Feb 28: Feb Dinner Speaker Chris Morrissey

The February  Speaker is Chris Morrissey, a contractor-owner of Morrissey Construction. He is the builder for the non-profit Coffee Oasis, has stories to tell about Code Enforcement, waste, and fraud. The dinner will be at our new location of Dennys 5004 Kitsap Way, Bremerton at 5PM on Thurs Feb 28.

Idaho court refuses to look the other way as agencies try to avoid democratic accountability

Unelected bureaucrats hold tremendous power over us, thanks to decades of Congress delegating evermore authority subject to the vaguest of constraints. However, Congress has imposed some checks on federal bureaucrats to ensure a modicum of democratic accountability over the administrative state. One of those checks is the Congressional Review Act, which requires agencies to submit every rule they wish to impose on us to our elected representatives in Congress for review.

The CRA experienced a renaissance in 2017, with Congress disapproving sixteen burdensome and controversial rules. However, as PLF has long pointed out, many more rules must still undergo this scrutiny, thanks to decades of agencies simply ignoring the CRA’s requirements. There are literally thousands of rules being enforced today that have never received even this minimal democratic scrutiny.

Thanks to a decision last night from the District Court for the District of Idaho, those rules may finally receive the scrutiny they deserve. Representing ranchers unlawfully subject to controversial rules regarding the greater sage grouse, PLF sued the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, demanding that they finally send these rules to Congress as required. Indicative of how adamantly opposed agencies are to democratic oversight, the government sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that agency violations of the CRA—no matter how clear cut—cannot be reviewed by any court.

In this case, the Court recognized that argument for what it is—a claim that agencies are free to behave lawlessly—and squarely rejected it. “[W]ithout review,” the Court explained, “an agency would frankly have no reason to comply with the CRA.” The Court continued: “[I]f the agency never submits its plans—as required—the Court is troubled with Defendants’ position that essentially any rule or law can go into effect without oversight or approval and there is no legal remedy available[.]” Continue reading

Owners of Dewatto Bay tideland property take state to court

In court filings, the state has noted that if the court finds that the Iddings have legal title to the tidelands, the state can still take them without compensating the Iddings, since for decades the public has harvested on those tidelands. State lawmakers this month have filed bills in the Senate and House of Representatives that would restrict how the state goes about acquiring lands through this process, known as adverse possession.

Read the Feb 2 2019 Kitsap Sun article here

 

 

Supreme Court vindicates all Americans’ right to be free from excessive fines

The Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being excessively fined by all levels of government in this country—not just the federal government. The decision in this case, Timbs v. Indiana, is a significant victory that limits the abusive use of fees and fines by state and local officials—abuse that frequently targets the most vulnerable in society.

This case, litigated by our friends at Institute for Justice, started when the State of Indiana tried to take Tyson Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover, on top of other punishments, for his violation of a drug law. Yet the maximum fine in cases like Timbs’s is $10,000 in Indiana.

Recognizing this obvious disparity, the trial court and court of appeal found that the confiscation of Timbs’s vehicle would violate the Eighth Amendment’s protection from excessive fines. But the Indiana Supreme Court reversed those decisions, holding that the U.S. Constitution does not protect individuals from excessive fines imposed by state or local government actors. Continue reading

Proposed Revision to Title 2 Code Compliance

The Kitsap County Department of Community Development is working on a proposed revision to County Code Title 2 Code Compliance (Entry Policy 020719 DDL ) specifically to the requirements needed to enter private property to investigate possible code compliance issues. They are proposing to hold a public hearing on March 11 at the 5:30 PM Board of County Commissioners Evening meeting, Commissioner Chambers, County Admin Building, 610 division St, Port Orchard.

State Law and the State constitution are very specific about what a County inspector can do without the owner’s permission.  RCW 59.18 Residential Landlord –Tenant Act

Support House Bill 1213

AN ACT Relating to granting local governments the authority to make challenges related to growth management planning subject to direct review in superior court.

The legislature finds that local elected officials are appropriately responsible and responsive to their citizens regarding land use decisions within their communities. The legislature also finds that citizens of these local governments have suffered significant financial and other costs resulting from reviews of disputes by the growth management hearings board that are subsequently resolved in a court of law. The legislature intends to relieve this additive burden of process by allowing jurisdictions with fewer government resources the ability to seek judicial interpretations of the growth management act without the costly and time-consuming practice of an initial review by the growth management hearings board.

HB 1213 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/…/Bills/House%20Bills/1213.pdf

 

Jan 31: KAPO Dinner at new location

We have a new location for our monthly Dinners; the Bremerton Dennys 5004 Kitsap Way Bremerton WA.

Our January  speaker is Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler. “As Mayor of Bremerton I was elected to make positive changes for Bremerton. One of the issues I heard from the community during the campaign was that citizens were concerned about the increasing costs of housing for all income levels in our community. The laws of supply and demand dictate that when housing demand outpaces supply prices go up and for many, regardless of income, housing becomes less and less affordable. As a local government, Bremerton can affect the supply by supporting initiatives that create more housing. In addition, as local leaders we can make sure that there are programs and funding strategies in place to support our most vulnerable population and ensure that there are measures taken to support the creation and maintenance of low income housing, which is often referred to as “deeply affordable housing.”

“I have made it one of my goals this year to address affordable housing and have given direction to my administration to implement policies and funding strategies that lead to the creation of more housing for all income levels in the City. I also will be proposing funding in my 2019 budget for programs that support deeply affordable housing. I believe that the initiatives I have outlined here  will increase economic development and produce a variety of housing types for our community.”

Please join us for dinner on Thursday January 31 2019, 5:00PM at Bremerton Dennys 5004 Kitsap Way Bremerton WA.