January 2, 2018
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Sixty-day, 2018 legislative session begins Monday

With just 60 days to complete their work, lawmakers will convene for the 2018 legislative session on Monday, Jan. 8. There is much to do: passage of the supplemental two-year state operating budget, a permanent fix to the state Supreme Court’s 2016 Hirst water rights ruling and passage of the state capital construction budget, among many other issues.

The governor started the budget negotiations with the unveiling of his supplemental budget in mid-December. Included in his plan is another carbon tax proposal. The Seattle Times has more on the carbon tax proposal and its odds of gaining traction during the short session.

This year’s work may be aided with the election of Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, who won the open 45th District Senate seat last fall to give the chamber a one-vote Democratic majority. That win means Democrats now control both legislative chambers as well as the governor’s office.

Additionally, Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, left his seat late last year to take an appointment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An appointment to fill the seat may happen Wednesday, according to The Herald, which is just in time for session.

Regardless of the short timeline, lawmakers have pre-filed more than 150 bills covering everything from public records to a measure that would require Washington state to align its emission policies with the Paris Climate Agreement. The important legislative deadlines for the session can be found here.

The AWB Government Affairs team will cover all these topics and more during its 2018 Legislative Preview webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 3, at 10 a.m. And the AWB Legislative Day and Hill Climb on Jan. 16 will give attendees a broader view on issues ranging from the economy on both sides of the state, climate and tax issues as well as a look at education policy moving forward.

The legislative website has contact information for all lawmakers, days and times of public hearings and a new feature that allows residents to submit online comments on bills being debated.

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Rule of Law Matters

Washington's carbon overreach

By The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls climate change an "existential threat," and he has channeled President Obama in using executive powers to impose his policy response. But like Mr. Obama he suffered a major blow this month when a Washington court ruled that he exceeded his authority under state law.

Washington lawmakers have declined to pass Mr. Inslee's signature cap-and-trade legislation, and in 2016 voters rejected a carbon-tax ballot measure. So "now we have to do it administratively," the Sierra Club's Doug Howell said last year.

Mr. Inslee suddenly discovered authority to act unilaterally under the Washington Clean Air Act and a 2008 law that required greenhouse gas reductions...

And in a Dec. 15 oral ruling, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon found that the Inslee Administration lacked the legal authority to regulate indirect emitters.

The decision is a victory for the rule of law and another rebuke to progressives who try to ignore democratic consent to impose their climate agenda by regulatory fiat.

Read the full editorial in The Wall Street Journal
Innovation is Key to Carbon Reductions

Washington can have energy independence without economic damage of carbon tax

By State Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union

Here in the United States, Washington is the leading producer of hydroelectric power, contributing nearly one quarter of the nation's total hydro generation. We rank only behind California in terms of the amount of renewable energy we produce each year.

That is why it is so critical that as we continue to debate the merits of a carbon tax, we be mindful of the steps we have already taken toward establishing a greener economy. Proposing a carbon tax to fund education or increase general fund spending is the wrong approach.

I truly believe Washington can achieve energy independence one day, but we must be strategic in how we get there. Causing self-inflicted economic hardship along the way would be foolish.

Read the full column in The Olympian
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