Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After nine days of intense floor action, we passed another important session deadline: house of origin cutoff. At more than midway through the session, the House has passed 351 bills, and the Senate 321. We've had a couple wins by knocking down some bad bills and preventing them from reaching the House floor. Unfortunately, others managed to get through. Let's start with the worst of the bunch, the low carbon fuel standard.
Low carbon fuel standard (LCFS)
House Bill 1110 is a terrible bill. It comes from the governor's new clean energy package. Basically, it changes the mix of our vehicle fuel to add more bio-diesel and other non-carbon emitting sources. It's one of the most expensive, least effective approaches to carbon pollution reduction out there. It's also regressive, hitting the working poor hardest. Prices at the pump may increase as much 6 to 30 cents per gallon.
The state Senate's transportation package also includes a low carbon fuel standard measure. If the Senate's version is approved, House Bill 1110 would be somewhat duplicative and therefore phased out. Here's the problem—it's all bad. The so-called progressives from the Puget area are pushing their agenda on those who can afford it the least. I don't support the LCFS or its twin in the Senate's transportation package.
There is no concept in Olympia abused more than “school safety.” A lot of legislators use the term to push their pet projects that really have nothing to do with keeping our students safe. This session, we ran a number of bills that would actually take practical steps towards making schools safer including hardening K-12 campuses and providing trained, on-site incident response on every school campus. These common-sense solutions didn't get very far. Instead, they approved House Bill 1216, an education bureaucracy bill that sets up committees and offices to review possible safety measures. It doesn't do much to increase school safety, but it sure sounds good.
Senate Bill 5395, the latest K-12 sex education bill, is another bureaucratic pyramid scheme that takes away local school board authority and gives it to OSPI. Removing community representation in education is wrong. Administrative control needs to remain with locally elected school boards. These bureaucratic, office space filling bills signal virtue but don't do much to help students.
The train-wreck before socialized medicine
There is no putting lipstick on this pig. House Bill 1523 is bad, really bad. It claims to expand access to health coverage. In reality, it does nothing to help people who need it. The bill creates standardized public health care options. Payments to doctors and other health care providers would be restricted to Medicare-level limits. Here's the problem: having an insurance card doesn't guarantee access to quality health care. More people will have an insurance card, but due to cost restrictions—fewer doctors will accept them.
On the House floor, I called it “the train wreck before socialized medicine.” If the system can be brought to the breaking point, it creates the illusion there is no alternative but to turn to a government-funded, single-payer health care system. Socialized medicine—as many of us know already—has no good outcomes.
I'm hosting a telephone town hall next week. Join me for a discussion on these bills and other public policy topics. Constituents can call-in and contribute their thoughts and comments with the touch of a button. You can join the discussion by calling (360) 209-6592 anytime between 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.
If you have any questions or concerns about the information in this update or other events at the state Capitol, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia.