Posted by: sweeneyblog | September 19, 2012

Rep. Jason Overstreet’s Record

Over the last couple of months, I have been poring over Rep. Jason Overstreet’s voting record and I am having a hard time writing about it. Why, you ask? Because usually I try to inject a little levity into my political writing and frankly, there is nothing funny about Overstreet’s record. In fact, it is downright troubling.

Overstreet at the County Convention

Sure there are the usual Republican votes to cut social services, his votes to gut education funding and disenfranchise working people of their rights, I expected all that. I even expected the circular logic argument of biblical authority he used to vote against marriage equality. What horrified me was the sheer number of votes against bills that were just common sense.

For instance in 2011, State Senator Scott White (D-Seattle) introduced a bill that would target violence toward the homeless.  The bill (SB 5011) was in response to the killing of David Ballenger, who was beaten to death under a freeway overpass by a gang of teenagers. He was targeted because he was homeless. White’s legislation, in layman’s terms, would have added “thought they were homeless” to the list of reasons of aggravated assault. The bill sailed through the Senate with an unanimous vote (49-0), but when it came to the House, Rep. Jason Overstreet was the sole vote against. The bill was promptly signed into law by Gov. Gregoire and now we can better protected our most vulnerable from assault.

Rep. Jason Overstreet is proud of his record

But this wasn’t the only example of Overstreet’s extreme record. On March 23rd of 2011, he voted against a bill that would have helped ensure our children’s health. Washington state has one of the highest percentages of non-immunized children in school, and this bill (ESB 5005) would have strengthened the requirements you need to meet if you want to exempt your children from getting immunizations. Shorter version, he wanted to make it easier for sick kids to go to school. This bill had bipartisan support and sailed through both chambers but not before Overstreet could vote against it. You can watch him rail against it on video here.

Next was his vote against protecting our children from lead paint-coated toys. A bill was introduced (EHB2821) that would have prohibited the production and sale of children’s toys with harmful levels of toxins. That was too much government interference with private enterprise for Overstreet, he voted against it on April 6th of this year. He won’t even stand up to protect our children from toxic toys? You can see how I was having difficulty approaching this post, it was just too horrifying to tackle.

If  Overstreet believes all these bills are worth squashing, what does he believe government should be doing? I looked at the bills he has sponsored in the time he has been in Olympia, and it is pretty disappointing. In his time in Olympia, Overstreet has been the primary sponsor of seven bills. Of those, only one was actually signed into law, a relatively benign piece of legislation (SHB1145) dealing with mail theft that would make the possession of stolen mail a crime. Of the ones that didn’t pass, there was a bill that would set up a standard time for legislative sessions to begin (HB1207), and a bill to change the maximum vehicle length from 40ft to 46ft (HB2430)

Beyond that was a string of rather alarming bills. There was a bill that would mandate the government compensate private citizens for government action that changed the value of their private property (HB1671). While a good idea in theory, the sheer volume of payouts, calculations and complexities would easily bankrupt our state. There was a bill concerning how the state deals with unlawful detentions (HB2759) that I am pretty sure violated federal authority, and another bill about cottage farms (HB 2551). A cottage farm is basically a food packaging business run out of someone’s kitchen, therefore bypassing a good chunk of health inspection and labor laws. Overstreet’s bill would have removed the limit on gross sales so Wal-Mart could run it’s entire packaging operation out of someone’s kitchen.

And of course, there was the bill he co-sponsored and repeatedly brags about, the Gold and Silver Legal Tender Act of Washington State (HB2731). This would allow you to pay your bills with gold coins. I wish I was joking, but no. This would exempt gold dealers from a good deal of tax and allow you to pay your garbage bill with whatever gold doubloons you happen to have handy. This is an easy one to poke fun at (Leprechaun Economics!) but I think the real issue is that Overstreet is wasting his time, and our taxpayer dollars, on issues that are not important. Where are the jobs? Where is the support for our industries up here? Where are the transportation dollars, or the education funding? Where are the efforts to protect our clean drinking water and ensure our economic future? If you look at the issues page on his campaign website, Jobs and the Economy aren’t his top issues. In fact, they don’t even crack the top three!

While I appreciate a protest vote here or there, we elected our representatives to do the people’s work. That involves compromise, moderation and fighting for what’s right for Whatcom County. If Overstreet wants to pontificate on constitutional principles, by all means, get a blog and talk. But we are paying your salary because we expect you to work, and your record shows that you aren’t working for Whatcom County.

