“The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will, be recalled.”

~ George Washington (1787)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday cartoons


Tuesday news & opinions

Tyranny

Politics

Terrorism

State Government, Bill of Rights, Taxes, Budget Battle

Local Government

Second Amendment

Education, Liberal Mindset


ObamaCareTax

American Exceptionalism

Abortion

It's The Economy

Big Government

Foreign Policy

Looking Ahead

Monday, April 29, 2013

GOAL Post #15

GOAL Post, 2013-15

Legislative Update from Olympia, 29 April 2013

SESSION ENDS, NO BUDGET
THREE FIREARM-RELATED BILLS PASS
INSLEE CALLS  SPECIAL SESSION, TO BEGIN 13 MAY
FOCUS: BUDGET AND GUNS
GUN CONTROL PRESS CONFERENCE
OBAMA ET AL PROMISE RE-VISIT OF GUN BILL(S)
GOAL POST TO CONTINUE THROUGH SPECIAL SESSION
NRA CONVENTION IN HOUSTON 3-5 MAY


The 2013 Regular Legislative session ended Sunday evening, 28 April without passage of a biennial budget, the principal function of the long session.  Both chambers passed budgets, but were far apart in details.  The GOP-controlled Senate passed a balanced budget, the House budget called for more than  $1 BILLION in tax increases.

Of the more than 30 firearm-related bills filed in the regular session, only three made it out of the legislature to the Governor's desk.  HB 1383, clarifying stalking protection orders,  HB 1612, creating a "firearm offender registry" similar to the sex offender registry, and SB 5282, requiring DSHS to provide certain mental health data to the Washington State Patrol.  Overall, we got a major pass this session, especially given the environment when it started back in January, exactly a month after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting.

Governor Inslee has called for a 30-day Special Session to begin on Monday, 13 May.  While the governor listed specific issues he wanted addressed in the special session, once they convene the legislature can choose to go anywhere they want.  Gun control -- background checks as a minimum -- are on the governor's list.  How well they'll do in the special session remains to be seen.  In the regular session they couldn't even agree to pass a bill out of the Democrat-controlled House.  The Senate is likely less receptive to the issue.  But we won't know until they convene.

A coalition of gun control advocates and "religious leaders" held a press conference today in downtown Seattle to announce their plan to run an Initiative to the Legislature later this year.  The initiative will allegedly focus on universal background checks, but if past history is any indication, that will be their cover for more comprehensive gun control measures (just as today's Seattle Times article about the conference referred to I-676 as a "trigger lock" initiative -- when only one section of 28 in that initiative dealt with trigger locks -- it's called bait & switch).  As always, the devil is in the details.  I'll provide more information about the initiative process, and the initiative itself, some time next month after the actual language is filed.

President Obama, Vice President Biden and several Democrat leaders in the U.S. Senate have appeared on television and in other fora since the failed votes on S. 649 ten days ago to commit to reviving the gun control bill and force it through Congress.  No schedule has been set at this time, meaning they're still working in the background to urge Senators to change their votes to support the measures.  Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey, co-author of the Manchin-Toomey compromise amendment, says he's done with the issue and will not pursue another vote.  The bill could come back for a vote next week, or next month... or never.  But SOME FORM of new and more intrusive gun control is a major goal of the Obama administration.

This would normally be the last regular issue of the GOAL Post until next year's regular (2014) session.  Due to the special session, I will resume publishing GOAL Post after the start of the session in about  three weeks.

The NRA annual meetings and convention is being conducted in Houston this weekend, 3-5 May.  I'll be working the Second Amendment Foundation booth (#2955) on the exhibition floor.  If you're attending the convention, stop by and say hello.

BILL STATUS:

Monday Cartoons


News and Opinions for Monday!

