Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This has been a very busy week. I had the opportunity to speak to Greater Spokane Incorporated about health care issues and met with several public school employees from the 9th District. It's always a pleasure to have folks from home come to Olympia. I love to hear your thoughts and opinions on issues. We may not always agree on everything – but my door is always – ALWAYS – open!
I am once again joining my House Republican colleagues in supporting a proposal to Fund Education First. As the state Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed in the McCleary decision, educating our students is our state's number priority: it's paramount duty. I believe we don't just need to throw more money at education (although more funding will undoubtedly be required by the court) but we need to fund it first in a separate, stand-alone budget. At present, our education funding gets lumped into all the other state expenditures, so education is constantly competing with other programs. We must prioritize our spending. We must finally admit that the dollar we spend on education (and, for that matter, the truly vulnerable among us like seniors and our developmentally disabled community) truly has more value – more weight – than the dollar we spend on paid family leave or buying more private land for an environmental buffer zone. Until we come to that realization, education will continue to receive our state's last dime instead of our first dollar.
If you want more information on our proposal, you can read what our ranking members on the House Education and the House Appropriations committees says by clicking here.
The Second Amendment
Many of you have contacted my office to ask about guns. I know this is an emotional and sensitive subject for many but I feel it is imperative that you know where I stand on this sometimes-controversial issue. While tragic, the recent shootings in our nation should not serve as the impetus for the continuing degradation of our “inalienable rights.” A lot more people much smarter than I have debated this topic for years – and will continue to do so. But I swore an oath to “uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and the Constitution and laws of the State of Washington.” And in my heart of hearts I believe that standing up for our Second Amendment rights is the right thing to do.
This year, I am a cosponsor of the Washington State Firearms Freedom Act (House Bill 1371) which basically says that Washington state is not going to enforce – or allow the federal government to enforce – laws that violate our Constitution and our Second Amendment rights.
Yup. We've got 'em here in our district, folks. Those of you raising livestock throughout the 9th District know full well. I'm a cosponsor on House Bill 1191 which would give landowners and livestock owners another tool in trying to deal with wolves. The bill allows you to pursue a wolf (or other predator) onto public land in order to kill the animal to keep it from being habituated to killing livestock. We have to keep the predators from thinking that our livestock are “easy meals.” This bill is another “tool in the toolbox” for folks to do what they have to do in order to protect their livestock and their land.
Another bill I cosponsored is House Bill 1258. This bill recognizes that although Western Washington seems to have a lot of wolf supporters, they are sorely lacking in having any of the rich benefits of having wolves in their backyards with their livestock, pets and children. The bill would allow for some wolf relocation to happen West of the mountains if they so desire. As I said on the radio this week: “I know Western Washington is trying to bring back the Mazama pocket gopher – perhaps we could trade them 50 pocket gophers for maybe five wolves? Get sort of a pocket gopher/wolf exchange program going.”
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 – A three-minute weekly radio program (aired on KZBG in Clarkston and KHTR/KQQQ in Pullman) that discusses current issues of the 9th District and the state. Click here to sign up for my RSS podcast. You can also 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/joe-schmick. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. 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/joe-schmick.
Thanks for keeping in touch and being involved. It is an honor serving you in the Legislature.