So this November, set aside the rhetoric and take a look at what your representatives have actually done. Based on Overstreet’s record, I’ll be voting for Natalie McClendon.



  1. “The sheer volume of payouts”-take a look at Obamacare.

    • Obamacare reduces the deficit by 127 billion dollars in the next ten years. What Obamacare are you talking about?

      • Obamacare does not reduce the deficit by 127 billion in 10 years. The numbers are being revised every 6 months and it hasn’t even started yet. They are collecting the dollars and setting up the structure, but the faucet hasn’t been turned on yet.
        When has “any” government funded social program come in as budgeted? Obamacare will collapse the private insurance industry and likely collapse the U.S. economy. Is that what you want Riley? An ever expanding government or a government reduced to a “sustainable” size that the tax paying citizen’s can actually afford and have the ability to provide for themselves, their family and their retirement?

      • There is a reason Economics is the most abused science, it’s because data isn’t even remotely useful until about six months after the fact, The CBO is the authority most people use for economic predictions, which is where Riley’s numbers come from. Ms. Bingham if you want an example of a government funded social program that came in as budgeted? How about TARP? (I am not a fan on principle) but the program is coming in better then budgeted, if you want a closer example Social Security would have been well within budget if it’s funds hadn’t been raided for Vietnam and every liability after it.

        I am getting side tracked though, the point I would make is that if you want real economic data you have to wait until a year or two out to get correct data. Otherwise your just speculating.

      • Are you kidding? The Affordable Care Act dictates policies to private insurers while expanding the market for that same product. It’s not a government funded social program in any sense of the word. Is it foolish to allow private insurers to corner the market for health care dollars? You bet. Medicare for all would be so much better.
        One requirement of the act is refunding excess premium dollars to policy holders right now – ever seen that happen before?

  2. Overstreet seems to serve the narrow base of religious zealots that elected him to office. But looking at his pathetic voting record, one can only assume there’s not really any base that wants what he’s dishing up.
    He’s just a poser like the rest of the Republican Tea People in office that sit on their hands and do nothing to the delight of those few that believe doing nothing is best.
    Mr. Galt is correct though when he warns of massive payouts due to the Affordable Care Act.
    Americans received over a billion dollars in refunds this year for overages on their health insurance premiums that were in excess of benefits paid.

    • Yes, but those checks don’t come from the government, they come from the insurance companies that overcharged their clients.

      • That would be my point.

      • The overcharging does not imply it was intentional. Claims can come in lower than priced for by the actuaries.

        The irony is that the bill actually will result in higher gross premiums. Insurers must rebate if they pay out less than the required percentage in claims. They get no relief if they pay out more. And, they get to invest the money before returning it. For policyholders, it is akin to overwithholding on your income tax–something the U.S. Treasury loves. And, most taxpayers enjoy the refund even though it is poor planning.

        The beauty of it is to reduce the percentage that can be charged as expenses to the policyowners,

    • Before the Affordable Care Act, that money would go into the corporate jet or any other outrageous self-compensation the thieves that run the company could dream-up. Having a rebate of any kind assumes the overage is under the control of the payee until it’s returned to the payer. Higher premiums since they are capped by actual benefits spending? OK, but the market acts on that nonsense as well. Any way you look at it, it’s better than what came before.

  3. Great work on digging up this voting record, Riley. Pretty sad representation. He certainly doesn’t represent anything even remotely like good government or growth in the area.

  4. […] race against Rep. Larsen, and what he really thinks of Citizen’s United. Also, in the wake of my examination of Rep. Jason Overstreet’s record (which you really should read, if you haven’t yet), I have a similar examination coming out […]

  5. […] week, I did a blow-by-blow report on Rep. Jason Overstreet’s record. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. Now I take an equally close look at Rep. Vincent […]

  6. […] Rep. Jason Overstreet thinks his race is already won. After purchasing $3.6K of radio spots on KGMI and  $3K of radio […]

  7. […] Setting aside the presidency, of all the close races this year (Inslee/McKenna, Krogh/Buys, McClendon/Overstreet, I-502, etc), if I could only win one of those races which would it be? Vote Yes on Ref. […]

  8. […] Tucked between marriage equality and legalization of marijuana, but before you get to governor, or Jason Overstreet, there are some “Senate Joint Resolutions” and “Advisory Vote of the […]

  9. […] Legislature, District 42, Position 1: Natalie McClendon. Did you have any doubt? Can anyone look at Rep. Jason Overstreet’s record and say, “Wow, heck of a job!” Natalie and I have had our […]

  10. […] discover that Matt Krogh paid more to his campaign staff ($7,750) than Vincent Buys ($5,645) while Jason Overstreet seems to have no campaign staff at all except for a treasurer. Krogh is heavily invested in […]

  11. […] Now there are all the accusations of “tokenism” and poor little Jason Overstreet being “belittled for his passionate defense of the Constitution,” but really that is […]

  12. Regarding the immunizations, I completely agree with what he said….and you all should too! Get educated from both sides people…and do not agree (whether you vaccinate or not) that a parent should be forced to have anything injected into their child’s body!!!