Tyranny

Corruption

Liberal Mindset

Big Government

Foreign Policy

Second Amendment

Looking Ahead

It's The Economy

Abortion

Agenda 21

State Government, Taxes, Budget Battle

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sen. Hewitt's Eastsider's Report - April 28

April 28, 2013                                   

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is the last day of the 2013 regular legislative session. We’ll be adjourning “sine die” today (a Latin phrase meaning to end without a date certain to reconvene), but as in recent years, additional time will be necessary to complete our work on a budget and associated policy bills. The special session will begin on May 13, and you can find more information on the dynamic in the Legislature and the current state of budget negotiations below.

I continue to welcome your thoughts and feedback about any issue facing our state. Please feel free to contact me anytime via email or by calling me in Olympia at (360) 786-7630 if you have questions or concerns about an issue, or if I can be of assistance to you and your family in any way.

Thank you, as always, for the continued opportunity to serve you in the state Senate.

Sincerely,

Sen. Mike Hewitt

Special session ahead – budget without new taxes still possible
Today marks the end of the 105-day 2013 legislative session. By all rights, we should be putting the finishing touches on the budget, wrapping up negotiations on associated policy bills and getting ready to head home. Instead, in what has become an all-too-common occurrence, a “special session” will be required to finish our work and will begin on Monday, May 13.

To me, the fact we’re entering another special session is disappointing and unacceptable. It’s become an unfortunate habit of the Legislature in recent years; there have been two special sessions in each of the last three years. These sessions are expensive – up to $18,000 per day – and they shouldn’t be allowed to become commonplace.

The primary sticking point is taxes. Despite the fact that the state is receiving more revenue than any time in history, some in Olympia are intent on raising general taxes. The governor and the majority party in the House of Representatives have proposed that taxes be raised on everything from prescription drugs to gas and most businesses in the state. In all, it amounts to around $1 billion over the next two years alone.

I do not support the tax package being proposed but there is one component that’s particularly concerning to me. In 2010 the majority party in the House and Senate enacted a 20 percent hike in the state’s business and occupation tax for the service industry. The increase was temporary – to expire at the end of this June – and at the time we were told in no uncertain terms that it was only to bridge the gap until the economy recovered.

Now the governor and the House are proposing to extend the tax on businesses. I feel very strongly that’s the wrong direction for our state. After all, how is the Legislature going to begin the process of rebuilding the trust of the people if we don’t keep our promises?

I wish that more folks in Olympia would remember the primary purpose of why we’re here – to pass a budget that represents the interests of the people who elected us. Through recent votes to reject an income tax proposal and sales tax increases on candy, soda and bottled water, the citizens of our state could not have been clearer about their feelings on new taxes.

While I am disappointed that a special session is necessary, the good news is that there's still an opportunity to reach agreement on a budget that doesn't raise general taxes. In the end, it's more important that the Legislature gets it right than gets it done quickly. You can count on me to continue to oppose general tax increases and to push for a sustainable, responsible budget.

Around the district
Earlier this week it was announced that Salvador Mendoza, Jr. was appointed to serve as Superior Court judge for Benton and Franklin counties. Mendoza, who was raised in a family of migrant farm workers, is currently a Judge Pro-Tempore in Benton County Superior Court and Franklin County Juvenile District Court. He is also a partner in a Kennewick law firm with an emphasis on adult and juvenile criminal law.

Notably, Mendoza helped start the Juvenile Drug Court program, has been a proponent of equal access to justice through his work with Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society and served as a Columbia Basin College trustee. Mendoza will replace retiring Superior Court Judge Craig J. Matheson, who is stepping down after 26 years of dedicated service. Mendoza’s term begins effective May 6, 2013.

I’d like to thank Judge Matheson for his years of dedicated service and wish Judge Mendoza the best as he begins his tenure.

