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Lower Valley rep takes on hot button issues in Olympia

OLYMPIA - They may not have much chance of becoming law this session, but three recent legislative proposals by 15th District Rep. David Taylor are addressing hot-button issues of debate between the right and left.

One of them, HB 1167, would repeal the Growth Management Act in its entirety.

Taylor (R-Moxee) worked in Kittitas County government before locating to this area, and says he sees limitations the act puts on economic growth.

"I've seen problems associated with it from both sides of the counter," he says. "I've been on the government and permittee sides."

As enacted and interpreted, the Growth Management Act -or GMA as it's also called - has, according to Taylor, "...stifled economic development opportunities in our communities."

Taylor contends the state would be fine without the GMA.

"We don't need anything to replace it. We have a laundry list of regulations on the books," he says. "Getting a committee hearing on it (HB 1167) is tough because the Democratic party is not willing to overturn regulatory confines."

Just as likely to be controversial with Democrats is Taylor's HB 1317.

Not only would it give counties the opportunity to petition and return to poll voting, but HB 1317 would also require voters to show photo identification at the polls.

"My constituents have asked to go back to poll voting...that's government closer to the people," Taylor says.

Voters would still have the opportunity to vote by mail by requesting absentee ballots, he adds.

He realizes the photo ID requirement likely won't make much headway in the legislature.

"Quite frankly there's an ongoing debate whether Washington state has cleaned up its voter registration," Taylor says. "I recognize some groups feel differently, but it's an opportunity to at least have the discussion. I believe our voting needs to be legal and lawful."

Taylor says there are several bills under consideration related to election changes, and is hopeful his HB 1317 will get a hearing on its own or in association with similar proposals.

Besides election reform, Taylor is pushing for changes in how the state administers concealed weapons permits.

He has proposed HB 1318, requiring the Department of Licensing to issue renewal notices for concealed pistol licenses at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the license.

"I can't think of another license that does not provide notice of expiration," Taylor contends. "There's no requirement on the books (for notification) and what we've seen all over the state is that somebody gets pulled over on a traffic stop and when they show their concealed weapons permit they come to find out it's expired."

He adds, "This (HB 1318) is an opportunity to make sure the citizens who have made that choice (concealed weapons) are provided notice."

Though some of his recent proposals could perhaps be seen as more political statement than policy, Taylor considers them necessary steps in a long-term process.

"We all recognize that it takes time to get legislation through the three-step process (House, Senate and Governor)," he says. "Like it or not, it took the Democrats 30 years to get same-sex marriage affirmed through referendum.

"Thirty years is a long time, but even if they're unpopular you have to put ideas forward," Taylor adds. "If we don't put legislation forward it will never happen."

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