ought to be true, not what is real!

SEIU, a national, government labor group has swooped in to assist liberal candidates in multiple districts, breaking campaign laws in the process

Carpetbagger Chris Barringer in the 47th District is straight up lying in his TV ads attacking Rep. Mark Hargrove

San Francisco Billionaire Tom Steyer dropped $1.25 million into our elections, laundering much of it through other political committees

The State Democrats made up a quote from the Associated Press to attack Sen. Andy Hill

A coalition of liberal interest groups (ironically named the “Eastside Integrity PAC”)    released an attack ad on Sen. Andy Hill showing him in a Halloween mask. Their goal? Trying to make people think he’s hiding his record

In the 30th District, carpetbagger Shari Song's attack dogs relied on the old “Republicans are extreme” attack. Funny thing: Her opponent, Mark Miloscia, became a Republican because the Democrats' extreme policies drove him out of the party.

The final corruption is the Democratic Party's attack on our right to be armed. I-594 will not do a thing to prevent criminal ownership or use of firearms -- But it will make it more difficult for a good citizen to acquire firearms to defend him/her self. Remember, elitist liberals like billionaires Michael "no-more-Big-Gulps" Bloomberg or Microsoft's Bill Gates don't want you to be armed.

by Zuka Luka

I-594 is not well thought out, unless its purpose is to so complicate private sale of a firearms that private sales go away.  Thus everyone will swallow the story that we need to register all firearms in order to compel compliance with the I-594 transfer requirements.  Then you lose you privacy, and you can lose your firearms whenever the politicians decide.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lies, and the I-594 panacea.

The I 594 campaign is still spilling lies. The Big Lie is that their initiative will actually cut down criminal access to guns. It won't. But if 594 is enacted, every law abiding purchaser will have to go through yet one more set of compilations to obtain a gun. I 594 only gets the state more involved with complicating the people getting what they need.

"There’s a dangerous loophole in the law: Criminals who fail a background check can simply go online, or to a gun show, and buy a gun from a stranger, no questions asked. 594 closes that loophole, helping keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Close the background check loophole,”

Don Pierce, former Bellingham police chief

Don't you wonder why Don Pierce is lying. If you fail the existing background check system, you cannot go online to circumvent existing law. That is pure lie.

If you go to a gun show, you can buy a collectible firearm -- If you want to pay top dollar -- if you clear the gun shows background check -- many gun show operators have a background check requirement but Don Pierce lies about them.

And if I 594 is enacted, you'll still be able to buy a gun from a stranger. He just has to sell you his gun illegally. Most purchases between criminals are... criminal. Criminals will still get their guns illegally like they always have been able to. I 594 will not affect them at all.

One truth the I-594 people want to confuse you about is that the more guns the law-abiding have, the safer society will be. You can trust your neighbor -- most of them anyway. If you have a gun, you can trust yourself, can't you?

To listen to the 594 folks, you would think that you have to have government control to make you good. If you read 594, you get the idea that even handing an unloaded gun to a friend for him to look at makes you both a menace to society (Section 2, part 25).

You can trust the people -- even democracy can work -- if only the people trust their own judgment, and not government control.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harsh Realities of Initiative 594

The dishonest anti-gun organizations won't tell you.

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) talks a lot about how Initiative 594 will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  What they don’t report is that Initiative 594 is not aimed at criminals who, by definition, do not obey the law.

I-594 adds a ten day waiting period to delay acquiring a firearm (Section 4, 2).  The weight of 594 falls on the law-abiding citizen.  

I-594 would not be an effective crime deterrent and would only impose heavy burdens and legal hurdles for law-abiding citizens who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The reality is that criminals will still acquire firearms where they do now: the black market, straw purchasers, theft and illicit sources such as drug dealers.  Criminals are criminals -- I 594 does not discriminate between the law abiding and the criminals.

Law enforcement resources, however, will be diverted by I-594 to doing background checks on law-abiding, responsible gun owners who simply want to gift, loan, share and borrow firearms.

The "Gifting" Rules Intended to Confuse Voters

WAGR says that if I-594 is enacted, you would still be able to “gift” a firearm to an immediate family member without going through a background check.  That is, in fact, one of the few honest claims they make about I-594.

However, what WAGR doesn’t tell you is that, in virtually all other cases, you would be committing a gross misdemeanor if you were to simply hand a firearm to an immediate family member or close, personal friend unless you broker the "transfer" through a dealer (I-594, section 2, part 25, new definitions), complete the government paperwork, pay the fees, subject the transfer to Washington State Use Tax (I-594, section 11) and, in the case of handguns, have the transferee added to the state registration database of law-abiding handgun owners.

Bureaucratic Burdens

WAGR is NOT honest about the extent to which law-abiding citizens will be impacted by their proposed 18-page monstrosity of bureaucracy, regulation taxation and state record keeping.  They claim that I-594 regulates private firearm “sales” and contains “reasonable” exemptions.

In reality, I-594 regulates all firearm “transfers” and the exemptions are so narrow and limited that, in most cases, they will not apply.

Let's take a look at their proposed language:  Again, I-594 regulates private firearm transfers and defines “transfer” as “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. (I-594, section 2, 25)”  A few minutes spent with Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary will clarify that “intended” means “intentional,” and “deliver” means “to hand over.”

So, if you intentionally hand over a firearm to another person, you have just committed a gross misdemeanor under the provisions of I-594 (or a felony for a second occasion).

What might constitute an “unintentional” transfer?  Well, someone stealing your firearm would certainly be a transfer you did not intend.  But that would not be covered by I-594 (see the first paragraph for the full ironic effect).

A Lesson in Hunting Under Initiative 594

So, yes, as WAGR boasts about their exemptions, a father could “gift” a shotgun to his son.  But if Dad wanted to borrow the shotgun back from his son to use for a weekend hunting trip, that transfer would be subject to the I-594 bureaucracy.   And, for Dad to return the shotgun to his son, it is back to the dealer to go through the whole process again!

While WAGR claims there is an exemption for hunting, it is unworkably narrow [I-594, section 4, f; (v)].

If you are out hunting with your Dad or lifelong friend and his firearm malfunctions, you could loan them a spare as long as they only possess it where hunting is legal.  But, as described before, you could not loan them a firearm to take on a trip without you. 

Further, under the “while hunting” exemption, here's what happens when they cross a road (from which hunting is illegal).  Either you carry the firearm across the road for them or you have just committed a gross misdemeanor.

Wide-Ranging Criminalization of Firearm Transfers

There is an exemption for the temporary transfer of a firearm “at an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located [ I-594, section 4, (f)]."  By the way, Does anyone know of any shooting ranges "authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction" in Washington State?

While this exemption allows you to loan your firearm to a family member or friend to shoot at an authorized range, you would become a criminal if you make the same loan while target shooting on public land.

When this was pointed out to WAGR Spokesperson Cheryl Stumbo during debate, her response was that you shouldn’t be shooting on public land anyway because it is not safe and that, family shooting trips on public land are “one in a million…extreme hypothetical examples.  If you want to go on public land to shoot guns, go hunting.” (Click Here to Watch the Full Debate)That should give you an idea where the proponents of I-594 are headed!

Age is Everything

One final example of the deeply flawed provisions of Initiative 594: -- There is another exemption for the temporary transfer of a firearm to a person who is under 18 years of age while under the direct supervision of a responsible adult.  So, if you are out shooting on public land with your 17-year old daughter, you can hand over your firearm for her to shoot.

But next week in the same location, after celebrating her 18th birthday, you can no longer allow her to handle your firearm without brokering the transfer through a licensed firearms dealer.  She is adult; "bona fide" gifts are allowed, not temporary loans [I 594, section 4, (a)].

But WAGR is apparently okay with that because they believe you shouldn't be shooting on public land anyway (You have to play the video).

For more information about the harsh realities of Initiative 594 and why Washingtonians must Vote No on this November's ballot, please visit and share with your friends, family and fellow Second Amendment supporters our website

Much text is supplied by the National Rifle Association, a grassroots organization of 5 million gun owners.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is maintained by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, with one million dollars donated by Bill Gates.
Which organization more closely represents your interests?

Monday, September 15, 2014

I 594's sponsorship

Most people in Washington State think I-594 was created by people who live here.  Nope.  It was produced and supported by very wealthy easterners like Michael Bloomberg (and the very wealthy Bill Gates, who at least has a house here.).

Actually, I have no problem with people being wealthy, but I don't like it when they try to control my life and freedom.

Here's to Michael Bloomberg.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Initiative 594 - poorly thought out

Initiative 594 will require criminal and public safety background checks for all gun sales and transfers, whether they be from a regular retail gun store, gun show, or a private sale between private persons.  (594 also requires online sales to be registered, which is peculiar, since that is already required by law.)  594 will also add Washington state's 5 business day waiting period to all legal gun transactions.

