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
The following firearm-related bills remain under consideration in the 2013 session
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
SHB 1383 Stalking protection orders Goodman (D-45) To Governor
SHB 1612 Firearm offender registry Hope (R-44) Passed Senate
SHB 1840 Firearms/restraining orders Goodman (D-45) Died S. Rules
SSB 5282 DSHS/WSP info exchange Carrell (R-28) Passed House
SSB 5452 Stalking protection orders Conway (D-29) Died H.Rules
SB 5865 Use tax exemption for non-profits Roach (R-31) Died S. Rules
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 NEUTRAL
HB 1612 CONCERNS
SB 5282 SUPPORT
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 27-28 April
Monroe 4-5 May
"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