Welcome to the West Report blog

     An open letter to my legislators in the 3rd district of Washington state concerning bills being submitted for this 2018 session.

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     Howdy Sen. Billig, Reps. Riccelli, Ormsby and all Staff,

     My feedback on the latest news of bills. These are Senate bills but if passed then they will hit the House also and I would ask you vote no on all of them.

     SB 5463 – Locking up firearms. All democrat sponsors including Senator Billig.

– In your district, in front of my home a 15 year old kid was beaten to death in the street while I was at work. No gun was used.
– My home has been broken into 3 times and my guns were taken once. They took the guns and my whole safe. Pretty much my entire apartment was moved to an empty one while I was at work. Very lucky the police recovered most of the big stuff that couldn’t go into a backpack. Locking my guns up did nothing to keep “Prohibited Persons” from taking them.
– My neighbor downstairs has had a car stolen three times. Mine has only been broken into.
– It wasn’t very long ago that about 1 in 4 houses/apartments in a three block radius were boarded up criminal or drug houses. The second over house behind mine was torn down to a bare lot after years as a nuisance house.
– I’ve had to pull a gun twice. I am thankful that was enough to defuse and disperse. I did not end up dead in the street in your district.
– The criminal you discover in your home already has a gun. During the next 3 seconds who do you think is going to be shot? Criminals do not schedule their crimes with you ahead of time so you can fetch your keys and find the piece of paper you wrote the safe combo on.

     My guns are already locked up. I have a deadbolt on my front door. There is nowhere in your home “Prohibited Persons” cannot get to. This bill only harms lawful gun owners. Your party either wants to make me a lawful death statistic or a living felon. The shotgun is staying under the couch. Please stop trying to get me killed.

     SB 5444 – Registration of rifles and magazines and an annual license to own both. All democrat sponsors.

     Your party is preparing to take my firearms or make the cost of keeping them a privilege only enjoyed by the wealthy. According to your very own statistics ( FBI ) 95% of all gun deaths nation wide are from handguns. There are 22 deaths from handguns for every 1 death from a rifle. I do not own any handguns. I use the same rifles and shotguns to hunt, shoot and defend myself.

     The only possible reason to require this law only for rifles is for the seizure of our firearms. Criminals will not register their guns since it is already illegal for them to own them. Criminals will have guns and I will not. Please stop trying to get me killed.

     SB 6146 – Allowing local government to regulate firearms. All democrat sponsors.

     The only reason to do this is to pass this bill and allow local governments to pass despotic gun laws to use as a precedent for state wide regulation. Just like your party tried to do recently with the Seattle income tax. My rifle saved my life. I’m rather attached to both. Please stop trying to take my firearms.

     SB 5992 – Ban on trigger modification devices. All democrat including Senator Billig along with 1 republican.

     If your party wants to ban bump stocks then call it bump stocks. Who cares? They are toys that do nothing practical. But this bill goes way past that. This bill makes my muzzle break and hunting trigger (hair pull) illegal.

     The bill says clearly, ” … any part … intended for use in modifying a firearm to use the recoil of the firearm to produce a rapid succession of trigger functions.” My muzzle break is a part that does just that. Do you really not understand the difference between a 2nd shot and spending three hours tracking a deer down through the snow? My muzzle break is not a toy, is not unpractical and serves a reasonable, lawful and damn useful purpose.

     The bill says clearly, “All trigger modification devices are declared contraband.” I change the barrel on my AR15 which normally fires a .223 round to fit the .300 along with my trigger system for deer and elk. Buying a trigger with a lighter more accurate pull will now make me a felon. Please stop trying to imprison me.

     SB 6049 – Redefining the term Large Capacity Magazine. All democrat sponsors.

     My 30 round magazines are standard. Have been for the last 60 years. Came in the box with the rifle directly from the manufacturer.

     A large capacity magazine would be a drum mag or ultra clip that hold 40-100 rounds. There is no reason given why this is even needed in the bill language or the summary. All this bill does is redefine the term “Large Capacity Magazine” as being a clip that holds 11+ rounds.

     Very odd that not only does it define my .223 magazine as an “LCM” but at the same time my hunting .300 magazine defines me a criminal guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

     In summary, your party wants me disarmed, robbed, killed and after imprisoning the pile of what’s left for felony crimes impose a gross misdemeanor fine on my estate.

     What the hell?

     Thank you very much for your time,

     Shawn West
     Spokane, WA

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     Three weeks later and over 150 motorcyclists are still being held in a Texas prison for no other reason than attending a political meeting while being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

     Waco city police along with Texas state troopers, SWAT, FBI and ATF used the unfortunate incident on May 17th to conduct a mass arrest of just about anyone they wanted to. Those arrested have included citizens on the other side of the building, a man who doesn’t even own a motorcycle who was just giving some friends a lift and at least one rider who showed up late for the meet after events were over.

