NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Patty Murray, Kim Schrier release new ads in wake of Alito court’s Dobbs decision

Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray and Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er announced this after­noon that their reelec­tion cam­paigns have begun air­ing new tele­vi­sion spots that respond to the Ali­to court’s hor­rif­ic and appalling deci­sion over­turn­ing Roe v. Wade and Planned Par­ent­hood v. Casey.

In the spots, Mur­ray and Schri­er speak direct­ly to vot­ers in a sin­gle take, empha­siz­ing that they are unequiv­o­cal­ly com­mit­ted to repro­duc­tive rights, while not­ing that their oppo­nents are not. Here’s Mur­ray’s “Won’t Back Down” ad:

Mur­ray: “It is a hor­ri­fy­ing real­i­ty – extreme politi­cians across our coun­try, now in charge of the most pri­vate health­care deci­sions. The Supreme Court may have ruled. But it’s up to us to make sure they don’t get the final word. I won’t stop fight­ing until we guar­an­tee repro­duc­tive free­dom for every Amer­i­can. We will not be still. We will not be silent. We will not back down.”

And here’s Schri­er’s “Oath” ad:

Schri­er: As a doc­tor, my oath is to pro­tect patients. As your con­gress­woman, my oath is to pro­tect your rights. Now that the Court has over­turned Roe, Con­gress must pro­tect a wom­an’s right to choose. We should trust women to make these deci­sions, espe­cial­ly if a moth­er’s life is at risk, or in cas­es of rape or incest. I’m Kim Schri­er and I am the only can­di­date in this race who will pro­tect a wom­an’s right to choose. I approve this mes­sage because I’ll nev­er break my oath to you.

One of Schri­er’s Repub­li­can oppo­nents, King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Rea­gan Dunn, went up on cable yes­ter­day with this ad that tries to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pitch his can­di­da­cy while serv­ing up crit­i­cism of Schri­er and Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. The ad makes no men­tion of repro­duc­tive rights, a cause Dunn has pre­vi­ous­ly bro­ken with his par­ty on (as his moth­er did before him), but now oppos­es.

Mur­ray’s cam­paign also has a sec­ond ad, “Abor­tion Ban,” that draws a clear con­trast between her posi­tion and that of Repub­li­can Tiffany Smiley’s.

Dr. Judy Kimel­man, MD: “Now that the Supreme Court has over­turned Roe v. Wade and states across the nation are ban­ning abor­tion. You think women’s repro­duc­tive health care is safe here in Wash­ing­ton? Not with Mitch McConnell’s hand­picked can­di­date Tiffany Smi­ley in the Senate.”

Audio of Tiffany Smi­ley plays where Smi­ley states: “I’m 100% pro-life.”

“Tiffany Smiley’s first vote will be to make Mitch McConnell major­i­ty leader and they will work togeth­er to ban abor­tions nation­wide. Don’t take my word. Believe Tiffany Smiley.”

Audio of Tiffany Smi­ley plays where Smi­ley states: “I’m 100% pro-life.”

NPI’s most recent statewide sur­vey found Mur­ray with an eleven point lead over Smi­ley. Mur­ray has won five con­sec­u­tive cam­paigns for the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, dat­ing back to 1992, when she was first elect­ed. Schri­er, mean­while, has won two con­sec­u­tive cam­paigns in the state’s 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, defeat­ing Repub­li­cans Dino Rossi and Jesse Jensen. Jensen is run­ning against Schri­er this year along with Dunn and failed attor­ney gen­er­al can­di­date Matt Larkin.

Vot­ers across Wash­ing­ton will get their Top Two elec­tion bal­lots in less than a month, and will cast votes for U.S. Sen­ate and U.S. House, as well as for Sec­re­tary of State, state leg­isla­tive races, and coun­ty positions.

Friday, June 24th, 2022

Alito court overturns Roe v. Wade, allowing states to criminalize reproductive rights

An extrem­ist, far-right wing bloc on the Unit­ed States Supreme Court today over­turned one of the most impor­tant legal hold­ings in U.S. his­to­ry, decree­ing that Amer­i­cans lack the free­dom to make their own repro­duc­tive health­care deci­sions and that states can crim­i­nal­ize abor­tion care.

