Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week was a busy one as we approach our policy committee cutoff. Next Friday, Jan. 20, is the last day House bills can be heard in the House policy committees. As such, the policy committee agendas are very full as we try to get as much done as possible in the next week.
As the ranking Republican on the House Health Care Committee, and as someone who believes in parental rights, I had several media requests to address House Bill 2009, which would eliminate the parental right exemption when dealing with child immunizations. Currently a child can be exempted from immunizations based on doctor's orders, religious beliefs, or parental decision. I believe we should all take advantage of immunizations and believe strongly in them. However, I get concerned when the state wants to reduce or eliminate the rights of parents. I believe informed parents will make the right – the BEST – decisions for their children. I can't support a law that seeks to take those rights away.
To watch my interview on this issue with KING 5 TV, click here. I was also interviewed this morning by TVW, but that story has yet to air.
Many of you have contacted me saying you wished you could participate in the survey I did during my recent telephone town hall meeting. Well, now's your chance! All you have to do is click here to take an online survey – the exact same questions that I asked during my telephone town hall. If you like this online survey feature, let me know. I'll include more opportunities to let your collective and individual voices be heard in future e-newsletters.
In a previous e-newsletter, I asked for your opinions on a few bills that impact employers and employees around our state. We had a great response with folks expressing their thoughts both for and against these proposals. Here are just a few examples of those:
House Bill 1314, requested by the governor, would implement a new carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“I support clean energy for the future of my child and grandchildren.” – Monika from Clarkston
“Looks like a tax to drive business out of Washington.” – Daniel from Cheney
“Climate change has taken place for millions of years and will continue to do so… sometimes a little faster, sometimes a little slower. Taxing carbon by the State of Washington will not affect the process. It is only a ploy by Inslee to transfer income to State Government. I hope he fails.” – Curtis from Pasco
(NOTE: Members of the House Environment Committee where the governor's proposal was heard this week, tried to make this bill better with some amendments – less costly for employers and working families. For a quick summary of their efforts, click here to watch a short video.)
House Bill 1484, also requested by the governor, would establish a 7 percent state capital gains tax (a tax on investment earnings above a certain level).
“…absolute abhorrent!!! You are in for a fight against the Dems and this tax-and-spend governor. I thought he promised no new taxes? What a joke! Some of us are just barely making it.” – Linda from Pasco
“We have turned down income tax proposals before and this one should be DOA.” – Eugene from Lewiston
“First, I appreciate getting your email updates of what is going on in Olympia. Based on the House Bills you listed in your Olympia update dated 1/30/15, I have to wonder; What in the world are the House members smoking (oh that's right marijane is legal in WA now).” – Jerry from Garfield
House Bill 1355 would raise the state minimum wage to $12/hour over four years.
“A Minimum wage needs to reflect the inflated value of money. The federal reserve continues to print more money which drives down the value of our wages.” – Virginia from Spokane
“Minimum wage was never intended to be a living wage. It is a training wage because it cost the employer time and money to train someone. It also encourages them to develop more and better skills as to work in jobs that do pay better. Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the country. Setting a mandatory minimum wage doesn't let capitalism do it's wonderful work of setting the minimum and maximums according to demand.” – Dean from Whitman County
House Bill 1356 would require different levels of sick leave accrual depending on the size of business and hours worked.
“Anyone who works full time should be able to support themselves and take time off when they are sick. When workers are paid enough to be able to support themselves, the entire economy does better.” – Ada (no location given)
“Don't force businesses to jump through more government hoops in order to produce real wealth with their form of producing goods and services. The result will be a reduction of goods and services becoming available to all of us. Fewer jobs, higher prices and more government paying people not to work.” – Curtis from Pasco
As always, thank you so much for reading my e-newsletter and for staying involved. I realize that with so many differing views and opinions we're not going to agree on every issue. My goal has always been to listen to you and work as hard as I can to represent you in Olympia and keep you informed. Have a great weekend, everybody!