Sunday Cartoons


Opinions and news for Sunday

Tyranny

American Exceptionalism

Terrorism

Liberal Mindset

Taxes

Education, Liberal Mindset

Abortion

Big Government

Media

Budget Battle

Politics

State Government, Bill of Rights

Corruption

Second Amendment

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Washington: Act Now! Special Session to Consider Gun Control Measures Under Consideration

From the NRA Institute for Legislative Action:
On Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee (D) announced the likelihood of a special legislative session to be called after the regular legislative session ends this weekend.   The Governor has indicated that a broad range of issues could be considered, and almost certainly will include more gun control measures.  Contact your state legislators and the Governor IMMEDIATELY and demand that NO measures to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Washingtonians should receive consideration in a special session.

Contact information for your state legislators can be found by clicking here.

Governor Jay Inslee
Phone : (360) 902.4111
E-mail by clicking here

Saturday Cartoons


Saturday News

Tyranny

It's The Economy

Terrorism

Big Government

Foreign Policy

Media

ObamaCareTax

Education, Liberal Mindset

Politics

Budget Battle

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Cartoons


News and Opinions for a Friday!

Tyranny

State Government, Budget Battle, Education

Big Government, Corruption, EPA

Terrorism

Foreign Policy

Politics, Liberal Mindset

 Abortion

ObamaCareTax

Civil Discourse

Taxes

Second Amendment

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Small City Has A Big Government

Having a Party? Better Call City Hall 
"The Last Page", By Ken Graham
Waitsburg Times: registration required
Are you planning a little get-together with friends sometime this spring? If you live in Dayton, you may need to get permission from the city first.
City Council member Dain Nysoe is spearheading an effort to require city residents who are planning an event to submit a “Special Events Permit Application” first.

The draft application that was reviewed by members of the council’s public safety committee on Thursday (I got my grubby hands on a copy too) is 12 pages long, single spaced. It’s a lightly edited version of one used by the city of Ephrata, Wash.

(Near the top of Page 1 it actually says, “Don’t let the size of this packet intimidate you!” That made me feel better.) The thing is that nowhere in all its verbiage does the document specify what types of events will need a permit. So I guess we must assume that they all do – including your little back-yard barbeque.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to do before you throw your briquettes on the grill:

First of all, you’ll need to submit something called a fact sheet/timeline. A site map must also be submitted, showing locations of proposed parking, fences, stages, toilets and trash containers. And you’ll need to provide samples of advertising for the event. So you’d better cc the city on those invitation emails.

And call your agent, because you’re going to need liability insurance. $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate, to be precise. And don’t forget your health department permit. You’ll also need a temporary use permit, with application submitted to the city planning director at least 30 days prior to the event.

And the kicker is that you’re going to have to pay the city for their trouble on account of your little function. You may have to pay a “park and/or open space rental fee and damage deposit.” And here’s my favorite: you’ll have to pay for the cost of city staff “to ensure that park rules and the permit agreement are enforced.” So there.
 Fair Use prevents posting more  of the column,  but here's the conclusion:

Perhaps, to help minimize risk, a certain amount of documentation to the city for large events is in order.

But instead of borrowing a heavy-handed 12-page document used by a city three times Dayton’s size, and then not putting much more thought into it (like not bothering to define what constitutes an “event”), why not start with a blank slate? Determine what the problem is, and then take least amount of action needed to solve it.
 Sounds reasonable.  

Walla Walla City Council: 2 Lanes Are Better Than 4


 Several business owners say city plans to 
reconfigure the four-lane arterial is a bad idea.
WALLA WALLA — A handful of Rose Street business owners at Wednesday’s City Council meeting lambasted plans to remove two lanes of through traffic after a repaving and stoplight project is completed later this year.

The $2.2 million Rose Street reconfiguration from 13th Avenue to Myra Road was not on the Council’s meeting agenda. But that didn’t stop local business operator Tim Demitor, four other business owners and a home owner from saying they thought taking away driving lanes to add biking lanes was a bad idea.

