Your input is essential to the legislative process
More than 230 years ago, when countries were ruled by rich and powerful nobles and kings, 56 men from 13 North American British colonies dared to assert that “all men are created equal.” They believed ordinary people were born with the right to live in freedom, pursue happiness, and participate in the process of making the laws that governed their lives.
This new idea that citizens would govern themselves inspired the colonies to break from British rule and establish our present system of government that is “of, by and for the people.”
On July 4, 1889, exactly 113 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, 75 delegates met in Olympia. They drafted a Washington state Constitution that also put the people first. Our state founding fathers declared in the first article that “all political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The founding fathers in both Philadelphia and Olympia understood that to preserve freedom, ordinary citizens must have the power to chart the course of our governments. Through our constitutions, citizens are guaranteed this ability to shape the very laws they are governed by.
For our system of government to work at its best, each of us should fully participate. That is why, as your elected representative, I am constantly seeking your input on state government issues, so I can best represent your views in Olympia.
This past Monday, the Legislature convened for its scheduled 105-day session. Many issues are under discussion, including a $6 billion budget shortfall. Your input on these issues could make a difference in their outcomes.
You can actively participate in the legislative process in a number of ways.
- Learn how the process works. There's a handy guide available online or through my office that helps you understand how a bill becomes a law, how to read a bill, and how the legislative process works. It can be downloaded from: houserepublicans.wa.gov/GetInvolved.htm.
- Contact your legislators. Write letters, send e-mail, use the telephone or schedule a personal visit. Your viewpoint is important to us.
- Testify before a committee. Washington has one of the most open legislatures in the country. A bill has a public hearing in House and Senate committees before being considered by both houses of the Legislature. Your opportunity to testify comes at committee hearings. If you cannot testify, you may write a letter making your position known.
- Stay informed. There's a wealth of information available online at www.leg.wa.gov, including bill reports, committee schedules, and roll calls that show how lawmakers voted on legislation. In addition, committee hearings and floor votes are broadcast by TVW on the Internet and on cable television.
Here's how you can contact me:
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Phone: (360) 786-7967
Toll-free legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000
E-mail me through my Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen
Our founding fathers have wisely given us this extraordinary opportunity to participate in the direction of our government. I encourage you to use it.