     As reported by ABC News Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton stated, “At last count we have 170 individuals that we have arrested and are booking or have been booked into the McLennan County Jail. Those individuals are being charged with engaging in organized crime in reference to the shooting at Twin Peaks, which is a capital murder.”

     What?

     So everyone. Protagonists, antagonists, witnesses, victims and innocent bystander alike have all been arrested and charged. Seriously? How would you like to be shot then arrested for helping the person who shot you. According to Texas officials not one single person who attended the pre-scheduled public legislative meeting is the victim of a crime. There are no witnesses or innocent bystanders. Everyone who attended the event is guilty of being a biker and that’s good enough for Texas.

     Regardless of what state you are in this should really be raising some red flags. And apparently the red one being raised in Texas is that of China. Since when was attending a political gathering considered a capitol crime against the State in America?

     And yes, that’s exactly what the May meeting was. The under reporting by news outlets on that fact I find infuriating. Every state in America has a COC (Confederation of Clubs) meeting to discuss legislative issues that all riders no matter who have a vested interest in. Three seconds of research by any news reporter could of confirmed that. But in Texas showing up for a public gathering to hear the latest on House Bill 2459 is a crime against the state and if anyone steps out of line you will all be arrested.

     An online petition to Free the Waco Bikers has been started and could use your signature.

     Texas House Bill 2459 by the way is a proposal that would make drivers give motorcycles a three foot buffer when passing or making a turn. I haven’t seen the actual agenda but it’s a reasonable assumption this might of been one of the topics to be discussed. And as an example this would be one of the topics you could expect to spend some time on when attending a COC or any MRO (Motorcycle Rights Organization) meeting. Don’t let the Hooters knockoff location fool you. Anyone who’s attended an MRO conference can tell you that if you can stay awake for the whole thing it’s considered a success.

     But in the People’s Republic of Texas political activists, MRO groups and concerned citizens alike are all considered members of criminal gangs for the purpose of mass roundups and detentions. Makes for more dramatic headlines don’t ‘cha know. It also helps distract from arrests being conducted without individual probable cause, punitive $1,000,000 bonds, presumed guilt by association, refusals of public information requests and a projected three months of imprisonment without a court appearance.

     Still unexplained is what exactly 18-22 local and SWAT police were doing there in the first place. Ask yourself this. When attending a public event or scheduled political gathering and extra police are present to help keep the peace are they stationed throughout the venue? Or are they all waiting out front with automatic rifles.

     Yeah, thought so.

     The actions taken by police following this tragic event should be a concern for all riders, not just those in Texas. It’s too easy to think this type of thing couldn’t happen to you because any reasonable person should expect to be treated equally before the law. Especially here in Washington.

     Why especially us? Because a few years ago we passed a motorcycle anti-profiling bill that said these types of mass arrests and presumptions of guilt by association are wrong and illegal. And yet even here this is still happening.

     RCW 43.101.419 – Motorcycle profiling.

     (3) For the purposes of this section, “motorcycle profiling” means the illegal use of the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related paraphernalia as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action, arrest, or search a person or vehicle with or without a legal basis under the United States Constitution or Washington state Constitution.

     The language of the law seems pretty clear cut me but that didn’t stop police in the Tri-Cities. The Tri-City Herald reported back in June of last year that police in Benton county had stopped motorcyclists to gather potential gang information unrelated to any traffic violation. It was stated that photos and videos were taken of the motorcyclists, including having some of the women remove pieces of clothing so photos of tattoos could be taken. One of the stops involving eight motorcyclists occurred as they were leaving a political meeting hosted by the COC to discuss legislative issues. Following the incident public officials then went on with refusals to public information requests about the detentions.

     Sound familiar?

     The same newspaper has since reported that a suit against the city of Kennewick for refusing those information requests was settled in favor of the motorcyclists. The rest of the suit has since moved and is pending in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Washington State against the City of Kennewick, Benton County and the officers involved in the stops. It will be the first major legal test of the anti-profiling law we passed a few years ago. Here’s me hoping the motorcyclists win. 

     Without a similar law protecting riders in Texas it is unclear what suits will be filed against the city, county and state. The Waco Tribune has reported that at least one suit for unlawful arrest, detention and property seizure has been filed. I would expect this to be just the first of many. Simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time isn’t supposed to be a crime in this country.

     For those riders reading this and are thinking, “But I’m not a member of any Motorcycle Rights Organizations!” My reply would be, “Well why the hell aren’t you?”

     Our local and national MROs are the reason we are slowly putting an end to Motorcycle Only Checkpoints. Ever wonder why we don’t have to dress up like Power Rangers with inflatable air bag suits? MROs. Who is putting a stop to motorcycle seatbelts and reducing the use of cheese grater guardrails? Your Motorcycle Rights Organizations that who. I encourage all riders to look up their local chapters and help secure your rights.