Here's what makes 594 dangerous: What criminal is going to  register the transfer of his firearm when he plans on committing a crime with his freshly acquired gun? If 594 becomes law, only the law-abiding will obey 594. A criminal is a criminal – criminals won't care about obeying 594.

594 will impede people from defending themselves if they suddenly find out they need a gun to defend themselves.  There is an advertizement for 594 which portrays a woman suddenly being stalked.  She has no firearm to defend herself with.  Under 495 she won't even be able to borrow a gun for self-defense, until 5 days go by.  That scenario is a severe injustice.  At the end of the  advertizement, there is the sound of a gunshot.  You are supposed to imagine the woman as a victim of the stalker.  If 594 is enacted, that is almost certainly so.

We live in reality where guns are needed to protect the innocent.  Nothing should ever get in the way of defense of self.  Please vote no on I-594

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seattle Minimum Wage

The Seattle City Clowncil has imposed a city wide increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour.  This move is anti-freedom --a repressive political system based on control by a single group of politicians.  The political class is hoping the workers' greed will blind them to the cost of the loss of freedom.  If you didn't earn it, you don't own it. Anticipate the political class to remind you of this when they take your "excess" money from you.

Once again the Council politicians have convinced people that personal freedom -- the freedom to make it on your own - is a bad idea, and the people need someone to control their lives.  The Council's authoritarian pigs are going to destroy individual businesses so they can look like heroes to the shrinking number of employed people. 

The Council's message to business is clear:  Don't locate in Seattle.  We will take away your right to do business.  The Council's message to the people is also clear: we, the Council, are happy to spend someone else money to fool you into thinking we are giving you something.  The political class only wants your vote.  They don't care about your wage except to fool you.  Don't be fooled. 

The Council should be hung.

Cross posted on Resistance and Life

Friday, April 25, 2014

Free today?

Today, you are free! At least it's "Tax Freedom Day," which arrives in Washington state later than in 41 other states.

If all of our state's economic output, from January 1 until today, was directed to paying local, state, and federal taxes, it would take until today-April 25-to pay that bill. To put it another way, nearly a third of what we produce goes to government. And that's just in the form of taxes, not counting fees and debt.

Tax Freedom Day arrived in Oregon five days ago; in Idaho it was April 11. Washington can do better, if we wrench back control of government from public-sector unions. Those private special interests fight tooth and nail to grow government, imposing an ever-greater burden on everybody else.

Want proof? Tax Freedom Day for states that don't allow union monopolies would be on April 14, meaning the average tax burden in those states is significantly less than here. We can do better. As you help us expose monopoly unions and how they rig our political system, you are part of the solution.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cary Condotta's Olympia report

The Legislature adjourned the 60-day, 2014 legislative session on time, Thursday, March 13. This means for the first time since 2009 there will be no special session. You will recall, last year we had three special sessions and lawmakers were in Olympia until the end of June. Below is a brief overview of successes and disappointments of the legislative session.

Supplemental operating budget
The supplemental state operating budget passed by the Legislature this year had some very positive pieces to it. However, I opposed the budget this session because it left out some tax incentives important to our region. If you recall, in November, legislators were rushed back to Olympia and in a whirlwind special session we were asked to vote on tax incentive legislation to keep Boeing jobs in the Puget Sound region. Some legislators from Eastern Washington reminded all legislators during the debate to remember this during the upcoming session so we can do more to help the rest of our state improve job creation and strengthen the economy. 

Unfortunately, there were tax incentive bills for a variety of issues, including extending the tax incentive legislation to construct data centers, that would have helped accomplish this, but the proposals were not included in the final budget. The governor and House Democrats continually talk about “one Washington” but that doesn’t seem to extend outside the I-5 corridor. The latest unemployment numbers recently came out. King County has the lowest rate at 5.2 percent while the counties in the 12th District are:
  • Chelan: 8.8 percent
  • Douglas: 9.0 percent
  • Okanogan: 10.9 percent
  • Grant: 11.5 percent
We had a great opportunity to improve the business climate for all of Washington, not just the one Washington on the Westside of the mountains.

Prime-sponsored legislation
I had a number of bills receive public hearings and pass thru committees that brought attention to a variety of issues. We made significant progress on major issues for our district. These include defining independent contractors, property taxes and other bills related to local wineries and small business. We completed work on two of these important bills this session.

