Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The first month of the 2015 legislative session is coming to a close. Since session began, I've been attending committee hearings and work sessions, and meeting with folks from Whatcom County and throughout our state. I've enjoyed listening to and discussing the ideas and solutions constituents have brought to the table for the Legislature to consider.
Session is continuing to heat up, so stay tuned for more updates from me as more bills are heard in committees and we start to pass legislation off of the floor.
In this update, I want to briefly share with you the legislation I'm sponsoring on behalf of our communities.
House Bill 1533
Many people have expressed their concerns regarding the passage of Initiative 594, which requires stricter background check laws when acquiring a firearm at gun shows or online. Due to strong Democratic opposition, including the governor's, it's likely not politically feasible to repeal the initiative during this legislative session. However, it's important that we ensure this initiative doesn't unintentionally harm activity between law-abiding citizens.
My bill, HB 1533, would ensure museums and historical societies are exempt from the law. As you may know, Lynden Pioneer Museum was in the news recently because of their WWII-era firearms exhibit. After the passage of I-594, they believed they would be in violation of the new law and prepared to remove the display and return the guns to owners.
This bill is personal to me. One of the eleven WWII-era guns on display at the museum belongs to my late father. It was a gift to him from the U.S. Navy and my efforts on this bill will honor his legacy. It's important this bill passes and we clarify some of the language so these museums are not at risk.
HB 1533 has received bipartisan support and is a common-sense solution that will help us avoid some of the unintended consequences from this initiative.
House Bill 1534
HB 1534 would allow Point Roberts to use their motor vehicle and special tax proceeds to be applied toward transportation improvements. Since the Point only has one primary school, most students have to take a bus through British Columbia and back down to Blaine to get to school. It's my hope Point Roberts can use these proceeds to purchase an additional bus in order to give students more options for after-school activities.
In addition to the above bills, I'm preparing two others to be submitted later this session. One involves higher education and the State Need Grant, and the other concerns a small change to a bill that will likely be heard in the House State Government Committee.
You can stay up-to-date on my legislation by visiting my website and clicking on “Sponsored Bills.”
Apply to be a legislative page!
I want to remind all 14 to 16 year-olds to apply to be a page in the state House of Representatives during the 2015 session. Pages spend one week at the Capitol and assist legislators with delivering messages throughout the Capitol campus. They also participate in a civic education program during their service, learning all about our legislative process. It's a great way for students to get involved in state government and make friends from throughout the state. Some pages have even gone on to be lawmakers themselves.
Be sure to forward this message to anyone you think might be interested. Anyone can sign up for my emails by visiting my website and entering their email address at the top of the page.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you!
Luanne Van Werven