SENT: Fri 1/11/2013 8:30 PM
SUBJECT: GOAL Post 2013-1
Legislative Update from Olympia 11 January 2013
- · WHAT IS GOAL POST?
- · LEGISLATURE CONVENES MONDAY, 14 JANUARY
- · LEGISLATIVE TUTORIAL
- · LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR
- · ANTI-GUN RALLY IN SEATTLE
- · PRO-GUN RALLY IN OLYMPIA
- · HB 1012 PRE-FILED TO LIMIT SELF DEFENSE
- · NO PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON FIREARMS
- · DEMOCRAT CAUCUS DIVIDED ON GUNS
- · LEGISLATOR DIRECT TELEPHONE NUMBERS
GOAL Post does NOT normally cover events in the other Washington, Washington, D.C. Given the Newtown, Connecticut, incident last month, we are facing a massive attack on the rights of gun owners all across the country. President Obama has convened a "select committee" of Vice President Biden and others to develop an "action plan" to "reduce gun violence." It's all the guns' fault, you know. I will likely publish individual alerts as the President's plan takes shape and moves.
The 63rd biennial Washington state legislature convenes Monday, January 14th for its long (105 day) session. The principal focus of the long legislative session is supposed to be the biennial budget, but rest assured several other topics, including firearms, will receive attention. The Democrats retained their slight majority in the 2012 election, so they continue nominal control of BOTH chambers (House and Senate), but a funny thing happened during the legislative organizing meeting in December.
The Senate is currently split 26 Democrats to 23 Republicans, giving Democrats a three seat advantage. In December 2012 they held a meeting to prepare for the 2013 session. This is where leadership is elected. Senators Rodney Tom (D-48-Medina) and Tim Sheldon (D-35-Potlatch) joined Republicans to give the GOP de facto control of the Senate. Senator Tom was elected Majority Leader and Senator Sheldon President-pro-tem. Republicans were also given chairmanships and control of several committees, including the major budgetary committees AND Senate Judiciary. Senator Mike Padden (R-4-Spokane Valley) will chair Senate Judiciary, and (presumably) Adam Kline (D-37-Rainier Valley) will be ranking member. Full committee rosters will not be published until the session begins.
Apparently Democrats have been discussing changing the rules just BEFORE the new legislature is sworn in, thus preventing the majority coalition from taking over the Senate. The DEMOCRATIC PARTY apparently doesn't like a democratic vote for leadership. Maybe they'd like to revisit the presidential election, too?
For those new to legislative affairs, here’s how the process works: When a bill is filed in the House or Senate (or both, simultaneously, called “companion bills”) it is assigned to a policy committee. Most gun-related bills go to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Senate. In the House it’s a little more complicated, as it may be sent to House Judiciary, House Public Safety, or House Juvenile Justice. Public hearings may be held, after which the bill may (or may not) be voted out of committee. If the bill has a fiscal impact (usually an expenditure of more than $50,000), it must then go to Senate Ways & Means or one of a couple of House fiscal committees. The bill then goes to the Senate or House Rules Committee, where it must be voted on to pass out to the floor for a full vote.
After a bill passes the Senate or House, it then goes over to the opposite chamber (House or Senate), where the whole process starts over again. If the bill passes the second chamber in the same form it passed the first, it goes to the governor for signature (or veto or partial veto). If changes are made in the second chamber, it goes back to the first for concurrence. It may also go to a conference committee from both chambers to resolve differences. The final version must pass both chambers.
The bill then goes to the Governor, who may sign it into law, veto (kill) the bill, or sign a partial veto (killing just selected section(s) of the bill). The governor may also allow a bill to become law without his (or her) signature. Most signed bills take effect on 1 July, although bills with an “emergency clause” (considered immediately necessary for public safety) take effect upon signature by the governor.
One of the first items of business in each session is the adoption of the session calendar, identifying dates by which bills must clear various hurdles. A bill that fails to clear the policy committee or chamber floor by the designated date is generally considered dead for the year, although they may be “resurrected” by parliamentary procedure. I’ll post the cut-off dates for the 2013 session in the next issue of GOAL Post.
Bills from the last session are dead. New bills must be filed for consideration by the 63nd Legislature, with new bill numbers.