Authored by Samuel Ali­to, the major­i­ty opin­ion over­turn­ing Roe and Planned Par­ent­hood v. Casey was joined by Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gor­such, and Amy Coney Bar­rett, Don­ald Trump’s appointees. Clarence Thomas and John Roberts filed con­cur­ring opin­ions, with Thomas mak­ing it clear he’d like to see oth­er prece­dents, like Oberge­fell, over­turned next. Sonia Sotomay­or, Stephen Brey­er, and Ele­na Kagan (the remain­ing lib­er­al jus­tices) all dissented.

A draft opin­ion also authored by Ali­to leaked out of the Supreme Court sev­er­al weeks ago and was pub­lished by Politi­co, fore­shad­ow­ing today’s decision. 

The Con­sti­tu­tion does not pro­hib­it the cit­i­zens of each State from reg­u­lat­ing or pro­hibiting abor­tion,” Ali­to asserts in the con­clud­ing pas­sage of his opin­ion’s syl­labus.Roe and Casey arro­gat­ed that author­i­ty. The Court over­rules those deci­sions and returns that author­i­ty to the peo­ple and their elect­ed representatives.”

“The major­i­ty tries to hide the geo­graph­i­cal­ly expan­sive effects of its hold­ing,” Sotomay­or, Brey­er, and Kagan said in reply.

“Today’s deci­sion, the major­i­ty says, per­mits ‘each State’ to address abor­tion as it pleas­es. That is cold com­fort, of course, for the poor woman who can­not get the mon­ey to fly to a dis­tant State for a pro­ce­dure. Above all oth­ers, women lack­ing finan­cial resources will suf­fer from today’s decision.”

“In any event, inter­state restric­tions will also soon be in the off­ing. After this deci­sion, some States may block women from trav­el­ing out of State to obtain abor­tions, or even from receiv­ing abor­tion med­ica­tions from out of State.”

“Some may crim­i­nal­ize efforts, includ­ing the pro­vi­sion of infor­ma­tion or fund­ing, to help women gain access to oth­er States’ abor­tion services.”

“Most threat­en­ing of all, no lan­guage in today’s deci­sion stops the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment from pro­hibit­ing abor­tions nation­wide, once again from the moment of con­cep­tion and with­out excep­tions for rape or incest. If that hap­pens, ‘the views of [an indi­vid­ual State’s] cit­i­zens’ will not matter.”

“It’s a sad day for the court and the coun­try,” Pres­i­dent Joe Biden said in remarks at the White House after the deci­sion was released on the Supreme Court’s web­site. “I believe Roe v. Wade was the cor­rect deci­sion as a mat­ter of con­sti­tu­tion­al law and appli­ca­tion of a fun­da­men­tal right to pri­va­cy and lib­er­ty in mat­ters of fam­i­ly and per­son­al autonomy.”

But after near­ly fifty years, Roe is gone. It’s the first time in at least the mod­ern his­to­ry of the Unit­ed States that a major right pre­vi­ous­ly rec­og­nized and pro­tect­ed by the Court has been tak­en away. And the Court’s right wing bloc clear­ly intends to go much fur­ther and over­turn more prece­dents in the months and years to come. Clarence Thomas is gid­dy: he can hard­ly wait.

“Today’s Supreme Court deci­sion is the cul­mi­na­tion of a coor­di­nat­ed Repub­li­can effort to roll back repro­duc­tive rights,” said Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers in a joint state­ment, includ­ing DNC Chair Jaime Harrison.

“The 2022 elec­tion will now deter­mine whether new, cru­el, and pun­ish­ing restric­tions will be imposed on women and families.”

“With Repub­li­cans in pow­er, states could make abor­tion ille­gal with­out excep­tions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.”

“Women and doc­tors could be charged crim­i­nal­ly. Oth­er pre­vi­ous­ly set­tled rights, like the right to con­tra­cep­tion and mar­riage equal­i­ty, could be threatened.”

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple don’t want any of this.”

Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi echoed those sen­ti­ments, declar­ing: “This cru­el rul­ing is out­ra­geous and heart-wrench­ing. But make no mis­take: the rights of women and all Amer­i­cans are on the bal­lot this November.”

“This is a sad and trag­ic day in Amer­i­ca,” said Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell.

“Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans are los­ing their rights to con­trol their own bod­ies and their own health­care. Despite decades of Repub­li­can Supreme Court nom­i­nees com­ing before the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee and say­ing that they believe Roe v. Wade is set­tled law, they have tak­en a sledge­ham­mer to the right to privacy.”

“Today, Repub­li­cans dragged this coun­try back­wards by half a cen­tu­ry,” said Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray. “Repub­li­cans ripped away our rights and made this gen­er­a­tion the first gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can women with few­er rights than their moth­ers. Repub­li­cans are forc­ing women to stay preg­nant and give birth when they don’t want to — no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances. Repub­li­cans are even pass­ing laws to jail women who get abor­tions and the doc­tors who pro­vide them.”

“And right here in the Sen­ate, it was Repub­li­cans who stacked our Supreme Court with anti-abor­tion jus­tices, who blocked Democ­rats’ efforts to pro­tect abor­tion rights, and who right now are push­ing for a fed­er­al abor­tion ban.”

“We knew this deci­sion was com­ing, but that does­n’t make it any less hor­ri­fy­ing,” said Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden.

“The Court has betrayed and defied the Amer­i­can peo­ple, who are right­ful­ly ter­ri­fied that the most pow­er­ful peo­ple in the coun­try are clear­ly eager to vio­late their pri­va­cy and the basic human right to con­trol their own bodies.”

“When you have to make the most inti­mate, per­son­al deci­sions that will impact your life and your health and body, I don’t know any­one who wants some politi­cian in the room,” said Sen­a­tor Jeff Merkley.

“Yet, that is exact­ly the impact of this Supreme Court opin­ion for mil­lions and mil­lions of Amer­i­cans, who sud­den­ly find an over­bear­ing gov­ern­ment dic­tat­ing their path. This assault on Amer­i­cans’ rights and free­dom is shocking.”

“After today, we will see the very real and dan­ger­ous con­se­quences across the coun­try of tak­ing away the right to safe and legal abor­tions. It’s on all of us – Mem­bers of Con­gress, med­ical pro­fes­sion­als, advo­cates, and vot­ers – to stand up against this night­mare vision of peo­ple forced to car­ry preg­nan­cies to term against their will.  Each one of us should have the free­dom to live our lives with­out politi­cians forc­ing their way into our bed­rooms and exam rooms.”

Abor­tion remains legal in Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon… for now.

Ida­ho, mean­while, already has a law in place set to go into effect crim­i­nal­iz­ing the exer­cise of repro­duc­tive rights. Ida­hoans will need to trav­el to Wash­ing­ton or Ore­gon in the months and years to come obtain abor­tion care through a clinic.

As not­ed by Speak­er Pelosi, Sen­a­tor Mur­ray, and oth­ers in their state­ments today, Repub­li­cans like Mike Pence are open­ly push­ing for a nation­wide ban on abor­tion and will not be con­tent with the Supreme Court’s action today.

This isn’t about allow­ing states to make their own laws. It’s the first step in cre­at­ing a dystopi­an future where nobody has the right to make their own repro­duc­tive deci­sions. It is no exag­ger­a­tion to say that extrem­ist Repub­li­cans want con­trol over the uterus of every Amer­i­can capa­ble of bear­ing a child. They’ll keep push­ing for­ward until they get what they want… unless they’re stopped.

We at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute are com­mit­ted to stop­ping that hor­rif­ic future and revers­ing the harm­ful actions of the Ali­to court. We agree with George Lakoff and oth­er thinkers that free­dom does­n’t stand still. If we do not expand free­dom, it will be con­tract­ed by rad­i­cal right wingers, as we saw today.

It is up to us — all of us — who believe in the right to pri­va­cy, the right to bod­i­ly auton­o­my, and the right to freely choose when and whether to repro­duce to work togeth­er to estab­lish explic­it con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions for these rights. That won’t be achiev­able overnight, but it’s a long term goal we must com­mit our­selves to. And in the short term, we must expand the Supreme Court to end the dark era to right wing judi­cial activism that is threat­en­ing the future of our country.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

After decades of inaction, U.S. Senate passes modest bipartisan gun safety package

Mod­est leg­is­la­tion that would final­ly — final­ly! — strength­en fed­er­al law to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from the scourge of gun vio­lence received a bipar­ti­san vote of sup­port today in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate, inter­rupt­ing a decades-long series of con­sec­u­tive fil­i­busters by Repub­li­cans against wor­thy gun safe­ty bills.

“Tonight, after twen­ty-eight years of inac­tion, bipar­ti­san mem­bers of Con­gress came togeth­er to heed the call of fam­i­lies across the coun­try and passed leg­is­la­tion to address the scourge of gun vio­lence in our com­mu­ni­ties,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. “Fam­i­lies in Uvalde and Buf­fa­lo — and too many trag­ic shoot­ings before — have demand­ed action. And tonight, we acted.”

“This bipar­ti­san leg­is­la­tion will help pro­tect Amer­i­cans. Kids in schools and com­mu­ni­ties will be safer because of it. The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives should prompt­ly vote on this bipar­ti­san bill and send it to my desk.”

“This is the most sig­nif­i­cant bill we have passed on gun vio­lence in decades,” agreed Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, the third-rank­ing Demo­c­rat in the Senate.

“This bill does not do every­thing we need to end gun vio­lence, but doing noth­ing was the most extreme option on the table. The Bipar­ti­san Safer Com­mu­ni­ties Act will save lives — and that mat­ters. With this bill, we are final­ly crack­ing down on gun deal­ers skirt­ing the rules, clos­ing the boyfriend loop­hole, and tak­ing steps to keep guns out of the hands of indi­vid­u­als who have no busi­ness own­ing a gun.”

“This bill also makes crit­i­cal invest­ments in men­tal health ser­vices but let me be clear: our gun vio­lence cri­sis is a gun prob­lem, not a men­tal health prob­lem,” Sen­a­tor Mur­ray added in a state­ment laud­ing the vote. “Pass­ing the Safer Com­mu­ni­ties Act is impor­tant and mean­ing­ful progress — but we have to do more: we need uni­ver­sal back­ground checks, a ban on assault weapons, and a stronger com­mit­ment to com­mu­ni­ty vio­lence inter­ven­tion programs.”

“On behalf of the House, we applaud the Sen­ate for pass­ing its gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion pack­age on a strong bipar­ti­san vote,” said Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, express­ing relief to see the Sen­ate over­com­ing its usu­al paralysis.

“First thing tomor­row morn­ing, the Rules Com­mit­tee will meet to advance this life-sav­ing leg­is­la­tion to the Floor,” the Speak­er pledged. “When the Rules Com­mit­tee fin­ish­es its busi­ness, we will head imme­di­ate­ly to the Floor. And we will send the bill to Pres­i­dent Biden for his sig­na­ture, with grat­i­tude for his leadership.”

The Speak­er’s announce­ment indi­cates that House lead­er­ship is firm­ly com­mit­ted to mov­ing at light­ning speed to get the bill out of Con­gress so that not anoth­er week of inac­tion elaps­es. In the span of less than a day, this bill will have cleared both cham­bers of Con­gress. The House has already adopt­ed leg­is­la­tion that would go fur­ther than the Bipar­ti­san Safer Com­mu­ni­ties Act, so there is no ques­tion that Democ­rats will have the votes to get this bill through.

But how many Repub­li­cans will join them? That remains to be seen. Unlike Mitch McConnell, who backed the bill, Kevin McCarthy has decid­ed to con­tin­ue to be part of the prob­lem instead of get­ting on board with mak­ing even minor changes.

The final vote on the Bipar­ti­san Safer Com­mu­ni­ties Act was 65–33, and the roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID), Steve Daines (MT), Dan Sul­li­van (AK)

The fif­teen Repub­li­cans who backed the bill were:

  1. Lisa Murkows­ki, Alaska
  2. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
  3. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania
  4. Todd Young, Indiana
  5. John Cornyn, Texas
  6. Lind­sey Gra­ham, South Carolina
  7. Thom Tillis, North Carolina
  8. Mitt Rom­ney, Utah
  9. Rob Port­man, Ohio
  10. Joni Ernst, Iowa
  11. Susan Collins, Maine
  12. Bill Cas­sidy, Louisiana
  13. Shel­ley Moore Capi­to, West Virginia
  14. Roy Blunt, Missouri
  15. Richard Burr, North Carolina

Most of the afore­men­tioned Repub­li­cans have “A” rat­ings from the NRA. There is strength in num­bers, which will make it more dif­fi­cult for the gun lob­by to exact ret­ri­bu­tion against these Repub­li­cans for cast­ing the wrong vote.

Ron John­son of Wis­con­sin, who recent­ly announced that he’s seek­ing reelec­tion, vot­ed against the bill, as did Mar­co Rubio and Rick Scott of Flori­da, which has a red flag law on the books. Iowa’s Chuck Grass­ley (who is up) also vot­ed nay.

“His­to­ry is made. Lives will be saved,” tweet­ed activist Fred Gut­ten­berg, whose daugh­ter Jaime was mur­dered in the Park­land school shooting.

“This his­toric vic­to­ry was made pos­si­ble by the relent­less resolve of gun vio­lence sur­vivors, par­ents, stu­dents, and neigh­bors who refused to do noth­ing in the face of the gun vio­lence cri­sis that steals more than one hun­dred and ten lives each day in this coun­try,” said Every­town for Gun Safe­ty.

We agree. This bill may be mod­est in scope, but sym­bol­i­cal­ly, it’s a huge accom­plish­ment. For the first time in eons, Sen­ate Repub­li­can oppo­si­tion to gun safe­ty leg­is­la­tion has been over­come. That’s mean­ing­ful. And worth celebrating.

There’s much more to be done, but today, for the first time in a very long time, we can say the Sen­ate act­ed in gun safe­ty. Even a small step counts as progress. And often, the first step is the hard­est. Hap­pi­ly, we took that first step today.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

Sound Transit Board unanimously hires Julie Timm as its new Chief Executive Officer

It’s offi­cial: Puget Sound’s Region­al Trans­porta­tion Author­i­ty, bet­ter known as Sound Tran­sit, is get­ting a new chief exec­u­tive officer.

Julie Timm, who cur­rent­ly heads the Greater Rich­mond Tran­sit Com­pa­ny, will soon be mov­ing across the coun­try to take the helm of Sound Tran­sit. Formed in the 1990s after the Leg­is­la­ture gave King, Pierce, and Sno­homish coun­ties the autho­riza­tion to form a new region­al tran­sit enti­ty to increase free­dom of mobil­i­ty in Wash­ing­ton’s urban heart, Sound Tran­sit is in the mid­dle of a decades-long effort to con­struct a high capac­i­ty tran­sit net­work across the region.

“In hir­ing Julie Timm, the Sound Tran­sit Board chose an accom­plished CEO who offers the right mix of skills and knowl­edge to guide our tran­sit sys­tem for­ward,” said Sound Tran­sit Board Chair and Uni­ver­si­ty Place Coun­cil Mem­ber Kent Keel in a state­ment. “It’s no easy task to plan, build and oper­ate the largest tran­sit expan­sion in the nation. Julie brings the lead­er­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tive approach to ensure our suc­cess­ful work continues.”

