In January the state legislature passed a new law that allows private property owners to again use and dig wells on their own land. ESSB 6091 reflected a compromise between lawmakers that alleviates the pressure landowners, counties, banks and home builders had been facing since the state supreme court ended the drilling of permit-exempt wells throughout Washington state in a water rights case know as the 'Hirst decision'.
However, unbelievably and most unfortunately Skagit County is the only county in Washington state completely exempt from the new law. That is because the Swinomish tribe, its attorneys and lobbing groups were able to keep language in the bill that references the October 2013 Washington state supreme court decision 'Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Department of Ecology', where the high court reversed a trial court order against the Swinomish.
This is simply not fair to the many private property owners of Skagit who still find their land severely devalued (and in some cases worthless) because of no water access, and not fair to the other Skagit County property owners picking up the burden by seeing their property taxes increased to make up for the difference. This is the same type of tax shift we saw when the 2013 Great Wolf Lodge decision was made by our ultra liberal state supreme court, as they overturned a 2010 U.S. federal district court verdict against the Chehalis Indian Tribe. In that case the tribe's argument was that paying taxes on improvements on reservation land would 'impair its interest in economic self-sufficiency'.
Also of great concern is that the new 'Hirst Fix' law sets up water meter 'pilot projects' in Clallam and Kittitas counties via the department of Ecology, the obvious goal is to eventually tax the use of private property owners well water. Additionally the law creates statewide 'Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committees' that will be comprised of officials, unelected representatives and tribal members who will be making future policies including setting regulations and fees, etc. It is clear that the Washington state legislature has now divested itself from future oversight of taxpayer dollars which is a travesty to our Constitution and Republic. What is next in our state ? Complete veto power for the special interests ?
A big thank you to 10th Legislative District Senator Barbara Bailey, 39th Legislative District Senator Keith Wagoner and LD 39 Representative Caroline Eslick in standing up for the citizens of Skagit County and voting 'No' on this legislation and to Legislative District 42 Senator Doug Ericksen and Legislative District 31 Phil Fortunato for at least attempting to amend the legislation. Because the GOP now has minorities in the state house and senate the sad reality is that this is the best our state landowners could expect from our elected officials regarding water and well rights at this time.
This new state water rights law 'compromise' puts the Department of Ecology in charge and is helping to erode and undermine our Republic. The Republican form of government is being attacked and replaced with a Democrat liberal agenda of taxation, regionalism, collectivism and socialism. It is a shame that tax-except Democratic tribal organizations with enormous amounts of casino gaming money (which dollars annually represents 3 to 10 times the size of entire county budgets) is being used to lobby our elected officials in Olympia, with future private property owners rights being sacrificed all accros the state of Washington.
This new legislation may prove to be unconstitutional and is an attack on the freedom of good taxpaying citizens, we all have natural God given rights to defend our person, liberty and property. The 5th amendment (via the 14th amendment to include actions by the states) in the United States Constitution includes a provision known as the 'takings clause', which says that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.
Private property owners who have been adversely harmed economically by this 'taking' from the legislature may consider filing class action lawsuits against the state of Washington. If they can prove in federal court there has been a 'taking' the state of Washington could be held liable to pay 'just compensation', or forced to change the law. Also there may be a legal issue as to whether the legislation has unconstitutionally delegated too much of its authority to the future steering committees comprised of unelected regional representatives via the Depatment of Ecology.
However in 2018 there is a much easier and less painful way to make a difference. That is by helping to elect at least two more GOP state house representatives and at least one more GOP state senator. If this is accomplished the Republicans will have the majority in the state legislature and proposed laws with more regulations and higher taxes can at least be thwarted and common sense laws can be possibly be enacted.
If Republicans can't get the majority in the state government soon we can expect more taxing from the Democrats that will include an energy (carbon) tax of at least 20 cents per gallon of gas, and large increases to our electric and natural gas bills, additionally we will see higher prices on items at the stores as delivery prices and manufacturing prices will be increased because of this legislation. Also expect the Democrats to be tolling roads and highways across Washington state and imposing a state income tax on the residents of our state.
The state Democrats are attempting to end the public 'citizen initiative' process as we know it. Senate bill 5386 is proposed legislation to severely restrict and basically end the people's right to initiative. Of no surprise this Democratic legislation is coming from the 'Tribal Relations & Elections Committee'. It subjects citizen initiatives to $500 application fees and potential years of delays by forcing courts (for the first time ever) to rule on initiatives before anyone can even collect a single signature. SB 5386 clearly violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, we as citizens have the basic right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and this bill promotes government censorship via the judicial branch. A court can't make a ruling on a law until it becomes a law. This is the latest attempt by the Democrats to silence "We the People". Please oppose this authoritarian leftist agenda !
The accomplishments keep mounting for the Trump Administration as the Investor's Business Daily reports that the Federal Register, which contains all federal agency rules, notices and regulations, topped 97,100 pages under President Obama, but now under President Trump, it has been shaved down to 45,678 pages. The Republican administration's continued focus on tax reform and cutting red tape is wonderful news for consumers, businesses and the economy. Getting rid of unnecessary and burdensome regulations is creating a fairer and more efficient system that is resulting in more growth, investment, productivity, jobs and higher wages.
The National Football League recently rejected an American Veterans advertisement to be played during the superbowl. The ad simply asked Americans to stand for the National Anthem and American flag in salute to our veterans. The NFL is saying that the reason they rejected the ad is because they do not want the game to be too political -- talk about a disconnect. NFL ownership are the one's that have chosen to give activists an anti-American platform. Good Americans are proud to honor our flag, country and veterans by standing for the national anthem, this is a given. The NFL ratings were down by about 26 % over the last two years, expect even lower ratings next year.
A huge congratulations to Caleb Heimlich ! Caleb was just elected as the new Washington State Republican Party Chairman (replacing the resigning Susan Hutchinson). Caleb has done an excellent job as the WSRP Executive Director for the past 7 years and has proven to be a hard worker. Of note: Caleb graduated from Hillsdale College, Magna Cum Laude and among his impressive list of endorsements that included many state elected officials, was the President of Hillsdale College, Dr. Larry P. Arnn.
The new GOP congressional tax cuts along with other Federal level Republican policies are working as in the last few weeks Apple, Disney, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Starbucks, AT&T, Fed Ex, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, Comcast Universal, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bancorp, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Texas Capital Bank, ExxonMobil and several other major companies have all announced that they will be giving out millions and millions of dollars for wage increases and bonuses to their employees and in many cases billions of dollars for new U.S. investment. Also since inauguration the new GOP Administration has added over two million jobs proving things are getting better !
Respect & Blessings,
Bill Bruch, SCRP Chairman