Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2013 legislative session is off and running. I want to thank you once again for the honor of serving you in the House of Representatives. The faith and trust you place in me to put your interests and opinions at the forefront of my decision making is quite humbling to me and a privilege I don't take for granted.
As in year's past, I will use various means to keep you informed on the issues going on in Olympia. Please feel free to pass this e-newsletter along to friends and family.
The first week of session, I introduced three amendments to the Washington State Constitution:
- House Joint Resolution 4200 – recognizing hydro power as renewable energy. It's time to stop playing politics with hydro power and allow our citizens to benefit from this abundant, RENEWABLE resource.
- House Joint Resolution 4201 – requiring a two-thirds legislative vote for tax increases. The voters have approved this concept six times in the last 20 years. Last year, I-1185 passed in every county in the state and in 44 of 49 legislative districts. Here in the 8th District, it passed with 73 percent!
- House Joint Resolution 4202 – requiring a balanced state budget. Now is the time to put this requirement into the state constitution – BEFORE law makers in Olympia become tempted to rely on “credit card” budgeting to fix our current $900 million budget hole.
For more information on these bills, you can read my press release here.
Implementing new rules for the House
I joined with my House Republican colleagues in an effort to amend the rules that we follow in the House of Representatives. We proposed four new rules last week:
- Require a two-thirds vote of the House in order for any tax increase legislation to pass. As I mentioned before, the public supports this concept in overwhelming numbers.
- Allow each House member a public hearing on one of their bills. Each legislator represents around 137,000 people. We would have more bipartisanship and new ideas if each member were allowed to bring an issue to the table for discussion.
- Require that education be funded first – before any other appropriation is made – in a separate, stand-alone budget. If education is our paramount duty – and it is – let's treat it as such and not hold it hostage to potential tax increases.
- Allow citizens to testify first and for a longer period of time when testifying in committees. We continually hear from the same people in Olympia – lobbyists, agencies, associations, unions, etc. Sometimes, the public – the very ones we're supposed to represent – don't get enough time to testify! We should give citizen testimony preference, especially for those who have to take time off of work and drive hundreds of miles in order to exercise their right to talk to their elected officials.
While the first three were rejected outright by the House majority party, I'm extremely pleased that House Democrats adopted our last proposal to give citizen testimony preference in committee. While some media outlets on the Westside were calling it a “win” for the House Republican Caucus, it's really a “win” for the public – for the taxpayers!
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 KONA) that discusses current issues of the 8th 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/larry-haler. 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.
- Video updates – Every two weeks, I record a new legislative video update with the latest news from the Legislature. You can view my reports here on YouTube.
- 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/larry-haler.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. And please contact my Olympia office with your thoughts and concerns about state government. It is an honor to serve you.