GOAL Post, 2013-9
Legislative Update from Olympia 15 March 2013
CHAMBER CUT-OFF PASSES
FOUR MORE BILLS DIE, FIVE REMAIN
HB 1588 DEAD -- MAYBE
POLICY COMMITTEE CUT-OFF 3 APRIL
This past Wednesday at 5 p.m., all bills had to pass out of their original chamber or be considered dead for the session. Four of the bills we are tracking died, five remain in play. The clock simply runs out, and a significant portion of bills die, good and bad. More than 2,000 bills were filed to date; fewer than half made it past the chamber cut-off. That number will likely be cut in half again by the end of the session. Many are filed, but relatively few make it to the Governor's desk. But it isn't over until the gavel goes down on Day 105.
Most of the drama this week was over HB 1588, the bill that mandates background checks on ALL firearm transfers within Washington. Democrats fell a few votes short of the needed 50 votes to get it out of the House, despite pressure from Governor Inslee and reportedly at least one telephone call to a legislator from former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), injured in a shooting in Tucson, AZ, fourteen months ago. (Representative Giffords is becoming the Jim Brady of her generation, despite her earlier NRA A-rating, brought out to showcase whatever gun control bill is up for discussion or a vote.) As a last minute maneuver, the bill sponsor tried to attach a referendum clause to the bill, which would have thrown it to the voters in November. At that point, six Democrats who supported the earlier version of the bill withdrew their support -- they wanted no part of an off-election-year referendum on guns.
Democrats control the House with a 55D-43R margin. One Republican, Rep. Mike Hope (R-44) was committed to voting FOR the bill. Thus they needed 49 Democrat votes to pass 1588. At least six righteous Democrats just said "no" (it could be a few more; because a vote was never taken, we won't know the exact shortfall). The next time someone asks why GOAL supports SOME Democrats, there's your answer. There are always exceptions to the stereotypes. On both sides.
According to some news reports, HB 1588 was the Democrats' #1 priority bill for this year. Rest assured it will be back in one form or another. If they can't find a way to resurrect it during this session, we'll may see it on the ballot later this year as an Initiative to the People. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), our state's newest nanny-state gun grabbing organization, has more than enough money at its disposal to buy its way onto the ballot just as they did in 1997 with I-676. More Seattleites dictating THEIR agenda to the rest of the state. Whether they will do so in an off-year election where turnout is very small remains to be seen.
Over the next 2 1/2 weeks bills will continue to be heard in the other chamber's policy committees. April 3rd is the next cut-off date.
Earlier this week a senior legislative staffer called me to ask what I meant by the position "concerns" on some bills (several legislators and staffers in Olympia are on the GOAL Post distribution list). "Concerns" means just that: while I have no problem with the stated intent of the bill, I believe it is written in such a manner that it takes away prosecutorial or judicial discretion. We've all heard the horror stories about "zero tolerance" policies in schools, children being expelled for drawing a picture of a gun, and the school principal defends him or herself with the response, "I'm sorry, I know it's silly, but my hands are tied. It's the rule." It's these "no exceptions, no loopholes" policies -- and laws -- that get the wrong person in trouble. School administrators, bureaucrats and politicians love "zero tolerance/no exception" policies it gives them cover.
An example: Two of the bills still making their way through the system expand the prohibition on firearm possession for individuals subject to different forms of restraining or protective orders. The intent of these laws is to protect people. Great. I was taught as a child that boys don't hit girls. And I've honored that rule. But for every case where a nutjob goes off the deep end and guns down his or her significant other, there are thousands of individuals subject to these orders that are NOT a danger, and that are being denied the fundamental right of self defense. And let's not forget that in many of these domestic cases, the potential threat goes BOTH ways. Laws that are guaranteed to catch EVERY lawbreaker will invariably also catch individuals that may have technically violated that law, but who had no criminal intent.
The following bills remain under consideration in the 2013 session
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
SHB 1096 Juvi illegal firearm possession Hurst (D-31) Died
SHB 1383 Stalking protection orders Goodman (D-45) S. HS&C
SHB 1588 Background checks Pedersen (D-43) Died
SHB 1612 Firearm offender registry Hope (R-44) S. L&J
SHB 1839 Background checks Goodman (D-45) Died
SHB 1840 Firearms/restraining orders Goodman (D-45) S. L&J
SSB 5282 DSHS/WSP info exchange Carrell (R-28) H. Jud
SSB 5452 Stalking protection orders Conway (D- H. Jud
SB 5831 Bans double tax on clay pigeons Rivers (R-18) Died
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, W&M = Ways & Means
GOAL POSITION ON BILLS
HB 1383 CONCERNS
HB 1612 CONCERNS
HB 1840 OPPOSE
SB 5282 SUPPORT
SB 5452 CONCERNS
SSB 5282 House Judiciary House Hearing Room "A"
21 Mar 1:30 p.m. John L. O'Brien 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):
Puyallup 23-24 March
Monroe 6-7 April
"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 24
Constitution of the State of Washington
Copyright 2013 Gun Owners Action League of WA