    • But that’s not what the law was about. That’s why it was so ridiculous. All this law did was ensure that if you were going to choose not to vaccinate your child . . you had to have a conversation with a doctor first. It is essential, especially in light of the Whooping Cough outbreak that hit Whatcom County this year, that adults make informed careful decisions about the health of their children. Jason Overstreet would rather they stay in the dark.

      • Yes, I got that. If you are going to the extent to ask for an exemption form, you are pretty aware of the pros and cons of vaccination. We should not have to go get a signature from a doctor regarding it. I don’t think Jason Overstreet was wanting anyone to stay in the dark. I think he was standing up for us, as parents, who are capable of making such decisions without a doctors office pushing their UNDER researched and bias views on us.

  13. […] there is precisely one state legislator that has a record more extreme than Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys. His name is Matt Shea out of Spokane and his race recently went from “Not […]

  14. […] Rep. Jason Overstreet‘s pirate-like obsession with gold has spread to Montana, where state representative Jerry O’Neil (R-of course) has demanded that his legislative salary be paid entirely in gold or silver. Yes, seriously. Look, I know there are concerns about inflation and currency manipulation but let me lay this out for you. Right now, the gold market is a scam, pushed on right-wing radio designed to artificially inflate the price of gold. Anyways, it is always rare and oddly reassuring when I find a legislative district with members more out there than my own. […]

  15. […] news from just about everyone except . . . one of the people who represents Ferndale in Olympia: Jason Overstreet. Yes, even Rep. Vincent Buys and Sen. Doug Ericksen found it within themselves to fund a brand new […]

  16. […] of 2012 . . . and guess who made the top slot? That’s right, Jason Overstreet’s Leprechaun economics. It is good to know that while the 42nd legislative district delegation (Overstreet, Buys and […]

  17. […] have been filed by our Whatcom County representatives so far. Last year, I did articles detailing Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys‘ records. This year, I plan to do a running update on what bills the 40th […]

  18. […] effort. A common sense solution to a problem in our county. Naturally, neither Rep. Vincent Buys or Rep. Jason Overstreet’s names are anywhere near this. They aren’t sponsors, and I would be very curious if they will […]

  19. […] up, Rep. Jason Overstreet continues his trend of not caring about the welfare of children. Last session, he voted against protecting our children […]

  20. No state shall make any thing but gold and silver coin legal payment for the tender of debts…

    If you don’t know where a phrase to that effect appears, you should not be voting.

    • Article 1, section 10. But we live in the real world where paying every electricity bill with gold doubloons is no longer practical or remotely feasible. Time to get serious and not waste time on this pointless posturing.

      • I thought we lived in the real world where the state was expected to follow the rule of law. If it’s not appropriate, there’s a process for changing it.

  21. […] should not be a surprise to anyone who has read my reporting on Rep. Overstreet‘s and Rep. Buys‘ legislative agenda. Whether it is mandating that County bills be paid […]

  22. […] the founding documents. There is even one, right here in this room, that has mocked it as ‘Leprechaun Economics‘!” The crowd harrumphed as Overstreet continued. “Applying the timeless truths in […]

  23. […] budget before now. This is what I think about every time Rep. Overstreet introduces a bill about paying your county taxes with gold coins or Sen. Ericksen justifies how many free steak dinners he is getting from lobbyists; is this really […]

  24. […] has never lacked legislative ambition. Over the last three years he’s been in office, he has sponsored a diverse spread of legislation including a bills allowing food producers to bypass certain health standards, increasing the […]

  25. […] week, we broke the news that our local gold-enthusiast turned state Representative Jason Overstreet was no longer seeking reelection, leaving an open seat […]

  26. […] for the race for the open seat vacated by Leprechaun-economist Jason Overstreet, two candidates are going to get knocked out of the running. Currently Democratic candidate Satpal […]

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