Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This past week was unbelievably busy. I've asked around and even long-time Olympia legislators and staff say the pace of the first few weeks of this session has been crazy! Here are just a few of the people and organizations that visited me this week:
Wheat Growers; Onion Growers; Tree Fruit Growers; Horticulture group; Tri-Cities Council; Dairy Farmers; Firefighters; Restaurant owners; Realtors; Dental workers, and Potato Growers (Potato Day is a huge hit at the Capitol. They bring over 2,000 baked potatoes with all the fixings! On Dairy Day, which was also this week, they bring yogurt and ice cream!)
Most of these were people from our district; community members that have issues important to them and their livelihoods. It may be a bill they're interested in promoting, or perhaps a bill they're against. They all bring something to the table and help inform me of how state government affects them.
With significant Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and with an aggressive state Attorney General and a governor perhaps running for President, we're seeing more gun bills than ever before. There are bills to ban certain features on guns (they call this the “assault weapon” ban), bills to limit the number of rounds you can use to defend yourself, and bills to eliminate state preemption, meaning we could have different gun laws from one town or city to the next.
All of these bills have the potential to deeply affect us as a society and personally. I encourage you to stay active and stay engaged on this issue. I have always believed fervently in the state and national constitutions and will fight for the liberties and freedoms they each guarantee.
We have created a website that has all the House gun bills and will update it throughout session. You can access that here.
The studded tire issue is up for consideration once again. While we know studded tires cause more damage to our roads, the question remains: is it a price worth paying for the potential safety and security of our drivers?
There is much debate over whether or not studded tires really help add traction. But in our area, we deal with extremely icy conditions, as well as rolling hills with curves and tight switchbacks. At this point, I'm not willing to deny the option of studded tires if some of our citizens feel more comfortable driving with them during the winter. The argument of “make them pay more” for the potential damage they cause to the roadways is a slippery slope. Should we make Puget Sound drivers stuck idling in traffic “pay more” for the damage they are doing to our environment?
For now, I think studded tires should remain an option. Their use is declining and perhaps one day soon, the industry will provide a product, and enough education about that product, to justify eliminating them altogether. Until that time, though, we need to allow drivers to use the tires that make our drivers, especially our elderly ones, feel comfortable and safe.
Thank you for reading my email update and staying informed. If you have any questions about state government or legislation, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm in your service.