Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I have over 5,000 emails in my inbox from parents, teachers and school officials around the state asking me to fight against the Democrat comprehensive sex education bill (Senate Bill 5395). I have one email in support of the measure. ONE! In addition, we had over 600 citizens sign in to testify against this bill in the House Education Committee, with very few in favor.
I'm not sure I've ever seen an issue like this before with so many people against a piece of legislation. Yet that made no difference last night as House Democrats voted to mandate comprehensive sex education in all grades, K-12. This means that no matter what local communities think – no matter what parents or school officials think – kindergartners, first graders and all other elementary school students will have to take an approved sex ed class beginning in the 2022-23 school year.
But it's not just elementary students who will be learning something new. The approved curriculum includes new teachings for high school students as well. The subject matter would make most of us blush and if I listed some of it here in this email update I may be violating the new Legislative Code of Conduct!
In fact, as we were fighting this bill last night until 2:30 a.m., TVW issued a warning on their broadcast of our floor debate: “Mature subject matter – Viewer discretion advised.”
I've never seen that before from TVW. And, while we had over 200 amendments to address citizen concerns on the bill, the majority party only allowed 15 to be heard. We fought for over six hours. In the end, they had the votes to defeat all of our amendments and eventually pass the bill with NO Republican support.
I urge all concerned citizens to now contact the governor's office and ask him to VETO Senate Bill 5395. He can be reached at (360) 902-4111
Cougar sightings and interactions are skyrocketing throughout northeast Washington. We're paying our WDFW enforcement officers to kill cougars – something our hunters used to take care of in the past, while paying taxes and fees on the licenses and equipment. I've sponsored several bills during my time in Olympia, but the Legislature doesn't seem too interested in this issue. I'm hoping the Department of Fish and Wildlife commission, which sets hunting regulations and seasons, will be more receptive.
The commission is meeting on March 13 to discuss the cougar issue. I'm writing a letter urging them to consider a longer cougar season, higher bag limits – whatever they think will work! Most of us realize that hound hunting is the best way to keep cougars afraid of humans and dogs. But the reality is, until those living on the west side of the state have some skin in the game, they're not going to allow hound hunting. However, the commission could choose to explore other options.
I urge concerned citizens to contact the commission at (360) 902-2267 and let them know how you feel. Or go here to leave comments online for the commission.
Truth in labeling: making USA Beef mean something again
With only a week left in the 2020 session, my truth in labeling bill for USA beef is still alive, but barely.
House Bill 2712 would require retailers to post a sign in the vicinity to let consumers know they are purchasing “USA beef.” To qualify for the label, the beef must be derived exclusively from animals born, raised and processes in Washington state. Alternatively, the same beef could be labeled as “Washington beef.”
An interesting article recently highlighted the need for my bill as one of the largest beef producers in the world is under investigation.
“The quick sale of the cattle suggests what environmentalists call 'cattle laundering' – when cattle from a farm that has environmental issues sells cattle to a 'clean' farm. This gets around monitoring systems because meat companies do not monitor these 'indirect suppliers.'”
“The Reporter Brasil investigation highlighted the difficulties that Brazil's big meat companies have in monitoring their supply chains.”
Washington cattle producers have the best product in the world. Other nations like Brazil can't compete with our standards and quality controls. USA beef should mean something to consumers. It certainly means something to the cowboys and ranchers who are producing it.