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The nanny state is one of the most disturbing trends in government. It includes the laws, regulations, and bureaucracies that seek to dictate how we live, raise our families, and even manage our health care.

Here’s the premise: the government needs to protect you from yourself. This brand of paternalism involves what policymakers think our best interests are (or should be). It’s the government at its most arrogant.

Should the government tell you how to live your life?

In our state and nation, we are supposed to operate the opposite way. Instead of the government telling us how to live, we were constitutionally designed to be a grassroots, bottom-up system, where the people tell the state what’s good for the people.

We need to get back to that.

Unfortunately, dozens of nanny-type propositions are implemented through law or regulation each year. Recent examples include a current proposal to change the state law allowing school-vaccination exemptions for children. Under House Bill 1638, parents would be forced to provide proof their child has been immunized. Another recently approved a proposal, House Bill 1012, seeks to increase the already stringent Washington state laws regarding the use of car seats.

Watch my floor speech regarding House Bill 1012 here.

Please understand, I’m not against vaccinations or appropriate child safety restraints in cars. My wife and I raised five children, all of whom were immunized and put in child safety seats or boosters. What I’m against is the incremental creep of instructions and standards telling citizens how to live their everyday lives.

New regulations for child-care providers

In recent news, child care centers across the state are scrambling to increase their score on Early Achievers, the state’s rating system for daycare centers. The better the score, the more subsidies.

Why the sudden concern over cash-flow? In August of this year, substantial changes to regulations by the state’s Department of Early Learning—now part of the Department of Children Youth and Families—will require many childcare workers to return to school. Employees and providers at daycare centers across the state will need to obtain new certifications, some equivalent to 20 or more college credits.

With the average child-care bill already hovering around $650-$1,000 per month, the financial impact of the new regulations may force costs to go even higher.

Erin Hart, superintendent at Three Rivers Christian School in Longview said that although they’ve decided to push back against these requirements… taking the subsidy is actually a losing proposition… as it doesn’t even fully cover the cost of education.”She went on to note that many of the families they serve “are single mothers or dual-income families below the poverty level.”

Although the Early Achievers program was a good idea originally, it has morphed into a scheme for putting private child care centers out of business.

Read: Child care costs may skyrocket under new licensing standards (The Daily News)

What do these things have in common? Each of the examples I’ve shared includes the common presumption of many progressive far-left moralists that politicians and bureaucrats could manage our lives better than we could. Although none of these intrusions alone should cause you to dust off your musket and head to Lexington or Concord, they are arguably a slippery slope of dangerous encroachments on individual liberty.

My office door is always open

If you have any questions or concerns about the bills in this update or other state government-related matters, please feel free to contact me. I would love the opportunity to visit with you.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your state representative.


Jim Walsh

State Representative Jim Walsh, 19th Legislative District
428 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7806 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000