“My big thing is that Rose is an industrial arterial. It is not a walk in the park,” Demitor said, adding that industrial rigs from businesses like Koncrete Industries and Ferrellgas rely on a steady flow of traffic provided by four lanes.

“It’s just basically a bad idea. Keep it four lanes. Repave it. Throw in a light and I would be happy,” Demitor said.

Council members last month argued over the plan to remove two driving lanes in exchange for a center turn lane and bike lanes on each side of the arterial.

The reconfiguration plan narrowly passed 3-2, with Council members Jerry Cummins and Mary Lou Jenkins voting against the configuration. Mayor Jim Barrow and Council members Barbara Clark and Chris Plucker voted for the lane reduction and addition of bike lanes.

Members Conrado Cavasos and Shane Laib were absent.
 Read the rest here.  Registration may be required, the Union-Bulletin allows for a limited number of free views per month.

A new feature from the State Legislature web site

Pilot Project for Commenting on Bills Online

E-Comments is a feature the Legislature is testing during the 2013 Session that lets you send comments on a bill to the members of the Legislature. The first time you comment, you will be asked to set up an account with your e-mail address and a password of your choice. To comment on a bill, you may:
  • Click the button below if you know the bill number, or
  • Look up a bill on the Bill Information page to get to a bill history page then click the link near the top of the page. 
Legislators and their staff will not be able to respond to individual comments. If you wish a response, contact your legislators directly by phone, e-mail, letter, or in person, or by calling the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000.

(Text borrowed from the State Legislative home page.)

Either Abide By It or Repeal It! (UPDATED)

Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in high-level, confidential talks about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges they are mandated to join as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, sources in both parties said.

…Yet if Capitol Hill leaders move forward with the plan, they risk being dubbed hypocrites by their political rivals and the American public. By removing themselves from a key Obamacare component, lawmakers and aides would be held to a different standard than the people who put them in office.
If this happens, aAll the members of Congress needs to be tarred and feathered for being as hypocrites for even considering this ..... after being run out of office.

If they are to be exempted because ObamaCare is a problem, THEN SHUT THE STUPID PROGRAM DOWN, so that all Americans aren't equally oppressed. Life can be that simple.

Write your Congressional delegation.

(Updated to reflect the true state of affairs)

Update II:

Thursday Cartoons


Thursday opinions and news

Tyranny

Agenda 21

Terrorism

Big Government, Corruption, Politics

It's The Economy

Legislation

Second Amendment

Foreign Policy

United Nations

State Government, Legislation

American Exceptionalism

Looking Ahead

Media

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bulletin from Representative Maureen Walsh



)

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are in the final week of session and I am committed to ending on time, April 28. There are very different budgets from the House and Senate, and those differences will need to be worked out before the constitutional deadline. 20130416_LegWA_1497ks

The Senate budget was introduced first and does not include any new taxes. It funds $1 billion more in targeted education funding, and protects the most vulnerable populations in our state, like our folks with developmental disabilities. It leaves $611 million in reserves and would decrease tuition for four-year universities by 3 percent. This budget proves that we can balance the budget within existing revenue, while protecting the most vulnerable and fully funding education.

The House Democrats’ budget followed the lead of our governor’s budget outline by increasing taxes by $1.3 billion. While the governor says ending tax exemptions is not the same as increasing taxes, the reality is people will pay more to state government at the end of the day. I was extremely disappointed the governor so quickly abandoned his promises to not raise taxes. The House Democrats’ original proposal would have made temporary taxes on beer permanent and expanded to them to microbreweries, as well as increased taxes on insurance agents and even janitorial services. All of those were recently removed from the tax package in the Finance Committee after a major public outcry. However, $905 million in tax increases are still moving forward – on everyone buying bottled water, to real estate agents, to architects, to our hometown primary care physicians and many, many more.

