Note: The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Padden’s subscribers Jan. 26, 2023. To subscribe to Sen. Padden’s newsletter, click here.
Dear friends and neighbors,
One of the most controversial measures before this year’s Legislature received a public hearing Tuesday morning in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee.
Senate Joint Resolution 8202, if passed by the Legislature and then by voters statewide, would give constitutional protection to abortion access in Washington.
As someone who is strongly pro-life, I oppose this extreme and overreaching proposal that was requested by Governor Jay Inslee and is sponsored by 16 Senate Democrats. This measure would move our state toward the “abortion anytime, abortion anywhere” goal that many pro-abortion people want to see realized.
Contrary to what our governor might believe, most people have complex and nuanced views on abortion. According to a national Marist Poll last May, only 24 percent of Americans think abortion should be available at any point during a pregnancy, while 68 percent favor some type of restrictions on abortion. This proposed constitutional amendment could open the door for future legislatures in Washington to ease current restrictions on abortions in our state.
We need to show our humanity and compassion toward the unborn child as well as the mother, and there are proposals this session that reflect this need. For instance, I have sponsored a proposal (Senate Bill 5098) that would ban abortions of unborn children with Down syndrome. One of my colleagues, 7th District Sen. Shelly Short, has introduced a measure (Senate Bill 5227) that would ban abortions based on sex selection – like aborting a girl simply because the parents want a boy.
There were 622 people who signed up against SJR 8202 while only 325 signed up in favor of it. Among those opposing it was Bishop Frank Schuster of the Archdiocese of Seattle.
Senate Democratic leaders should consider this strong opposition when deciding whether to move their proposal forward.
You can watch TVW’s coverage of the public hearing by clicking here.
Because SJR 8202 is a proposed constitutional amendment, the Legislature cannot enact it alone – the people get the final say. It would require two-thirds approval in the Senate and two-thirds approval in the House to be placed on the statewide ballot for Washington voters to decide in the 2023 general election in November.
I think most Washingtonians, even those who generally support abortion, would find this proposal too extreme and unacceptable. I’m hopeful the Legislature will not pass SJR 8202, which could result in abortions becoming even more commonplace in our state.
If you have questions about how to participate in state government this year or thoughts to share on anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call or send me an email.
Thank you, as always, for the honor of serving as your state senator!
Senator Mike Padden
Committee passes bill helping employee stock ownership plans
Testifying on SB 5096 before the Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming and Trade Committee earlier this month.
You might recall that the Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming and Trade Committee last week held a public hearing on my proposal (Senate Bill 5096) that would aid businesses looking to adopt an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) corporate structure.
There was good news early this week when the committee approved SB 5096. This measure specifically would:
- Create the Washington Employee Ownership Program at the state Department of Commerce to offer technical support and other services to certain businesses considering certain employee ownership structures.
- Form the Washington Employee Ownership Commission to oversee the program.
- Provide a business and occupation tax credit for costs related to converting a qualifying business to an employee ownership structure.
The bill now goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.
Committee OKs bill removing red tape for small condominium building construction
The Senate Law and Justice Committee this morning passed a bill I’ve introduced that would help encourage home ownership in our state by making it easier for smaller condominium buildings to be constructed.
Senate Bill 5058 would exempt buildings with 12 or fewer units that are no more than two stories from the definition of multiunit residential building.
The bill received support from several groups and individuals during its public hearing on Monday, including Spokane Valley City Council member Arne Woodard, who told the committee, “Throughout Washington state, including the Spokane Valley, we need more homeownership opportunities. Condominiums provide a great opportunity for homeownership…To capture homeownership opportunities, we need to change those Washington state laws that are preventing condominiums from being constructed. We need to cut the red tape. Senate Bill 5058 does exactly that for small condominiums with 12 units or less.”
Other organizations or individuals testifying in favor of SB 5058 included the Building Industry Association of Washington, Master Builders, Washington Realtors and Jim Frank of Greenshore New Beginning Homes. You can watch TVW’s coverage of the bill hearing here.
Spokane teen works as Senate page
It was my honor and privilege to sponsor Spokane resident Alex Lucas as a Senate page this week. Alex, 14, is an eighth-grader at Saint Charles Catholic School. The son of David and Laura Lucas, he is a Boy Scout and enjoys skiing, hunting, fishing and motorsports.
State Supreme Court hears state income tax case today
In 2021, Democratic majorities in the Legislature passed a measure creating a state income tax, despite arguments by Republicans that this proposal was illegal and unconstitutional. Early last year, Douglas County Superior Court Judge Brian Huber ruled that the state income-tax law was indeed unconstitutional, but proponents of the tax appealed in the hope that the state Supreme Court would hear the case and rule in their favor. They are aware that a majority of the nine justices were appointed by Democratic governors who support a state income tax.
The Supreme Court last summer announced that it would consider the appeal. After months of anticipation by those following this contentious issue, the justices are holding its hearing on the state income-tax case today. To watch TVW’s coverage of the hearing, click here.
Last week, The Seattle Times published an op-ed piece that argued why the state Supreme Court should agree with the Douglas County judge and toss the state income tax out. This part is especially worth reading:
Did you know Washington’s Supreme Court could approve a new “excise tax” that will follow you wherever you go? Did you know that over the past 12 years the state has experienced a 150% increase in tax revenue — from $26 billion to $66 billion? Do you believe that, even with this spectacular increase in revenue that the state Legislature would ever cut “regressive” taxes on sales, gas, soda or liquor?
If you answered no, no, and no, you are not alone.
Next Thursday, Jan. 26, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments about the legality of a new tax. The state Legislature invented this tax in 2021, despite having a $10 billion surplus, under an “emergency” clause. By using the emergency clause, it circumvented the will of Washington state residents who have traditionally had a say on any major tax changes via initiative or referendum. In fact, it is clear the citizens don’t want this excise tax as they rejected it 61% to 39% in a statewide advisory vote in November 2021.
The state also claims that this new tax is a legal “excise tax” on personal income from capital gains. The problem is that an excise tax is typically paid on things like retail sales, gas or liquor and collected where the items are purchased. But this new tax is on your income earned anywhere, which means it’s an illegal excise tax that would follow you wherever you go. Or to put it another way, it’s like Washington state charging you an additional gas tax on gas you bought in Oregon or any other state!
Meeting with Spokane Conservation District officials
Yesterday morning I met with Brittany Tyler (left) and Vicki Carter (right) in my office to discuss their goal to have a permanent farmers market in the Spokane region. Vicki is the director of the Spokane Conservation District and Vets on the Farm. We had a good chat. It was nice of Brittany and Vicki to make the long trip to Olympia this week.
Radio interviews on public safety issues
During a legislative session, radio stations or talk-show hosts in the Northwest reach out to me to comment on bills or issues before the Legislature. The past week was no exception.
After the Senate Law and Justice Committee last week passed my proposal (Senate Bill 5032) to combat impaired driving, KOMO Radio in Seattle aired a story about the committee’s vote to advance it. You can hear my comments from an audio news release that KOMO Radio used for its story.
Earlier this week, Portland-based talk-show host Lars Larson, whose program is carried by many radio stations throughout the Northwest, interviewed me live on the air about bills before the Legislature this session that deal with the possession of hard drugs. You can hear the interview with Lars here.
If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. During the session we are conducting business from our Senate office in Olympia. We are here to serve you!
Phone: (360) 786-7606
Olympia Office: 215 Legislative Modular Building, Olympia, WA 98504-0404
Email address: Mike.Padden@leg.wa.gov
PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden’s Olympia office at (360) 786-7606.
To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton, the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.