Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now on day 22 of the scheduled 105-day session. After weeks of ceremonies and work sessions, action is ramping up. I will be sending out e-mail updates, like this one, to inform you of what I am doing on your behalf. While in Olympia the needs of the people back home are always at the forefront of my mind. These e-mails will include highlights of what is happening at the Capitol and insight on pending legislation.
Please feel free to pass along this e-mail to others you think would be interested; they can sign up by clicking here. I will also be communicating with you via video updates. You will be able to view these videos on our local television stations, the House Republicans YouTube channel and my new Web site at houserepublicans.wa.gov/buys.
Abortion to be included in your health insurance costs
This week legislation was introduced that would require you to pay more for health insurance and support abortion.
The bill requires all private, state-regulated health plans to provide coverage for abortions if the plan provides maternity coverage. Under Obamacare, all health plans are required to provide maternity coverage; therefore, if this bill passes, all plans will be required to cover abortions.
Not only would this law take more money from hardworking taxpayers, it's also a direct attack on religious liberty and freedom. I oppose this legislation and will be working to stop its passage.
I urge you to contact the Health Care and Wellness Committee and tell them you do not want to be forced to fund health insurance coverage for abortions. Without your help this legislation has a very real chance of becoming law.
The bill is: House Bill 1044. Call or email the chair of this committee, Rep. Eileen Cody and ask her not to move this forward:
Legislation to benefit our district
I believe it's important to be judicious in the legislation I sponsor, and as such I have introduced less than a handful bills. One of these bills would directly benefit our communities by increasing flexibility in water usage. House Bill 1438 is scheduled for a hearing on February 7. I will be testifying alongside farmers from our district. I urge you to watch the hearing on TVW.
Another bill I have sponsored would help keep our local fair operating – and help fairs across the state so they can continue to prepare kids for the future. Fairs are an important and traditional part of the 4-H experience for kids. House Bill 1550 would eliminate the disparity in property tax treatment between county fairs and nonprofit fair associations. This bill has strong bi-partisan support and I'm optimistic it will be scheduled for a hearing soon.
New rules for the people
On February 1, the House of Representatives adopted the permanent House Rules for how the body will operate. It is standard protocol and is usually done quickly and quietly. However, this year, House Republicans offered four amendments to those rules. We aimed to show the majority that we are here to fight for the people of Washington, not just continue with business as usual for another two years. While only one of the rules was adopted, Republicans did have their voice heard – and thereby your voice was heard.
The rules we proposed would have:
- Placed the 2/3's initiative – which the voters passed with more than 60 percent of the vote statewide – into statute. This means that you would no longer have been under the annual threat of new taxes. The rule failed on a party-line vote; nobody in the majority voted to uphold the will of the people.
- Funded our children's education first, with a separate budget. We called for the Legislature to respect the state constitution and treat education as “the paramount duty” the State Supreme Court instructed. None of the majority voted to make our children's education the priority so the rule didn't pass.
- Ensured that each legislator received a public hearing on at least one of their bills. Each legislator represents a district of approximately 137,000 people. This would demonstrate a willingness to represent and listen to concerns from communities across the state. The majority party did not support your legislator having at least one opportunity to represent you.
- Prioritized citizen testimony in committees. We asked for those who take the time to travel to Olympia to be given priority over lobbyists and Olympia insiders. House Republicans feel that we must make our process accessible to the people. Thankfully the majority listened to our common-sense approach and chose to uphold this rule. We fought for you and now you will be heard.
I will continue to work on these issues and many more. If there is any element of state government that I can help you with, my door is always open. I am here to be a resource for you. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (360) 786-7854, or e-mail me at Vincent.Buys@leg.wa.gov. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your voice in Olympia.