Legislative Update from Olympia, 15 February 2013
POLICY COMMITTEE CUT-OFF NEXT FRIDAY
MORE NEW BILLS FILED
PUBLIC HEARINGS HELD
EXECUTIVE SESSION HELD
BILL(S) PASS OUT OF COMMITTEE
EXECUTIVE SESSION SCHEDULED
PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED
First, a brief tutorial on bill action. A committee chair has almost total control over whether he or she chooses to act on a bill (there is a procedure to "relieve a committee" of a bill, but it's rarely invoked). To move through the process, a bill must normally receive a public hearing, where citizens (and lobbyists) have an opportunity to testify orally or submit a written statement about a bill. After consideration of the public input, the bill may be scheduled for "executive action" (a vote out of committee, usually done in conjunction with public hearings on other bills). This is typically when bills may be amended to reflect approved changes. Again, it is the committee chair's call as to whether to move forward with a bill or not. If a bill is voted out of committee, a "bill report" is published, outlining any changes, summarizing testimony, and what the vote was (which legislators voted "aye" or "no" to move the bill. A bill then goes to the Rules Committee to await a pull to the full chamber (House or Senate) floor for a vote, or to one of the fiscal committees if the bill has fiscal impact.
Next Friday is the first chamber policy committee cut-off. Nominally, all bills that have failed to get a hearing and be voted out of the policy committee are dead for the session (again, exceptions can be made). Most of the gun bills filed this year have NOT had a public hearing and will likely die next Friday (22 February). The following week I'll cull the "Bill Status" listing to reflect only those bills still in play -- still under consideration..
Several new bills were introduced this week (keep in mind there is only one week left before the policy committee cut-off). HB 1839 by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) completes the action taken two years ago when successful completion of a federal NICS check was added to the requirement for issue of a Concealed Pistol License. ATF approved Washington as a NICS-alternative state, meaning anyone with a valid CPL issued on or after 22 July 2011 did not have to undergo a new NICS check to purchase a firearm. This final step amends Washington law to waive the NICS check. HB 1840, also by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45), expands the number of restraining or protective orders that include prohibition of firearm possession. HB 1908 by Rep. Elizabeth Scott (R-39) amends Washington's "gun free school zone" law to allow firearm possession by contract security personnel and adds an exception for transiting school property to enter hunting areas. SB 5737 by Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) is a reprise of the "assault weapon" ban bill that failed to pass out of committee several years ago, with a new twist: it bans ANY barrel with a threaded muzzle than can accept a suppressor. Duh! Suppressors are LEGAL in Washington, Senator..
One I missed last week was SB 5660 by Sen. Maralyn Chase (D-32) that would mandate an Eddie Eagle-style firearms training program starting in school year 2014-15. One problem: the bill requires the program be targeted at the K-12 level. Eddie Eagle is a gun avoidance program intended to be presented to K-6 students. What 7-12 students need is the NRA's Home Firearm Safety program.
Public hearings were conducted on several bills this past week. The big one was in House Judiciary on Wednesday, when testimony was taken on HBs 1147 (juvenile possession), 1588 (background checks), 1612 (firearm offender registry) and 1676 (mandatory safe storage). HB 1588 drew most of the attention, with opponents calling attention to several flaws in the bill that would make it impossible to enforce. A substitute version taking some of those issues into consideration was offered, but the problems persist. Supposedly work is underway to further amend the bill. Turnout for the hearing was significant, with an extra room opened for the overflow. About 2/3 of the attendees were pro-gun, the remaining third anti or supporting the bad bills. Something to keep in mind: most of the anti-gun attendees were there on their boss's dime, drawing full pay to be there. Most pro-gun attendees had to take time off from work to participate. Which one demonstrates greater commitment to their side of the issue? The Senate Law & Justice Committee also held a public hearing today on SB 5479 (law enforcement "safekeeping" of firearms).
On February 12th, the House Judiciary Committee passed a substitute version of HB 1096 (juvenile illegal firearm possession). Changes to address our concerns were made in the substitute bill, however our concerns about proper application of the bill remain.. The bill now goes to House Appropriations because of its potential fiscal impact. It also passed a substitute version of HB 1383 (stalking/protection orders), also addressing some of our concerns, but concerns remain.
At this time, the only bill scheduled for executive session (a committee vote) is an amended version of HB 1588. Public hearings are scheduled for three bills next week: HBs 1839 and 1840 and SB 5660. See details below.
Public hearings Unfortunately, at least two meetings of the Senate Law & Justice Committee have no scheduled bills to be heard in public testimony at this time.