     The Texas COC has issued two alerts asking concerned citizens to act, First and Second. Help yourself by helping a fellow rider in Texas and let officials know that these actions will not stand.

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group 1 pf

A paternity fraud bill before the Washington legislature, SB 5006 and its companion HB 1524, that would allow wrongly named men to disestablish paternity has been moving this year but its not too late to have your voice heard.

Senate Bill 5006 was delayed earlier this month while an amendment to address the concerns of Washington State DHSH was hammered out. The amended bill has since been adopted and passed through the Senate Law & Justice committee where it is now being looked at by the Senate Ways & Means committee. I’ve learned that a report is being prepared for the committee on the amended bill but as of this article there is no hearing date set. In order for the bill to keep moving through the legislature the committee needs to schedule a hearing by the end of next week. And this is where you can help.

Comment on SB 5006

Say you support this bill and are asking that the Senate Ways and Means schedule a hearing before Friday, Feb. 27th. Your message will be sent to every legislator.

Currently 14 states have such anti-paternity fraud laws or Supreme Court rulings in place, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Texas. Once passed SB 5006 would make Washington State number 15 on that list.

Of note, an additional 4 states allow a selective ability to appeal, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Colorado for example a wrongly named father can only appeal during a divorce or child support action. 2 states, New Hampshire plus California, have established commissions looking into the problem of paternity fraud.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approximately 46 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands make provisions allowing putative fathers to contest a notice claiming paternity. Of these States, approximately 13 allow revocation at any time. The link report is a year old, compiled during 2013 and that number is now up to 15 states.

Here in Washington we currently only have 60 days or less to contest a claim of paternity.

Once named, a non-parent has no right of appeal to that finding even in cases of duress, fraud and mistake of fact. This bill would no longer allow the state to deny an appeal of paternity once DNA testing has shown the wrong person has been named. Help pass SB 5006 / HB 1524.

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Just in time to start applying for retail cannabis licenses under I-502 in Washington state, federal agents raided several medical dispensaries Wednesday in a possible preview of things to come.

Neither story as reported by Q13 or King5 indicated what, if any, state resources were used in conjunction with the raids.

Even though medical cannabis has been legal in Washington since 1998 said reports indicate that these raids are the cumulation of a 2 year long investigation resulting in agents seizing $2500 worth of medical cannabis. Roughly 14 ounces depending on the exact sales price.

14 ounces.

This in a state that approved recreational cannabis under Initiative 502 during 2012 and is conservatively projecting a legal retail production figure in the 90 ton range for 2014. That’s 2,880,000 retail ounces for anyone keeping score.

When the feds indicated they, “… had bigger fish to fry,” apparently goldfish was the starting point being discussed. Holding up a minnow and posing for pictures isn’t exactly what we had in mind. Here in the pacific northwest we would call that bait. Perhaps the fishing is not as good where the DEA lives.

Details about forthcoming charges or reasons for the raids so far have been withheld. Though I doubt viewer ratings is among them. If the DEA wanted to impress Washington voters it would be securing the border against B.C. smugglers that are undermining our retail market eh?

Unfortunately, these raids do raise the specter of what might happen once retail cannabis production, distribution and retail companies begin to operate later this year.

I suppose the first corporation to open more than one franchise outlet will be the next big raid. The headlines are not hard to imagine as they shut down, “… an illegal state wide distribution ring,” while exposing separately taxed processor and transportation networks to boot. Just pitching one case after another underhand to federal attorneys.

It’s easy to imagine that mass raids without state law enforcement support would be impractical or a drain on federal prosecutors state wide. However photocopying IRS and inventory records a year from now from a legal market would cost more ink than overtime in my opinion. 24/7 inside/outside video coverage in 45 day blocks of time is a convenient regulatory touch added to any case, free of charge. The lab testing THC content for labeling regs authenticates recorded video content rather well. Also free of charge to prosecutors since the producer pays for that.

Neat huh?

The continued lack of action from our state representatives certainly isn’t helping things along either. It will be interesting to see how that plays out during the next election season. If the personal beliefs of our politicians do not allow them to represent their voters then we really do need to elect people that may disagree but will still do the job they applied for in the first place.

As an abstract I don’t see these raids doing much good even if these clinics were operating in violation of state regs somehow. Black-market producers are only going to be further encouraged to remain so. A potentially discouraged legal market might be unable to meet retail demand. That can only result in increased black-market production as the financial rewards grow with each grow.

If the federal government insists on shutting down our retail market in the coming months then the only way to decrease illegal black-market activity left to Washington state voters is to just let people grow their own and call it good. Let the feds knock door to door after that.