A hearing on House Bill 2038, which would implement these taxes, turned out hundreds who came to testify from all parts of the state about how the tax increases would impact them. Several realtors testified that the tax would hit them at a time when the housing market is still down. Another man who provides architecture services testified that the temporary business and occupation tax increase on his business that is set to expire but would be made permanent under the proposal is preventing him from hiring two to three more people. People who work at our state’s ports testified that a new tax on trade will prevent growth in trade. A man from a bottled water company testified that a sales tax on bottled water would cut his customer base while his costs continue to go up. The tax increase that I think would affect our district the most is charging a sales tax on our shoppers from Oregon. This will have a detrimental impact on our retailers on the border, as Oregon shoppers realize they can wait and use their discretionary income at home. This will have an unintended consequence of reducing revenues to the state, as retailers will have less sales.

It’s not too late to share your opinion of these budgets and the Democrats’ tax package – you can submit public comments online or call the Legislative Hotline toll-free at (800) 562-6000 and ask to share your comments with all of the House Democrats. The public has proven their input is heard and does make a difference.

It’s an honor to serve you.

Sincerely,

Maureen Walsh

Wednesday cartoons


Wednesday News

Tyranny

Media

United Nations

Education

Corruption, Foreign Policy

Terrorism

Bill of Rights

Abortion

Taxes

Agenda 21

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

$905 million in tax increases approved by House in Olympa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

April 23, 2013

CONTACT:

                                         
House Finance Committee approves $905 million in tax increases despite Republicans’ objections; Nealey votes ‘no’

Majority Democrats on the House Finance Committee this morning (Tuesday) rejected Republican amendments to prevent tax increases and then moved forward to pass House Bill 2038, a measure that would increase taxes by nearly $905 million. The vote was 8-5, with all Republicans voting against the tax measure, including Rep. Terry Nealey, who serves as ranking Republican of the House Finance Committee
 
“We’re in a downturn in the economy. What you’re attempting to do here is tax our way out of this recession. It just won’t work,” said Nealey, R-Dayton.
 
Nealey said extension of business and occupation (B&O) taxes to certain businesses would cost thousands of jobs in Washington.
 
“The multiplier effect is staggering against businesses’ bottom line. That’s because the B&O tax is a tax on gross income, not net.  So when companies make a large gross, but actually make only a little bit of money, this is a huge increase in taxes,” said Nealey. “This uses a butcher knife to these businesses instead of a scalpel, which would carve out what we think is fair and more equitable across the board. This picks winners and losers among our businesses. It’s not a good way to develop tax policy. I’m an adamant ‘no’ against this bill!”
 

Tuesday Cartoons


Tuesday news and opinions!

Tyranny

It's The Economy, Taxes

Big Government, EPA


ObamaCareTax

Terrorism

Liberal Mindset

Media

Looking Ahead

Corruption

Abortion

Second Amendment

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Monday Cartoons


    Monday News

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    First Amendment under attack by Washington State Attorney General

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Attorney General Bob Ferguson has sued a small business owner who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding ceremony.  Background information may be found at these links:
    If you want to help, here are some ways to do so:
    • Ask Mr. Ferguson to respect religious freedom and conscience rights and drop his lawsuit against Arlene's Flowers.  Call Attorney General Ferguson at 360-753-6200, then tell a friend and ask them to do the same.
    • Make a donation to Arlene's Flowers Legal Defense Fund. Contributions are not tax deductible.
    • Buy flowers from Arlene's, at 1177 Lee Blvd, Richland, WA 99352, phone (800) 692-0706

    Hall of Shame


    Details from ZDNet: CISPA passes U.S. House: Death of the Fourth Amendment?  Key quotes:

    A great deal of controversy has stirred around this Bill. Having amendments passed in a veil of secrecy did not help matters, either.
    ............
    The key provision of CISPA is that it allows government entities to acquire your data without a warrant, should a private company holding your data hand it over.
    ............
    As it stands, CISPA is dangerously vague, and should not allow for any expansion of government powers through a series of poorly worded definitions. If the drafters intend to give new powers to the government's already extensive capacity to examine your private information, they should propose clear and specific language so we can have a real debate.
    ............ 
    "The core problem is that CISPA allows too much sensitive information to be shared with too many people in the first place, including the National Security Agency," the privacy group said. In a statement today, it went further, calling the Bill "extreme."
    Members of the Washington Delegation whom voted for CISPA (H.R. 624, Internet regulation and loss of freedom):
    CISPA can still be killed in the Senate.  Contact your US Senators, and urge them to stop HR 624.  For
    Washington State:

    The Narrative, it is dying.....

    From Hot Air:  WaPo/ABC poll shows majority believes a gun makes a home safer

    The money quote:

    In order to convince people that (a) guns make them more dangerous, and (b) the intent wasn’t to take away guns that people feel make them safer, a certain level of finesse and empathy would be required.  Was that what the gun-control crowd employed on this latest fiasco?  Hardly.   From the President down to the grassroots and especially in the media, gun-rights defenders were vilified, mocked, and demonized, all while the gun-control crowd pushed an agenda that had little to do with the shooting and the victims they repeatedly invoked.  This wasn’t a sales job — it was a lecture, a months-long shout in the face of people who don’t think it’s the guns that commit the crimes.
     Do read the rest.

    One, Two, Three, .....

    What the hope-they're-white crowd really wishes for is a reason to treat their domestic political adversaries as enemies of the state.

    Saturday Cartoons


    Saturday opinons and news!

    Senator Hewitt's Eastsider's Report - April 19

    April 19, 2013                                   

    Dear Friends and Neighbors,

    We’re one week closer to the end of the 2013 regular legislative session, but at this point it’s tough to tell whether we’re closer to coming to agreement on a budget and associated policy bills. There’s still quite a bit up in the air with next Sunday’s adjournment date looming ever-closer.  At right is a magnolia tree that’s located next to the legislative building. It’s nicknamed the “sine die” tree because it tends to bloom each year as we’re adjourning sine die, which is a Latin expression meaning to adjourn without a date set to reconvene.

    I remain hopeful we’ll wrap up our work within 105 days – and before the sine die tree drops its blossoms – but it’s more important that we get things done right than done quickly. To me, getting it right means a sustainable budget that makes investments in education without relying on general tax increases. That will continue to be my focus.

    This week I’m checking in to provide an update on four of my bills that have made their way through the legislative process and are now waiting for the governor’s signature to pass into law. Before we get to that, I want to share an update on a group that made their way to Olympia this week.

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with leadership students from Mr. Plucker’s class at Pioneer Middle School in Walla Walla. They were an excellent group of young men and women; I was glad to be able to connect with them and answer some of their questions about state government. In addition to touring the Capitol, they also had the chance to meet with Governor Jay Inslee and Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

    As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback about any issue facing our state. If you have input on the budget negotiations or a pending policy bill, I want to hear it. Please feel free to contact me anytime via email or by calling me in Olympia at (360) 786-7630.

    Thank you for the continued opportunity to serve you in the state Senate.

    Sincerely,

    Sen. Mike Hewitt 

    Four of my bills approved by Legislature
    For a bill to pass into law, it has to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in identical form. To date, four of my bills have passed both chambers. One was amended by the House and the differences between the two versions will have to be ironed out before it can become law. The other three were not changed by the House, so they’re being delivered to the governor for his signature. Here’s a quick rundown of the four bills:
    • Senate Bill 5723 allows the state Gambling Commission to operate up to four enhanced raffles each year to support individuals with developmental disabilities through the Special Olympics
    • Senate Bill 5396 creates a license to allow retailers who participate in the responsible vendor program to provide samples of spirits in limited quantities
    • Senate Bill 5476 allows existing newspaper delivery jobs to be retained by continuing to classify delivery drivers as independent contractors
    • Senate Bill 5774 creates a pilot project at Walla Walla Community College to allow persons aged 19 or 20 and enrolled in a collegiate viniculture program to taste, but not consume, alcohol
    SB 5723 is the measure that was changed by the House. The change was a small, technical fix and once the Senate agrees with it, that bill will go to the governor as well. Barring gubernatorial veto, all of these bills will go into effect on July 28, which is 90 days after the conclusion of the regular legislative session.

