Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. I know the majority of you lead very busy lives so I am honored that you would take a few minutes out of your day to see what your local state representative has to say. For that, and for being an involved constituency who's always willing to give input on ideas and propose common-sense solutions, I thank you!
Bills I'm Sponsoring
House Bill 1478 – Moratorium on state agency rulemaking. Here's what the first section of the bill says:
“The legislature finds that Washington families, workers, and employers continue to struggle to make ends meet. As families and employers have streamlined their budgets and services, so should state government. Government continues to increase the burden on citizens and employers through perpetual alteration and expansion of rules. During 2012, an estimated 1,129 new sections to the Washington Administrative Code were permanently adopted, 2,211 sections were permanently amended, 393 emergency rule filings were made, and 961 sections were permanently repealed. A total of 5,511 pages of permanent rule changes were made and 2,398 pages of emergency rules were adopted.
“The constant changing of rules provides uncertainty to citizens and employers and adds additional costs to taxpayers as agencies hold public meetings and telephone conferences, and employees spend thousands of hours working on drafts for rules. Furthermore, continual proposal of new rules distracts employers from being productive in their respective businesses due to a need to comment on these proposed rules, and to change their policies, procedures, tools, and equipment to implement the rules once they are adopted. Most agencies do not track the number of hours employees spend on rulemaking nor do they track the cost to the agency to do this task. One way to reduce millions of dollars in employee and administrative costs is to impose a moratorium on formal and informal rulemaking by state agencies except in certain specified instances. This moratorium is to last for three years or until the state is no longer facing financial deficits.”
Simply put, we have too many rules and regulations already and the increasing pace of new rulemaking causes uncertainty for employers – the very ones that will continue to lead our state and local economies out of the financial recession. Former Governor Chris Gregoire adopted my idea for a short while, but there were too many “emergency” loopholes and in the end, her executive order did little to actually slow down the rulemaking process and bring some regulator relief to our employers. All the rules mentioned above were written while her rulemaking moratorium was in place!
House Bill 1427 – Addressing the evasion of taxes by the use of electronic means. This bill is an effort to crack down on so-called “zapper” technology where a vendor plugs in a USB device to their cash register machine in order to “erase” the digital record of certain transactions – transactions that require state and local sales taxes to be paid. Tax evasion by illegal means continues to be a problem throughout the state. We need to keep up with current technology in order to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules. It's not fair or equitable for the honest businesses out there if we allow the dishonest ones to continue to operate and thrive with little or no consequences for their illegal activity.
This bill had a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on Friday, Feb. 1 at 8:00 a.m.
House Bill 1397 – Adding a requirement to sexual health education to include elements of and consequences for conviction of sexual offenses where the victim is a minor. This bill simply says that if a school teaches sex education, the curriculum must include information on sexual offenses against minors. We've made our children aware of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies, but they also need to be aware of the legal ramifications that can change their lives forever.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Education Committee on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8:00 a.m.
House Bill 1388 – Increasing penalties for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. Currently, our sentencing laws for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault when a DUI is involved are sorely lacking. This bill would add severe penalties to vehicular homicide and assault with a DUI. It has a public hearing on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 10:00 a.m. in the House Public Safety Committee.
The Second Amendment
I have heard from literally hundreds of you via e-mail and phone calls to my office on the issue of gun control. I want you to know that I am opposed to gun control as well. The problem that leads to mass shootings is the lack of respect for human life and the lack of respect for the laws protecting human life — not the gun, not the ammunition, not the size of the clip. I believe we need to focus more of our attention on enforcing current laws not creating more. Let's prosecute those who are committing crimes with guns rather than to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.
In this day and age in which technology and communication are an integral part of our daily lives, I encourage you to take advantage of the many ways to get connected to information about your Washington State Legislature. Here are some very important links to keep you informed:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
- Capitol Report – You can get all of the Washington House Republican Capitol Report programs on your iPhone and iPad through the iTunes store by clicking here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/capitol-report-washington/id579017734.
- Check out my Web site – This year, I have a new Web site: houserepublicans.wa.gov/ed-orcutt. From this link, you can view get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- Video updates – Every two weeks, I record a new legislative video update with the latest news from the Legislature. You can view my reports here on YouTube.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts records floor and committee action and broadcasts live or via podcast. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
- Legislature's Web site – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
Please share this e-newsletter with everyone you know and encourage them to sign up for it from my Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/ed-orcutt.
Thank you for giving me the privilege and opportunity of serving you in Olympia.