Opinion: 2023 legislative session and citizen activism

Nancy Churchill offers a recap of the recently completed session of the Washington State Legislature

Nancy Churchill
Dangerous Rhetoric

You are probably aware by now that I believe in the power of citizen activism. I try to understand how our government works, connect with elected officials and work to promote the issues and values that I believe will help create a better life for everyone in our community and state.

Nancy Churchill
Nancy Churchill

My focus is on educating everyday people about tracking proposed legislation and providing testimony to the legislators — either pro or con. The legislators are not experts in all subjects. They’re everyday people just like you and me, and they are eager to learn more about how a bill will impact us. Showing up to testify during the session is important.

The 2023 session ended Sunday, April 23. Because radical, Marxist Democrats hold the majority in both houses of the Legislature, a lot of bad bills were passed into law. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership would not budge on bills that were on their agenda, no matter how much they heard from the public. Bill subjects included removing gun ownership rights, removing election transparency, ending tax advisory votes and legally hiding children from their families. The session also highlighted the Democrats’ stubborn refusal to fix problems with laws that concern public safety, auto theft and drug trafficking.

It’s easy to become discouraged in the face of all these really bad new laws that punish the law abiding and empower the lawless. However, I have hope. I believe that citizen activists are beginning to turn the tide and are having a growing impact in our society and at the legislature.

Citizens are getting involved

What’s your hot-button issue? Property rights? Gun rights? Parents rights? Taxation? Are you concerned about education, energy policy, public lands, agriculture or small businesses? No matter what you’re thinking about, there is a group of people just like you who are equally concerned. Do some research and join a group of like- minded people that are focused on impacting your issue. When we work together, our efforts multiply exponentially.

One group I follow recapped their successes this session on the bills it opposed. The results were encouraging. The group sent emails on 92 different bills during the last session, and on 18 bills they sent more than one notice. Out of that group, 26 bills were passed (the Democrats’ top priorities) and 63 were stopped somewhere in the committee hearing process.

That’s a powerful impact for a small group of dedicated citizens. This group has about five active members doing research, testifying in person and sending emails. What a difference five people can make! And they’re only one group of many!

Study the past and prepare for the future

In Washington’s two-year legislative cycle, bills filed in the first year but not passed can be brought to the body the next year. We have about nine months to study these bills and prepare teams of activists to stand against the most harmful of these. Working with each other and in cooperation with friendly representatives we can win some of these fights.

Here are a few important bills that were STOPPED in committee this year which you need to be aware of for next session. You can find the details about each bill at app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo. Just type in the bill number and hit return.

  • Climate change bills: HB 1789 Expand revenue from climate change solutions. HB 1723/SB 5651 Environmental Justice in the Growth Management Act. HB 1589/5562 Clean energy transition (the green new deal). HB 1282 Environmental reporting for new construction.
  • For health care issues: HB 1785 COVID as an occupational disease. SB 5767 Funding health care access by imposing an excise tax on the annual compensation paid to hospital administrators.
  • Rental Housing Bills: HB 1388 Prohibiting “excessive” rent & limits fees. HB 1389 Rent control.
  • Police: HB 1025 Allows legal actions against law enforcement for violating the Constitution. HB 1445 Allows legal actions against law enforcement. HB 1513 Places limits on officer discretion for traffic stops.
  • Tax Bills: SB 5770/HB 1670 Property tax rate increase from 1% to 3%. HB 1832 Road usage charge. HB 1793 Taxes on wireless devices for digital equity. HB 1045 Basic Income Program. HB 1743/SB 5486 1% Wealth Tax. SB 5309 Transportation fuel tax.
  • Weaponization Of Government: HB 1333 Establishing the domestic violent extremism commission. SB 5427 creates a process to accuse opposition voices of hate crimes.
  • Bills requesting action from the federal government and/or Congress: SJM 8006 Universal health care. SJM 8000 Regulation of campaign contributions.

If you have had enough of the troubling and destructive Democratic leadership of our state and are ready to work for change please reach out to me. Let me know your most important issue, and I’ll help you find your activist niche group. You’re not alone. It’s time to take action and get involved.

Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own.

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