The board­’s deci­sion to accept the exec­u­tive search com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion was unan­i­mous, with two coun­ty exec­u­tives (Pierce Coun­ty’s Bruce Dammeier and King Coun­ty’s Dow Con­stan­tine) voic­ing great sat­is­fac­tion with the search process and its out­come. State law pro­vides that coun­ty exec­u­tives sit on the Sound Tran­sit Board and also appoint the oth­er board­mem­bers from their respec­tive coun­ties, so they have a lot of influ­ence on Sound Tran­sit’s trajectory.

Timm suc­ceeds Peter Rogoff, who was hired in 2015 to replace leg­endary CEO Joni Earl, one of NPI’s Lynn Allen Award honorees.

Via WebEx, Timm told board­mem­bers she’s extreme­ly appre­cia­tive to have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to lead Sound Tran­sit and will now be look­ing for a place to live.

After hear­ing that com­ment, mul­ti­ple board­mem­bers jok­ing­ly sug­gest­ed that she buy a home in the city or coun­ty they represent.

“I am pro­found­ly grate­ful to join the Sound Tran­sit team’s work to trans­form lives across the Puget Sound region for gen­er­a­tions to come,” Timm said in a pre­pared state­ment. (She also thanked the board, as men­tioned, dur­ing the meeting.)

“Togeth­er, we will con­tin­ue to show what is achiev­able when we pri­or­i­tize the health of our peo­ple and our plan­et. More than dou­bling the reach of light rail in the next few years rep­re­sents a his­toric lev­el of investment.”

“We will keep these and fur­ther projects rolling through strong part­ner­ships and inno­v­a­tive solu­tions that ben­e­fit our par­ents, our chil­dren, and our children’s chil­dren. It will not be easy or com­fort­able to com­plete this vision. I am tru­ly hum­bled to become part of such a tremen­dous effort.”

Timm is cor­rect that the jour­ney ahead won’t be easy or comfortable.

Sound Tran­sit has a lot of dif­fi­cult, thorny fis­cal and align­ment deci­sions to make in the next few years, espe­cial­ly with respect to the vot­er-approved Bal­lard and West Seat­tle exten­sions, as was evi­dent from the pub­lic com­ment peri­od of today’s meet­ing, in which numer­ous speak­ers offered align­ment feedback.

Our friends at The Urban­ist have put togeth­er an exten­sive list of issues that will be on Tim­m’s desk from day one as Sound Tran­sit’s new CEO, which is def­i­nite­ly worth read­ing. We con­cur that improv­ing the rid­er­ship expe­ri­ence should be a top pri­or­i­ty for Julie, along with fig­ur­ing out how to make the board and senior staff more acces­si­ble to more peo­ple. Sound Tran­sit will make bet­ter deci­sions if its lead­er­ship are more ground­ed and con­nect­ed to the com­mu­ni­ties where the agency is plan­ning to con­struct or mod­i­fy right of way.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Julie Timm on being unan­i­mous­ly select­ed as Sound Tran­sit’s next leader. We hope her arrival gives the agency a ben­e­fi­cial jolt of ener­gy at a crit­i­cal point in its more than twen­ty-five year history.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

Washingtonians remain supportive of a capital gains tax on the wealthy, despite right wing efforts to overturn ESSB 5096

Vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton remain sup­port­ive of tax­ing the cap­i­tal gains of the state’s wealth­i­est fam­i­lies to fund crit­i­cal invest­ments in ear­ly learn­ing, child­care, and pub­lic edu­ca­tion, NPI’s most recent statewide sur­vey of like­ly vot­ers confirms.

56% of 1,039 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers inter­viewed from June 1st-2nd, 2022 expressed sup­port for levy­ing a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy after hear­ing a selec­tion of argu­ments for and against it, while 37% expressed oppo­si­tion. 7% were not sure.

This is the eighth con­sec­u­tive year that a statewide NPI sur­vey has found a major­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers in favor of a cap­i­tal gains tax, which indi­cates that there is a durable, depend­able reser­voir of sup­port in the Ever­green State for bal­anc­ing our tax code with pro­gres­sive laws based on abil­i­ty to pay.

