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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
When Gov. Jay Inslee's cap-and-trade scheme passed the Legislature in 2021, he and many of the Democrat lawmakers who backed his plan reassured the farming community that fuels used in the production and transportation of farm products would be exempt. This assurance was even written into the law.
The Department of Ecology (DOE) was tasked with creating rules that would ensure the farming community's exemption from any fuel surcharges resulting from the cap-and-trade law.
However, we're now finding out that didn't happen. Farmers – and certain marine and aviation fuel users – around Washington state are being levied a fuel surcharge for fuel that should be exempt. I think the state should pay them back. The state made a promise. The state failed. The state should be on the hook, not our agriculture folks.
I've introduced House Bill 1780 which would require DOE to create a remittance program for those whose fuel use is exempt under the cap-and-trade program. Qualified recipients would receive reimbursement at least on a monthly basis.
I encourage you to click here to leave a comment on this bill if you agree with my assessment. The bill has not yet had a public hearing. I've requested one and I've even requested it go straight to the fiscal committee, bypassing the policy committee, as this is an urgent matter for our farmers. Your assistance could help us get a public hearing on this important bill.
You can read some media stories on this issue here and here and here. And my radio release on this issue here.
Rural pharmacies to suffer under new Kaiser Permanente rule
Last summer, the Public Employee Benefit Board (PEBB) and the School Employee Benefit Board (SEBB) voted to allow Kaiser Permanente (KP) to proceed with new rural pharmacy rules. I don't think the PEBB or the SEBB knew what the repercussions would be for rural Washington residents.
As of Jan. 1, 2023, KP is requiring all prescription refills to be done either through the mail or by a KP pharmacy. For many rural residents in eastern and southeast Washington, that means the one in Spokane which could be an hour or more drive away – in good weather!
Mandating prescription refills through the mail also fails when it comes to life-saving medications like insulin. For type-1 diabetics, insulin is not an option: they get their insulin, or they die. With potential weather delays, shipping or trucking issues, or understaffing issues, the post office is an unreliable way to get life-saving medications.
I want you, the consumer, to have a choice. I am a cosponsor of House Bill 1253 which, among many other things, will require insurance plans to offer a choice to the consumer. If you agree with me, please click here to leave a comment on this bill. We need to put pressure on legislators and KP to do the right thing, either through new rules or via new legislation.
Thank you for your assistance with these proposals and for staying involved. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.
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