    Higher taxes = fewer jobs
    For the past few weeks, you’ve heard my take on why it’s important that we don’t adopt the large-scale tax increases proposed by Democrats in the House of Representatives. As you‘ll recall, they have proposed increasing taxes by $1.3 billion in the next two years on bottled water, beer and just about every business in the state, among other entities (the full list of taxes can be found here). This week the Washington Policy Center, a non-partisan think tank, released a report on the effect the proposed taxes would have and the results were eye-opening.

    If the House Democrats’ tax package is enacted, almost 10,000 private-sector jobs in our state will be eliminated.

    That’s a staggering statistic and a good reminder of the impact decisions made in Olympia can have on the entire state. If you’d like to read the full report from the WPC, I’d encourage you to do so by clicking here. For my part, I will continue to oppose general tax increases on the people and businesses of Washington.

    GOAL Post #14

    GOAL Post 2013-14

    Legislative Update from Olympia, 19 April 2013

    HAPPY PATRIOTS DAY!
    BILLS MOVE, BILLS DIE
    GOAL POST DELAYED NEXT WEEK
    GUN CONTROL FAILS IN U.S. SENATE -- THIS TIME
    OBAMA VOWS TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT
    SEATTLE ANTI-GUN GROUP THREATENS INITIATIVE -- NEXT YEAR
    GRASSROOTS TRAINING EVENT 30 APRIL

    On a cool spring morning just outside Boston 238 years ago today, events were set in motion that would literally change the world.  Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson best summed it up in his Concord Hymn, the first stanza of which reads:

    By the rude bridge that arched the flood.
    Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
    Here once the embattled farmers stood,
    And fired the shot heard 'round the world.

    Written nearly a century after the incident, it's understandable that Emerson got a few of the details wrong.  It wasn't at the Old North Bridge in Concord that the first shot of the American Revolution was fired, it was six miles away in Lexington, along the road from Boston to Concord, where British (government) troops first encountered armed colonists.  The troops' mission was to seize stores of gunpowder and shot believed to be held in Concord.  But their first run-in came at tiny Lexington, where militiamen of the local "minute company" (militiamen  ready to respond on a minute's notice) stood guard on the village green.  The British commander reportedly ordered them to "Disperse, damn ye, ye rebels."  A single shot rang out, followed by a ragged volley.  The train was set in motion, motion that didn't end until 1783 and the Treaty of Paris.

    That first lone shot was probably fired by a nervous militiaman with his finger on the trigger (in violation of basic firearm safety rules), facing what was at the time the world's best army.  I would have been nervous, too.  But it serves as a reminder that little events can trigger(!) bigger things and lead us to something no one could have imagined on that sleepy April morning.

    As the remainder of this GOAL Post will show, this is the time to keep one's finger off of the trigger and keep using that pen, keyboard or cellphone to tickle our elected representatives and remind them of their duty.

    The legislature is winding down its 2013 regular session.  The second chamber cut-off (House bills out of the Senate, Senate bills out of the House) was two days ago, and now it's clean-up on the budget and either concurrence votes or conference committees on bills that were amended in the opposite chamber.

    HBs 1383 and 1612 and SB 5282 passed the Senate and House respectively, with amendments.  HB 1612 and SB 5282 await a concurrence vote in the chamber of origin or a conference.  Then on to the Governor if concurrence is given.  The House concurred in the Senate changes to HB 1383 and that bill is on its way to the Governor.  (Basically, the other side has to agree on the changes made before a bill can go to the Governor.)