Last year, acknowl­edg­ing the need to fix Wash­ing­ton’s upside down tax code and deep­en our invest­ments in essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices, the Leg­is­la­ture passed Engrossed Sub­sti­tute Sen­ate Bill (ESSB) 5096, which Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee sub­se­quent­ly signed into law fol­low­ing Sine Die.

ESSB 5096 trans­formed what had pre­vi­ous­ly been a long-dis­cussed pro­pos­al into the law of the land, over the objec­tions of Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors bent on keep­ing Wash­ing­ton a tax haven for mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires who aren’t pay­ing their fair share in dues to sup­port and strength­en Wash­ing­ton’s communities.

With­in months of ESSB 5096’s adop­tion, a group of right wing plain­tiffs rep­re­sent­ed by for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Rob McKen­na filed a legal chal­lenge against the new law, seek­ing its inval­i­da­tion on con­sti­tu­tion­al grounds.

The group select­ed Dou­glas Coun­ty as the venue for its law­suit, seek­ing a friend­ly tri­al court in a juris­dic­tion with a long his­to­ry of anti-tax sen­ti­ment, and suc­ceed­ed in obtain­ing a favor­able pre­lim­i­nary rul­ing from Judge Bri­an Huber, which has since been appealed to the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court.

While the case was pend­ing before Huber, a sep­a­rate effort helmed by for­mer Dino Rossi aide J. Van­der Stoep began solic­it­ing funds for a bal­lot mea­sure cam­paign to repeal ESSB 5096 via ini­tia­tive. How­ev­er, the effort stalled out and ceased oper­a­tions with­out gath­er­ing a sin­gle signature.

That has left McKen­na’s legal chal­lenge as the only vehi­cle for over­turn­ing ESSB 5096 — at least for the time being. Right wing groups ardent­ly opposed to rev­enue fair­ness in Wash­ing­ton have made the law­suit a P.R. pri­or­i­ty, gen­er­at­ing a steady stream of blog posts and tweets attack­ing ESSB 5096 from every angle in an attempt to sway pub­lic opin­ion against the law.

But as our lat­est poll find­ing demon­strates, they sim­ply aren’t get­ting traction.

Here’s the text of the detailed cap­i­tal gains tax ques­tion that we have been ask­ing since ESSB 5096 passed fol­low­ing the adjourn­ment of last year’s ses­sion. As you can see, it presents both the case for the cap­i­tal gains tax as well as the case against it, using the oppo­si­tion’s own lan­guage word-for-word.

QUESTION: Pro­po­nents say that Wash­ing­ton State’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy will raise about $500 mil­lion a year in cru­cial fund­ing for edu­ca­tion in Wash­ing­ton State, includ­ing ear­ly learn­ing and child­care, and will help bal­ance our upside-down tax code by requir­ing the wealth­i­est 8,000 indi­vid­u­als to step up and pay their fair share in dues to our state. Oppo­nents say that the new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy is an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and ille­gal income tax that will hurt job cre­ation and put the state at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage, hurt­ing the whole econ­o­my while fail­ing to address regres­siv­i­ty. Both sides agree that the text of the cap­i­tal gains tax law ful­ly exempts retire­ment accounts, fam­i­ly farms, and all real estate. Hav­ing heard the argu­ments for and against, do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose Washington’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 56% 
    • Strong­ly: 41%
    • Some­what: 15%
  • Oppose: 37%
    • Some­what: 8%
    • Strong­ly: 29%
  • Not sure: 7%

Our sur­vey of 1,039 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, June 1st through Thurs­day, June 2nd, 2022.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

More infor­ma­tion about the survey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

When we asked this exact same ques­tion in May of 2021, in a sur­vey of 992 like­ly vot­ers, sup­port stood at 57% over­all, with 40% oppo­si­tion and 3% not sure.

In the span of a year, total sup­port has remained vir­tu­al­ly unchanged, with a slight boost in inten­si­ty (41% strong­ly sup­port­ive this year ver­sus 39% strong­ly sup­port­ive last year) and a three point decrease in total oppo­si­tion. And that’s dur­ing a peri­od of time dur­ing which right wing groups like the Wash­ing­ton Pol­i­cy Cen­ter have been try­ing furi­ous­ly to ral­ly peo­ple against ESSB 5096.

