Newsletter: The right to protest does not include blocking access to SeaTac

Plus, watching out for the drug 40 times stronger than fentanyl

The right to protest does not include blocking access to our busiest airport

Friends and Neighbors,

In response to the pro-Palestinian protest that blocked access to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week, I shared the following statement.

“People have the right to peaceably protest, but they don’t have the right to put themselves and drivers at risk by blocking access to our busiest airport. I understand that the point is to cause a disturbance in a highly visible location, but disrupting transportation and commerce like this is illegal and does nothing to further anyone’s cause. Travelers should not have had to get out of their cars and walk the rest of the way to get to the airport to make their flights or pick up loved ones.

“I hope the governor and the attorney general condemn the protest as well. If not because it falsely accused Israel of committing genocide and fed antisemitic sentiment, then simply because it is dangerous and against the law. Republicans sponsored legislation this year to make this kind of thing illegal, but Democrats killed it. Washington deserves better.”


John Braun


We must be proactive against drug 40 times more potent than fentanyl

Everyone knows the abuse of opioids such as fentanyl is a crisis that reaches every corner of Washington.

A report from the Washington State Department of Health (January 2024) revealed that out of the 2,001 opioid overdose deaths in 2022, 1,803 (90%) of those were due to fentanyl alone.

During 2023, among children in our state’s child welfare system, we saw 49 incidents where a child died or nearly died from exposure to fentanyl.

Now we are finding out that the use of another dangerous “designer drug” is on the rise, and it is hundreds to thousands of times more potent than morphine and 10 to 40 times stronger than fentanyl. Like fentanyl, it is a synthetic opioid. It’s called nitazine.

We must treat this emerging threat with the seriousness it deserves by attacking it in the Legislature before it reaches the threat level that fentanyl has under the Democrats’ policies that legalized hard drugs.

Nitazine was created in the 1950s as a possible painkiller option, but the FDA never approved it for medical use. Illegal laboratories have used historical research to resurrect the drug. The federal government considers it a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no medical purpose and is at high risk of abuse.

I am exploring options for bills to sponsor to combat nitazine and to continue the battle against fentanyl. Despite resistance and apathy from the Democrat chair of the House’s Community Safety, Justice and Reentry toward Sen. Lynda Wilson’s bill that would have made it a felony to expose children to fentanyl, I will sponsor similar legislation during the 2025 legislative session that will apply to both fentanyl and nitazine.

The use of these drugs is causing serious societal decay that has a high cost for us all — physically, emotionally and financially. We can’t let people continue to die because those in the majority won’t do everything possible to fight this ongoing tragedy.


Fighting building fees driving up the cost of housing

If you’ve built a home recently, you may have spent thousands of dollars on impact-mitigation fees to acquire the necessary permits.

However, the Supreme Court of the United States recently decided unanimously that conditions placed on building permits are subject to a higher level of scrutiny. It also ruled that fees like those described above must match the public’s goals.

The decision was in a case out of California where a landowner wanted to build a home on his property and was charged a fee of more than $23,000 to supposedly help offset the impact his construction would have on the area’s roads.

The SCOTUS ruled that this violated the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against the undue taking of property without compensation. Specifically, it said, “The Takings Clause applies equally to both — which means that it prohibits legislatures and agencies alike from imposing unconstitutional conditions on land-use permits.”

Although we will have to wait to see how this affects similar fees here in Washington, this is a win for property owners, renters and builders because new fees imposed by legislatures and local governments will be subject to a two-part fairness test that will prevent those fees from adding to the cost of housing.


In case you missed it, read my recent column on the Green Hill School

To put it bluntly, Green Hill School has nowhere to go but up. Read more in my column that appeared in The Chronicle on April 12.


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