Washington Ceasefire, with several church groups, will conduct a march in downtown Seattle at 1:30 on Sunday, 13 January, to demand a ban on semi-automatic firearms in Washington. (Semiautomatic rifles and shotguns are commonly used by hunters and target shooters all across the U.S., and semiautomatic handguns are the choice of a majority of Americans for personal protection and sport.) The march will start at Westlake Park and proceed to the Seattle Center. IF you decide to visit as a counter to this event, dress properly and mind your manners. Both Ceasefire and the Seattle media would love to see an "angry mob of gun toters" turn out to reinforce THEIR case.
On Saturday, 19 January, a PRO-GUN "Gun Appreciation Day" rally will be held in Olympia on the Capitol Campus in the "diagonal" area (open lawn west of Capitol Way S.) Further details will be published in a GOAL Alert in a few days.
In early December, legislators are allowed to "pre-file" bills for the upcoming session. Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23-Kitsap) filed HB 1012, a bill that would emasculate "stand-your-ground" (AKA no duty to retreat), requiring an individual to retreat from any threat before resorting to force in response. Unlike more than 20 states, Washington does not have a stand-your-ground statute -- it's the result of decades of court decisions, usually referred to as "black letter law" (i.e. judges effectively made and follow that practice).
Earlier this week Appleton announced she is pulling her bill after received angry telephone calls and e-mails -- and even threats -- from gun owners across Washington. That she received communications criticizing her bill I have no doubt. Threats? Did she report them to police?
There are NO gun-related bills scheduled for a public hearing the first week of the session. Weekly schedules are published on Wednesday evening for the following week, although changes may be made, supposedly with proper advance notification, but it doesn't always happen that way!
We still have a solid bloc of Democrat pro-gun Senators and Representatives who will vote on our side of the issue. This bloc will surely be put to the test in this session. The so-called "road kill" caucus, joining with Republicans on gun issues, is what has saved us in Olympia, so far. If you live in a rural or even suburban district with Democrat Representatives or a Democrat Senator, it is important that you call their office and express concern about your gun rights. Ask them to keep you informed of any gun-related legislation. This lets them know that you are watching them on this issue.
The Legislature has not yet published new telephone and office directories because legislators are not sworn in until Monday, 14 January. The following links can be used at that time to identify direct contact information:
All bills filed during the 2011-12 biennium are dead. The following bills have been pre-filed for the 2013-14 biennium:
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
HB 1012 Limits self-defense Appleton (D-23) H. Jud
Key to abbreviations: SB = Senate Bill, HB = House Bill, Jud = Judiciary, Fish/Ecol = Fisheries, Ecology & Parks, JuvJust = Juvenile Justice, Educ = Education, LocGov = Local Government, NatRes = Natural Resources, Ecology & Parks, PubSaf = Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, W&M = Ways and Means
GOAL POSITION ON BILLS
HB 1012 OPPOSE
LEGISLATIVE HOT LINE: You may reach your Representatives and Senator by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Toll free!!! The hearing impaired may obtain TDD access at 1-800-635-9993. Also toll free!!!
1-800-562-6000 TDD 1-800-635-9993
OTHER DATA: Copies of pending legislation (bills), legislative schedules and other information are available on the legislature's web site at "www.leg.wa.gov". Bills are available in Acrobat (.pdf) format. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe's web site (http://www.adobe.com). You may also obtain hard copy bills, initiatives, etc, in the mail from the Legislative Bill Room FREE OF CHARGE by calling 1-360-786-7573. Copies of bills may also be ordered toll free by calling the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000. You may also hear floor and committee hearing action live at http://www.tvw.org/ (you need "RealAudio" to do this, available free at the TVW web site).
By reading the House and Senate "bill reports" (hbr, sbr) for each bill, you can see how individual committee members voted. By reading the "roll call" for each bill, you can see how the entire House or Senate voted on any bill. The beauty of the web site is that ALL this information is available, on line, to any citizen.
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Upcoming WAC gun show(s):
Monroe 12-13 January
Puyallup 19-20 February
"The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."
Article 1, Section 24
Constitution of the State of Washington
Copyright 2013 Gun Owners Action League of WA