60 Days, starting Monday the 9th.
Legislative Update from Olympia 6 January 2006
LEGISLATURE CONVENES 9 JANUARY
OLD BILLS – NEW BILLS
ELECTIONS AND GUNS
ONE PRO-GUN BILL PRE-FILED
The 59^th (biennial) Washington state legislature convenes Monday,
January 9^th for it’s short (60 day) session. With the biennial budget
out of the way, the short session tends to focus on legislators’ pet
issues – obviously to include gun control (and maybe some pro-gun
bills). With Democrats in control of both chambers (House and Senate)
and Christine Gregoire in the Governor’s Mansion, it’s payback time for
Democrat special interests. (“Special interests” are those interests of
a small percentage of the population – like Washington Ceasefire’s 3,500
members statewide; public interests are those interests of a significant
percentage of the population – like Washington’s 1,000,000+ gun owners.)
Bills introduced in last year’s session are still technically in play,
and may be acted on. I have them listed below as “Hold” in their
respective policy committee. In addition, new bills are sure to be filed.
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 Criminal Justice and Corrections, or House Juvenile
Justice and Family Law. 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
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 her (or his) 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 2006 session in the next issue of
It’s obvious the Democrats know they have a problem with the gun issue,
and they won’t increase their appeal to middle America unless they alter
their stance on it. Right. I’ve read articles where they talk about
“changing their rhetoric” on the gun issue, but nothing about them
changing their position. Several years ago a retiring Democrat
Congressman called gun control “the third rail of Democrat politics.”
We’ll see over the next 60 days!
Having said that, we have a small number of Democrat friends in Olympia
who are pro-gun, and their votes will be critical this year. Their names
will come up as bills begin to move.
For the most part, Seattle controls the Democrat caucus in Olympia. And
the Seattle gang is exceptionally anti-gun. Rural Democrats are a
different breed in many cases. The Republican caucus is mostly (but not
entirely) pro-gun. Democrats now control the Senate with 26 of 49 seats.
Democrats also control the House 55D-43R. Governor Gregoire I’ve already
More than 200 bills have been pre-filed for the 2006 session. At this
time only one is directly gun-related. Senator Val Stevens (R-39^th ,
Arlington) has filed SB 6139, a bill that strengthens Washington’s
“stand your ground” law and provides criminal and civil liability
Bills filed during 2005 session and still subject to legislative action:
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
SSB 5041 Sentencing range McCaslin (R-4) Hold H. Rules
SB 5131 Insanity finding/firearms Carrell (R-28) Hold S. Rules
SB 5167 Firearm suppressors Hargrove (D-24) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5342 Safe storage of firearms Kohl-Welles (D-36) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5343 Gun show loophole Kohl-Welles (D-36) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5344 Capitol campus gun ban Fairley (D-32) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5383 Juvenile hunting licenses Oke (R-26) Hold S.NatRes
SB 5475 Assault weapon ban Kline (D-37) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5545 Military CPL renewal Roach (R-31) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5593 .50 BMG rifle ban Kline (D-37) Hold S. Jud.
SB 5635 Restoration of rights Schoesler (R-9) Hold S. Rules
SJM 8005 Manufacturer protection Benton (R-17) Hold S. Jud.
SHB 1133 Public disclosure law Nixon (R-45) Enacted
SHB 1213 Juvenile hunting licenses Clements (R-14) Hold H. Rules
HB 1473 Safe storage of firearms Moeller (D-49) Hold H. Jud.
HB 1489 Capitol campus gun ban Williams (D-22) Hold H. Jud.
HB 1490 Park/rec area gun ban Darneille (D-27) Hold H. Jud.
HB 1627 Assault weapon ban Kagi (D-32) Hold H. Jud.
HB 1687 Insanity finding/firearms Moeller (D-49) Enacted
HB 1804 CPL renewal notification Ericksen (R-42) Hold H. Jud.
HB 1822 Lead shot hunting ban Kagi (D-32) Hold H.NatRes.
HB 2211 Lead shot excise tax Kagi (D-32) Hold H. Fin.
HJM 4002 Manufacturer protection Curtis (R-18) Hold H. Jud.
Bills pre-filed for the 2006 session:
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
SB 6139 Justifiable homicide Stevens (R-39) S. Jud.
HB 2356 Access charge for recreational lands Williams (D-22) H. Jud.
Key to abbreviations: S. = Senate, H. = House, Jud = Judiciary, CJ&J =
Criminal Justice & Corrections, Fish/Ecol = Fisheries, Ecology & Parks,
JuvJust = Juvenile Justice, Educ = Education, LocGov = Local Government,
NatRes = Natural Resources, Parks & Shorelines; W&M = Ways and Means
At this time no hearings have been scheduled for gun-related bills.
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". It's available in two versions: text (.txt) file or
Acrobat (.pdf) file. The "Acrobat" version is preferred as it is easier
to read and is an exact copy of the hard copy format the legislators
use. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat from Adobe's web
site. 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.