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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Just a quick reminder to join myself and Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber and Sen. Shelly Short for our 7th District telephone town hall this Thursday, Feb. 23 from 6-7pm. 

To participate, call (509) 724-2970. Once you're in the program you can press STAR on your telephone keypad to ask a question. This is a great way to listen to and have a discussion with your neighbors and elected officials about the issues we're dealing with both in Olympia and back home. I hope you can join us.

Update on the gun bills
Your voice was heard loud and clear and truly made a difference.  Several anti-gun bills died in committee last week, including the worst of them: HB 1134 which would ban so-called assault weapons and large capacity magazines, and HB 1387 which would impose a registration-licensing system for certain firearms.  Thanks to all of you who called the Attorney General and other lawmakers to voice your opinions on these bills.  As I suspected, these were more about messaging to certain Seattle stakeholders and special interest groups.  Never underestimate what someone with high political aspirations will do for a photo op.

One bill that did make it through committee is HB 1122, which would require locking up one's firearms or else potentially face reckless endangerment charges.  What's even more troubling is that the bill “ups” the reckless endangerment charge involving gun storage to a Class C felony!  Telling citizens how and where to store their prime tool for defending their families and homes is a head scratcher.  Telling the home invasion criminal or the coyote or the wolf to “wait a minute while I obtain my government-approved single shot firearm from my government-approved mode of storage” could be downright deadly.  And speaking of wolves…

Committee plays politics with delisting wolf bill
My bill (HB 1872) to delist the gray wolf in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties was put to death – with malice – in committee last week (you can view the committee hearing, including my comments, here).  As you know, the federal government has delisted the gray wolf in all regions east of Hwy 97 in central Washington.  Yet the state, via generous encouragement from Seattleites and other elites who don't have to deal with the consequences, continues to insist upon listing the wolf as endangered throughout the state.

While I'm grateful to the Democrat chair of the committee for allowing a public hearing on this bill, there are representatives in the Legislature that were not pleased that I introduced this legislation again. They were even less pleased when I spent political capital to get a public hearing on it.  They would really like this whole argument to go away and are disappointed that I keep throwing “hand grenades” at this issue.  But the folks who've lost sheep or seen their foals and calves torn apart know better.  And we're not going anywhere.

A recent article in the paper described the situation fairly well when they quoted me:

“Some people took this as a hand grenade.  I'd like to say anybody who knows me should know, if I'm going to throw a hand grenade, it would be a lot bigger than this one.”

One good piece of news on the wolf front.  Former Rep. and now Sen. Shelly Short's bill (HB 1465) to exempt certain personal information from public disclosure for people who report wolf attacks made it through the committee process.  There have been serious threats made against people reporting wolf attacks.  This is a way to offer some protection for them.  There's some bad water over on the West side of the state, I guess.  Water that makes normally passive-aggressive people just plain aggressive.  And speaking of water on the West side…

Millions of gallons of raw Seattle sewage dumps into Puget Sound, but DOE wants your cow to stop pooping in the crick?
Seriously.  You can't make this stuff up.  A pump on a waste water treatment plant went kaput and because of the rain and the fact that a couple of million people live in the area, several hundred million gallons of wastewater dumped into the Puget Sound.  Much of this was raw sewage.  The plant continued to dump upwards of 50 million additional gallons into the Sound each day for several days.

But that's not all.  There was also a power outage that led to another 330,000 gallons of wastewater being released into Puget Sound.  And the Department of Ecology wants to basically outlaw cows?  Or at the very least, they're crawling up stream beds trying to prove ol' Bessie was a little lax in her personal hygiene and either didn't quite make it to the other side of the stream or forgot to wipe her hindquarters of “measurable fecal matter”?  And folks in Olympia wonder why I get a little worked up sometimes.

I'll tell you this: this past week has given me a great talking point for the next decade each time a state agency wants to terrorize our hardworking ranchers and farmers.  Believe me, I'll be reminding the so-called environmental experts about this double standard for years to come.  And speaking of reminding…

My online survey
If you haven't had the opportunity to take my online survey, please do so.  It should only take a few minutes and helps give me ammo to fight the fight in Olympia.  I use the results – including your comments and insight – to help make the case for Seventh District priorities and values throughout the legislative process.  It's your state government and your voice is important.  I'll keep the survey open for another few days and then report the results back to you soon.

Thanks for entrusting me to fight on your behalf in Olympia.


Joel Kretz

State Representative Joel Kretz, 7th Legislative District
335A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7988 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000