    HB 1840 and SB 5452 appear to have died without a respective Senate and House floor vote, as did SB 5865.

    Given the historical number of gun bills filed in January, good and bad, we approach the end of the session with almost no forward motion for any of the bills.  Three passed out of 30+ filed.  Given hostile control of the House, that's a plus in my estimation, although you don't win wars fighting defense.

    The legislative session ends on Sunday, 28 April.  Rather than distribute a GOAL Post next Friday night, followed by a wrap-up a few days later, I'll just hold off of sending it out until Monday.  At that point the fat lady will have sung, the gavel will have come down, and there will be no surprises.

    The big news of the week is the action (or inaction) on S. 649 ("Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act"), Majority Leader Harry Reid's flagship background check/gun trafficking/school safety bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  A total of nine amendments were voted on for S. 649.

    Seven of the nine failed, including the Manchin-Toomey compromise background check substitute, the Grassley background check substitute, and amendments to ban assault weapons (Feinstein) and ban magazines (Lautenberg), along with pro-gun amendments to mandate nationwide recognition of CPLs and to ensure veterans receive due process before they are stripped of their gun rights.  Under the rules of the Senate, it took 60 votes to pass an amendment.  Most of the amendments offered fell 2-6 votes short of passage.  Encouraging was the fact that the amendment that fared the worst was Dianne Feinstein's assault weapon ban, receiving only 40 votes.  One Republican (Mark Kirk of Illinois) voted FOR the Feinstein amendment, 15 Democrats voted against it (of course Washington's two Senatrixes, Murray and Cantwell voted anti-gun every time).  About 5-6 Senate Democrats, mostly from western, southern or rural states, sides with Republicans to defeat the gun control amendments.

    Two amendments did pass Thursday, one that would cut some federal law enforcement grant money to any state that releases sensitive or confidential information on gun owners, and the second to fund additional mental health programs.

    Later on Thursday Reid pulled S. 649 from further consideration, likely killing the bill... for the present.  He has promised to bring it back to the floor when he has the votes to pass it.  The Wednesday/Thursday votes were just one battle; the war continues.

    President Obama held a televised temper tantrum shortly after Wednesday's votes on S. 649, calling the NRA's characterization of some of the bill's amendments "lies."  He vowed to continue pressure to promote his gun control agenda, through the use of executive orders where he could (an executive order cannot directly go against a vote of Congress).  Hell hath no fury like a president scorned....

    Other gun control fanatics, such as Vice President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and others, also lost it in their public criticism of the votes on S. 649.  Like the President, all vowed to do whatever it takes to attain their agenda.  There are reports of an advertising campaign planned in the states whose Democrat Senators voted on our side, to pressure the Senators to change their votes.

    The newest Seattle-based gun control group, the "Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility." is also making vows:  to run some form of gun control initiative NEXT year.  Look for the usual Seattleite fat-cats to pour money into the program, just as they did in 1997.  This time around, don't be surprised if Mayor Bloomberg kicks in a few million -- he just threw 12 million for broadcast advertising in selected states to push S. 649.  The mayor is a billionaire with money to burn.

    The discussion to date has been on background checks, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them overreach and throw in a few extra items from the gun grabbers' wish list.  And that will work to our advantage.   The more trash they put in there, the easier it is to pick apart and defeat.

    The Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Gun Owners Action League are joining with the Leadership Institute to conduct a grassroots training program at the Pierce County Library in Tacoma on Tuesday, 30 April.  The evening event will focus on several topics to include the legislative process, persuasive communications, traditional citizen (grassroots) lobbying and "new generation lobbying" -- employing social media and other new methods of outreach.

    Cost to attend is $10 and additional information may be obtained from Phil Watson, Special Projects Director at the Second Amendment Foundation, (425) 454-7012.  You may also register directly at https://www.leadershipinstitute.org/Training/register.cfm?ID=22877

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