SB 5660 Sen EL 2/21 1730
ph 1096 approp 1530 2/21
House Bill numbering begins with 1000; Senate Bills with 5000. The following bills have been filed so far in the 2013-14 biennium:
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
HB 1096 Juvi illegal firearm possession Hurst (D-31) H. Approp
HB 1147 1st degree juvi unlawful possess. Goodman (D-45) H. Jud
HB 1184 Range protection Takko (D-19) H. Jud
HB 1318 CPL renewal notice Taylor (-15) H. Jud
HB 1371 WA Firearms Freedom Act Taylor (R-15) H. Jud
HB 1383 Stalking protection orders Goodman (D-45) H. Jud
HB 1561 Short barreled rifles Blake (D-19) H. Jud
HB 1588 Background checks Pedersen (D-43) H. Jud
HB 1612 Firearm offender registry Hope (R-44) H. Jud
HB 1676 Mandatory safe storage Kagi (D-32) H. Jud
HB 1703 Gun "safety" training and tax Jinkins (D-27) H. Jud
HB 1729 Street gangs Warnick (R-13) H. Jud
HB 1788 Firearms/school employees Pike (R-18) H. Jud
HB 1839 Background checks Goodman (D-45) H. Jud
HB 1840 Firearms/restraining orders Goodman (D-45) H. Jud
HB 1908 firearms on school property Scott (R-39) H. Jud
SB 5282 DSHS/WSP info exchange Carrell (R-28) S. HS&C
SB 5376 Juvi illegal firearm possession Kline (D-37) S. HS&C
SB 5452 Stalking protection orders Conway (D- S. HS&C
SB 5478 Firearms/mental health court Keiser (D-33) S. L&J
SB 5479 Safekeeping of firearms Keiser (D-33) S. L&J
SB 5485 Mandatory safe storage Kline (D-37) S. L&J
SB 5604 NRA license plates Hatfield (D-19) S. Trans
HB 5625 Background checks Kline (D-37) S. L&J
SB 5635 Restoration of firearm rights Kline (D-37) S. L&J
SB 5660 Firearm safety education Chase (D-3) S. Early Learn
SB 5711 Background checks Kline (D-37) S. L&J
SB 5737 Ban on sale of "assault weapons" Murray (D-43) S. L&J
Key to abbreviations: SB = Senate Bill, HB = House Bill, Jud = Judiciary, L&J = Law & Justice, HS&C = Human Services & Corrections, Trans = Transportation, Approp = Appropriations, Early Learn = Early Learning and K-12 Education
GOAL POSITION ON BILLS
HB 1096 CONCERNS
HB 1147 CONCERNS
HB 1184 SUPPORT
HB 1318 SUPPORT
HB 1371 SUPPORT
HB 1383 CONCERNS
HB 1561 SUPPORT
HB 1588 AWAITING AMENDMENTS
HB 1612 CONCERNS
HB 1676 OPPOSE
HB 1703 OPPOSE
HB 1729 SUPPORT
HB 1788 SUPPORT
HB 1839 SUPPORT
HB 1840 OPPOSE
HB 1908 SUPPORT
SB 5282 SUPPORT
SB 5376 CONCERNS
SB 5452 CONCERNS
SB 5478 CONCERNS
SB 5479 OPPOSE
SB 5485 OPPOSE
SB 5604 NEUTRAL
SB 5625 OPPOSE
SB 5635 OPPOSE
SB 5660 SUPPORT
SB 5711 OPPOSE
SB 5737 OPPOSE
20 Feb HBs 1839, 1840 House Judiciary Committee
8:00 a.m. House Hearing Room "A" John L. O'Brien Office Building
21 Feb SB 5660 Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12
5:30 p.m. Senate Hearing Room "1" John A. Cherberg Senate Office Building
LEGISLATIVE HOT LINE: You may reach your Representatives and Senator by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Toll free!!! The hearing impaired may obtain TDD access at 1-800-635-9993. Also toll free!!!
1-800-562-6000 TDD 1-800-635-9993
OTHER DATA: Copies of pending legislation (bills), legislative schedules and other information are available on the legislature's web site at "www.leg.wa.gov". Bills are available in Acrobat (.pdf) format. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe's web site (http://www.adobe.com). You may also obtain hard copy bills, initiatives, etc, in the mail from the Legislative Bill Room FREE OF CHARGE by calling 1-360-786-7573. Copies of bills may also be ordered toll free by calling the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000. You may also hear floor and committee hearing action live at http://www.tvw.org/ (you need "RealAudio" to do this, available free at the TVW web site).
By reading the House and Senate "bill reports" (hbr, sbr) for each bill, you can see how individual committee members voted. By reading the "roll call" for each bill, you can see how the entire House or Senate voted on any bill. The beauty of the web site is that ALL this information is available, on line, to any citizen.
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Upcoming WAC gun show(s):
Monroe 16-17 February
Puyallup 23-24 February
"The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men." Article 1, Section 2, Constitution of the State of Washington
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