My bill to give county treasurers more flexibility in accepting property tax payments has been signed by the governor. I introduced House Bill 2309 because of the number of people I was hearing from about the lack of flexibility of trying to pay their property taxes during difficult times. A fellow legislator out of Spokane informed me his county treasurer, Rob Chase, had similar concerns. We worked on drafting the legislation and I was able to get it through the legislative process. This legislation may benefit people who lose their jobs, have health crises, live on retirement income or work seasonal jobs.

House Bill 2146 passed the Legislature unanimously and awaits the governor’s signature. It modifies the appeal bond amount for appeals of penalties to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Unless you deal with this agency on a regular basis this may not mean a great deal to you, but it is a great example of the dysfunction we periodically encounter in our agencies. I became aware that to appeal a $150 penalty with the department you had to pay a $200 appeal bond. With small penalty levels and a high appeal cost, people obviously did not appeal. This will give people more reasonable access to appeal without encouraging frivolous appeals. This will change the appeal amount to 10 percent of the penalty amount, or $200, whichever is less, subject to a $100 minimum.

Session successes
House Bill 2789 is known as the “drone bill.” Given the National Security Agency (NSA) recording phone calls and e-mails, this bill quickly became very important this session. It places privacy protections around the use of unmanned surveillance aircraft by state agencies. It protects our privacy and constitutional rights as citizens. We are one of the first in the nation to pass such legislation. It still allows law enforcement to use surveillance aircraft in certain situations, such as search and rescue missions and emergencies. However, it will not allow agencies to observe your house or farm from the air without a warrant.

House Bill 2192 will promote economic development by improving the predictability and efficiency of state agency permit decisions. This legislation is a good transparency measure making information about permitting assistance and timelines more readily available to the public.

House Bills 2261 and 2262 require the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Ecology (DOE) to “show their work” by categorizing on their websites the sources of scientific information relied upon in support of significant agency actions. This makes state agencies accountable for their actions and making their decision-making process more transparent.

House Bill 2207 provides that certain school districts which receive federal forest revenue will no longer have their state funding allocation reduced by the amount of federal forest revenue received.

Session disappointments
As I mentioned earlier, after the Legislature provided Boeing the tax incentives they wanted, nothing was done this session for the rest of the state. We had legislation to:
  • re-enact the Rural County Tax Incentive Program (that would have helped up to 31 counties);
  • extend the tax incentive for data centers constructed in our state; and
  • extend the same tax incentives Boeing received to rotorcraft (i.e. helicopters) because a company wanted to build helicopters in Southwest Washington.
I was very surprised the budget didn’t include renewing the server farm/data center tax incentive, especially with the amount of construction, economic development and family-wage jobs we saw it generate.
Other disappointments include:
  • The lack of meaningful transportation reforms to ensure gas tax dollars are maximized and WSDOT is held accountable (Bertha shutdown, faulty 520 Bridge pontoons – including cost overruns, waste in the ferry system); and 
  • Nothing to help people who have been negatively impacted by Obamacare (290,000 cancellation notices).
I-502 implementation
I was recently appointed as the ranking Republican on the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee (GOA). This committee works on legislation related to alcohol, gambling and now overseeing the implementation of the legalization of marijuana initiative (I-502).

The citizens of Washington passed the initiative and the Legislature is trying to provide regulations and oversight to make it work. It has proven to be a very difficult task since no other state has done this before. Even Colorado is operating off a very different model than our voters approved. The challenge for me is to ensure local money is included in any implementation plan. Many cities and counties are struggling, including right here in our 12th District.

Local governments are concerned about oversight on marijuana grows and businesses in their localities when no funding has been designated for them in the initiative. Many have considered bans or moratoriums rather than risk increased costs dealing with zoning, planning and enforcement.

Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement before the session adjourned. Senate Bill 5887 would have integrated the medical and recreational marijuana systems, and made several changes related to the possession, growing and purchasing of medical marijuana as well as provide local governments with some of the tax money generated from the I-502 implementation.

We worked on this issue up until the last hour, including a one-on-one meeting with Gov. Jay Inslee. All the stakeholders agreed to keep working to ensure local governments a share in this program.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

$15/hour minimum wage?

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has declared Washington State needs to have a higher minimum wage.  If the worst tradition of "liberalism" Inslee is spending someone else money, but now Inslee is too cowardly to tax it first. 

A minimum wage supposes no dignity of working -- under the minimum wage system, people don't get a wage, they are assigned a scale. 

Government forces upon them the idea that the wage earner is inferior to the employer, that only Big Brother government can make the mean ol' employer pay the wage -- premised upon the idea the worker is too weak to stand on his own hind legs. 

