Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

Two bad bills signed into law

Each year, for a session lasting either 105 days (in odd-numbered years) or 60 days (in even-numbered years), legislators gather in Olympia to introduce, debate and vote on bills.

While many people focus their attention on what the Legislature does each year, there is one final and crucial step in the legislative process that happens – the governor decides whether to veto part or all of a bill, or let it become law.

Since this year’s legislative session ended March 7, Gov. Inslee has been signing hundreds of bills that were approved by the Legislature. “Bill-signing season” for the governor ended Saturday, March 30.

Contrary to what the casual political observer might think, most of the bills signed by the governor are noncontroversial and bipartisan. In fact, many bills received unanimous support in the Senate and House before heading to the governor’s desk.

Unfortunately, several bills signed this year are controversial and generated plenty of “no” votes.Two such measures that were signed by Inslee last week are House Bills 2118 and 1589.

House Bill 2118 might severely restrict or even end the sale of firearms in our state. It will force firearm dealers to install burdensome security features and alarm and surveillance systems, and adopt redundant storage and even more burdensome record-keeping practices. Our state already maintains electronic records of every firearm transaction, through the Washington State Patrol and state Department of Licensing. And yet House Bill 2118 forcers about 1,300 retailers with federal firearms licenses to keep paper copies of these transactions as long as they are in business.

This gun-shop bill is most onerous on the small dealers and will just drive customers to Idaho.

The governor last week signed three other gun-related bills:

•House Bill 1903 requires gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to police or other law enforcement within 24 hours of when they discover the theft or loss. The current deadline is five days.

•Senate Bill 5444 prohibits many people from carrying firearms in libraries, transit facilities, zoos and aquariums.

•House Bill 2021 allows the Washington State Patrol to destroy firearms it confiscates and requires police and sheriff’s offices to destroy most guns obtained through gun-buyback programs.

House Bill 1589 is the second bill that I want to point out as being very bad. It will hit people hard in their pocketbooks and limit their options, all for the unreachable goal of combating climate change. This Democrat-sponsored proposal eventually could make it hard for many homeowners to heat their houses or cook with natural gas.

Under the new law, customers of Puget Sound Energy (which provides electrical and/or natural-gas service in many Western Washington counties and part of Kittitas County) may no longer be guaranteed natural-gas service.

Some people in our part of the state might not be alarmed by this bill because they receive natural gas from a company other than PSE. But it would not surprise me a bit if Democrats opposinf fossil fuels eventually force other utilities to stop providing natural gas.

— Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, represents

the 9th Legislative District. Email him at

[email protected].

 

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