The last in a series of public hearings held by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) about regulations regarding I-502 are scheduled for August 6th, 7th and 8th. While we have to wait and see what affect these raids might have on license applications it is easy to assume that questions regarding them will be brought up.

Check the provided link for location information nearest you.

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The revised draft of regulations for I-502 has been released by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) and is available as a PDF from the state website.

Grabbing headlines under the new regulations is our “Produced in Washington” icon has been removed from the proposal. No immediate replacement was included with the new labeling revisions but the LCB has indicated it is already working on a new logo that does not tarnish our state image. Rumors we might use Idaho’s image instead in retaliation for years of lost tobacco tax revenue are unconfirmed.

Idaho Green

Another new change being reported is that outdoor growing will be allowed under the new revisions. Why exactly that is getting so much print when nothing outside grows here during the winter is a mystery. The new rules would also require an 8′ solid fence and 24 hour video surveillance so you can watch deer jump over and rabbits go under to eat your plants.

How a lower yielding, slower growing, at risk to the elements outdoor crop restricted to an annual grow window east of the Cascades would even pay for the fencing alone remains unexplained by media reports.

Hemp production that does have a profit potential outdoors in Eastern Washington is not covered under I-502. Stalks that could be used as a secondary industrial product must instead be destroyed by the producer/distributor further reducing profit potential for both indoor and outdoor grows.

Also not covered under I-502 is Medical cannabis, and for a very good reason. Under the Washington State Constitution an initiative can only address one subject at a time. If two subjects are addressed under one initiative it then becomes unconstitutional and is deemed void.

For this reason I am very distressed when the LCB starts talking about adding new regulations under these draft rules regulating medically prescribed cannabis. If the LCB is allowed to do so then that opens the door to a later lawsuit halting the initiative. I-502 would then be addressing both recreational cannabis and medical cannabis making the entire initiative unconstitutional and void.

We wouldn’t have to worry about the Feds stepping in later since the new laws would already have been rolled back to 2012 making recreational cannabis illegal again.

Besides, our Liquor Control Board has no place regulating the medical prescription industry to begin with. Simply because there is a recreational use for a certain product is a very weak excuse that does not stand up. Where does medical cannabis end and prescription painkillers start? I am surprised that Washington state doctors are not raising a fuss about that.

And as if thousands upon thousands of dollars in cameras and computer servers isn’t enough to tip your budget we have another change. All Financiers of these new businesses must meet a three month residency requirement. That means no funding from outside the state is allowed making it even harder to get one started.

All in all the revised draft rules for I-502 is in my estimation a line by line guarantee that the retail market will fail after the opening surge. Over priced retail cannabis and no home growing allowed is only going to encourage a larger black-market than we had before.

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NSA & Snowden

June 26, 2013

Welcome to the West Report blog

The National Security Agency (NSA) is home to America’s code-makers and code-breakers. It is their job to gather signals intelligence (SIGINT) in order to gain a decision making advantage for the U.S. and our allies under all circumstances.

So what’s all the controversy about? From media reports, the National Security Agency has;

     “…collected millions of phone records from accounts in the United States along with signals intelligence from U.S. companies on the internet activity of overseas residents.”

And? The NSA gets to listen in, I don’t have a problem with that. Requesting and collecting intelligence is what the Agency is supposed to do. It isn’t hacking into these companies then data strip mining them.

Not that I know of anyway.

If they are just being nice by asking after the fact then hey, great job, keep up the good work. Either way the NSA is not gathering all this intelligence then posting up fun facts about random people on their twitter feed.

And a federal agency tracking my internet activity doesn’t really concern me either. I’ve been cleaning cookies out of my PC that do the exact same thing since windows 95. Nothing new there and it is kind of nice to know who’s collecting them for a change. I’ll type a thank you NSA email this evening and send it to myself.

I’m sure they’ll get it.

I’m much more concerned with banks and public corporations that keep getting hacked while losing personal information to criminals affecting millions of people at a time. The NSA has credibility in excess. Google can’t even operate my youtube channel correctly. Between the two I know who I’m more comfortable with compiling meta-data on my internet usage and personal information.

On the whole I don’t see anything wrong with the NSA or its actions. What I do see as being wrong is calling Snowden a whistle blower.

The guy didn’t send evidence to his Congressman then hide in the hills waiting on word from his lawyer. He infiltrated our government with the intention of stealing secrets and making them public.

That is espionage.

Last reports put the guy in Russia while he seeks somewhere that will grant him asylum. Presumably to then await book deals and highest bids on movie rights.

I wonder if we have anyone the Israelis might want in trade. You know, just in case he happens to show up in their custody sometime.

Doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

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The West Report
The opinions expressed in The West Report are the author’s own. Feel free to repost or share, we just ask you credit or link to this article as a source.