The government supposes the worker is a weakling, and must be protected and coddled and controlled, never to live life as a free citizen, but only to exist until it is convenient for the government autocrats to allow the worker to perish.  No free worker should believe this kind of patronizing.

The economic impact is the minimum wage has always caused a reduction in labor hours, i.e. total employment drops. 

Think about it:  If something goes up in cost, do you 1) buy more of it because you are stupid and loaded with money?  or 2) you buy less of the thing because you are not loaded with money and are watching your expenses too.  

If the $15 hour wage is adopted we will see more automation and less unskilled labor used in the market.  Another impact is new workers in the market, i.e. the young, will get frozen out.

The second result is more severe:  The actual use of labor may drop significantly because the hourly price is set too high.  If $15 is good, why isn't $35 better?  Why not make the minimum wage $35 per hour?

Obviously, government authorities will have to set the amount exactly right, or the economy goes stupid. 

The authoritarian autocrats will never confess that they are bad managers of the economy.  The authoritarian leftist will say something must be wrong with the workers, or the employers are too greedy, or anything except take responsibility.

The whole productive system can grind to a halt and jobs get sent overseas.  Some Authoritarian-Democrats will complain that America is a consumption based economy.  That is stupid.  Production has to equal (or exceed) consumption, otherwise there is a shortage.

Every time the people get fooled into demanding the government do something for them, the people have suffered.  Power always takes more than it gives


Get the power back, workers.

Negotiate your own wage between you and your employer. Once in history, this was done by the local union, but even that doesn't exist anymore. 

Too many greedy authoritarians have seen the money they could get by pretending to be the protector of the people.  All they are looking out for is their own gain.  Don't trust them, workers.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why don’t Democrats want to Fund Education First?

Republican legislators’ mantra last year during budget negotiations was Fund Education First, and it was a popular one. Not only does our state constitution say that education is the state’s paramount duty, it’s also voters’ number one priority. To them, it is obvious that state leaders should fully fund our paramount duty before other priorities in the budget.

Gov. Inslee announced his plan Tuesday to end seven tax preferences and raise $200 million in new tax revenue this year, to be put toward school operational costs, textbooks, and a cost-of-living raise for teachers. Public radio’s Austin Jenkins asked the governor directly at his press conference why Democrats don’t agree with Republicans’ preference for funding education first and funding other, lower priorities of government through tax increases if Democrats feel that is necessary.

Not surprisingly, Inslee didn’t want to answer that question. Instead, he gave an answer about his current supplemental budget proposal that ignored the premise of the question: If education is the paramount duty of the state, why not fund it first and make a tax fight about other spending?

You don’t have to go back in time very far to see Republicans step up for education while Democrats made their support contingent on getting new taxes approved. Just last year, the Majority Coalition Caucus proposed a budget that increased education funding by $1 billion without needing general tax increases. Budget proposals from the House Democrats and the governor also increased education funding, but only if big tax increases were approved.

Of course, we all know why the governor and his party don’t support Fund Education First, they just can’t say it out loud. As the party of bigger government, they want tax increases, and they think they’re more likely to pass a tax increase if it’s “for schools.” Legislators and the public are less likely to feel pressured to approve new taxes if they went to, say, more government regulations enforced by more government employees.

Unfortunately, Fund Education First doesn’t fit into their Grow Government First agenda at all.

– Rob McKenna

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Report from Olympia

The 2014 legislative session is underway. Before the session started the consensus seemed to be we would be done in the 60-day timeframe and there wouldn’t be anything to keep us in Olympia for a special session. However, a January Order issued by the state Supreme Court claimed the Legislature was not doing enough to fund education, even though we pumped an additional $1 billion into K-12 education last year. And, our work with education is not done. The court has clearly overstepped its authority and is violating the separation of powers that is supposed to exist between the three branches of government. Justice Jim Johnson wrote the dissent and I believe was correct. His comments include:
  • the legislature holds a constitutionally delegated duty specific to the funding of education. The judiciary does not.
  • Such unwarranted extension of judicial authority violates both the constitutional separation of powers and the explicit delegation of definitions and funding for education to the legislature.
  • This court’s exercise of continuing jurisdiction in this case usurps what is intended to be and what expressly is a legislative function and duty.
  • We are not–and should not be acting as–managers of the state coffers.
Comment cards
I want to thank everyone who has responded with the comment cards. I have received hundreds and your feedback is important to me. The most popular issues tend to be:
  • opposition to any new gas tax;
  • no new money for the Washington State Department of Transportation until we can show we are using the current monies effectively (eg, the cost overruns on the Seattle tunnel);
  • if there is any new money for transportation it should go toward maintenance and preservation only;
  • concerns about rising health care premiums and deductibles, and the implementation of Obamacare; 
  • lower taxes and regulations on employers so they can create more jobs; and
  • fund the teacher COLA’s. 
Legislation moving forward
As many of you know, most sessions I sponsor very few bills. I am not going to draft legislation just for the sake of introducing bills, although there are occasional exceptions. But, I also do not want to draft anything unless I feel there is a legitimate chance to pass the legislation or it will lead to good debate and discussion and could be considered in future sessions. This year has been a different experience for me. I introduced more bills than I have in most sessions. Up to this point I have had public hearings or will have one in the next couple weeks. Issues include:
  • Snowmobile license fees:  House Bill 2002 – would raise the snowmobile annual registration and renewal fee to maintain the current level of service for trail maintenance and grooming operations.
  • Audits of state universities:  House Bill 2308 – would require the state auditor to conduct a comprehensive financial audit of the University of Washington and Washington State University.
  • Independent contractor certification:  House Bill 2147 – would simplify and protect independent contractor classification and provide more consistency under independent contractor guidelines. Read my news release here.
  • Payment of property taxes:  House Bill 2309 -  Delays the imposition of penalties imposed on delinquent property taxes and allows a county treasurer to accept partial property tax payments.
  • Legislation to enhance our wine industry: House Bill 2327 and House Bill 2355 – the first bill would allow wine to be sold in growlers, the second would allow multiple liquor licenses at certain locations.
  • License plate recognition: House Bill 2606 – would address privacy issues around this new technology.
  • Marijuana excise tax revenue: House Bill 2144 – would create a dedicated local jurisdiction marijuana fund of which participating counties and cities would receive a certain percentage of the I-502 monies – since there is no current tax collection at the local level.
We are obviously working on a wide variety of issues in our short timeframe. If you have any questions about any of the legislation I have mentioned in this update, or any other issues before the Legislature, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Proposed Minimum Wage Increase
One issue that came up late yesterday (Thursday) you will find very interesting, particularly those in the business community, House Democrats are proposing to increase the minimum wage. Click “House Democrats propose $12 minimum wage” for the story from The Seattle Times. You may know a $15 minimum wage this was a ballot issue in the city of Sea-Tac last November. The city of Seattle is also considering a minimum wage hike. I believe this would hurt our economy and actually decrease the amount of jobs as employers would struggle to come up with a way to pay for the increase in labor costs. It isn’t as simple as just raising the price of your products as many of you in the agricultural industry know.
In January 2014, Bill Gates said: “Well, jobs are a great thing. So you have to be a bit careful: If you raise the minimum wage, you’re encouraging labor substitution, and you’re going to go buy machines and automate things – or cause jobs to appear outside of that jurisdiction. And so within certain limits, you know, it does cause job destruction. If you really start pushing it, then you’re just making a huge trade-off.”
Our state already has the highest minimum wage in the country and Washington state’s youth unemployment rate is fifth in the nation. An increased minimum wage would further reduce employment opportunities for low-skilled workers and teenagers. This also favors larger corporations over small businesses.
Health care numbers
You have likely seen news stories, including national stories, on state-based and the federal health insurance “Exchanges” that indicate our state-based Exchange (Washington HealthPlanFinder) is working well and that we have had good enrollment numbers. Here is a slightly different perspective:
  • Of the 454,009 that have completed health plan enrollments using the Exchange as of January 9, 2014, 380,911 are Medicaid, and:
  • The majority of Medicaid recipients now do their annual renewals in the Exchange. (183,141 of enrollments were Medicaid renewals)
  • Another 63,070 were new Medicaid enrollments eligible under pre-Obamacare Medicaid eligibility requirements. (This includes typical new enrollees each month, and any “welcome mat” enrollment due to Obamacare.)
  • 134,700 are newly eligible Medicaid recipients (i.e. Medicaid expansion enrollees/adults under 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level).
  • Only 73,098 of the Exchange enrollments are for non-Medicaid health plans; and
    • 56,285 will receive a tax credit/subsidy (i.e. funded by taxpayers).
    • Only 16,813 individuals purchased a “full-price” health plan on the Exchange.
    • It was estimated that 130,000 individuals would enroll in a non-Medicaid, Exchange health plan by January 1, 2014.
    Rep. Cary Condotta, 12th District

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    “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