It’s tru­ly reas­sur­ing to see that pub­lic sup­port for this cru­cial­ly impor­tant pro­gres­sive tax reform has remained intact despite the effort to turn Wash­ing­to­ni­ans against it. The recent spec­tac­u­lar demise of I‑1929 was a tac­it con­ces­sion from right wing forces that pub­lic opin­ion isn’t on their side.

If they were con­fi­dent of win­ning a statewide vote, they would have moved for­ward, even at an inflat­ed cost of tens of mil­lions (which their donors could have afford­ed). But they chose not to because of the high risk of failure.

If ESSB 5096 can pass con­sti­tu­tion­al muster in the courts, it stands an excel­lent chance of remain­ing the law of the land in Wash­ing­ton, because — as our polling once again shows — it’s a win­ner in the court of pub­lic opinion.

Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 13th-17th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 17th, 2022.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

OCEAN SHIPPING REFORM ACT: The House on June 13th passed the Ocean Ship­ping Reform Act (S. 3580), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar, D‑Minnesota. The bill would change Fed­er­al Mar­itime Com­mis­sion prac­tices, includ­ing requir­ing the Com­mis­sion to review fines charged by com­mon ocean car­ri­ers, and bar com­mon ocean car­ri­ers from refus­ing to ship goods if they have ade­quate car­go space for the goods. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter A. DeFazio, D‑Oregon, called the bill “vital for ensur­ing fair and effi­cient ship­ping, which is inte­gral to the well-being of our economy.”

The vote was 369 yeas to 42 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 not voting

PILOT PROGRAM FOR ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY AIR INFRASTRUCTURE: The House on June 13th passed the Advanced Avi­a­tion Infra­struc­ture Mod­ern­iza­tion Act (H.R. 6270), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Larsen, D‑Washington, to autho­rize a $25 mil­lion Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment pilot pro­gram for issu­ing grants to fund advanced air mobil­i­ty infra­struc­ture. Such infra­struc­ture includes ver­ti­cal air­plane take­off and land­ing facil­i­ties, known as ver­ti­ports. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter A. DeFazio, D‑Oregon, said the grants would help fed­er­al reg­u­la­tors get ahead of the curve on how to han­dle an emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy with tremen­dous poten­tial to improve transportation.

The vote, on June 13, was 338 yeas to 73 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

POLICE PROTECTION FOR SUPREME COURT JUSTICES’ FAMILY MEMBERS: The House on June 14th passed the Supreme Court Police Par­i­ty Act (S. 4160), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor John Cornyn, R‑Texas, to autho­rize the Supreme Court Police force to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for imme­di­ate rel­a­tives of jus­tices if the court’s mar­shal deems such pro­tec­tion nec­es­sary. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ted Lieu, D‑California, said the pro­tec­tion would help ensure that jus­tices “are free from fear of vio­lence or phys­i­cal intim­i­da­tion to make deci­sions based on the Con­sti­tu­tion and law as applied to the facts of the cas­es before them.”

The vote was 396 yeas to 27 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jayapal

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION: The House on June 14th passed the Recov­er­ing Amer­i­ca’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773), spon­sored by Rep. Deb­bie Din­gell, D‑Michigan, to pro­vide about $1.4 bil­lion of annu­al sup­ple­men­tal fund­ing for Inte­ri­or Depart­ment efforts to con­serve plant and wildlife species, includ­ing endan­gered species.

Din­gell said: “We have a con­ser­va­tion, eco­nom­ic, and moral ratio­nale to act in order to pro­tect and recov­er Amer­i­ca’s wildlife for future gen­er­a­tions.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bruce West­er­man, R‑Arkansas, crit­i­cized the bil­l’s lack of leg­isla­tive over­sight pro­vi­sions and its increase in deficit spending.

The vote was 231 yeas to 190 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

RURAL RESCUE ACT: The House on June 14th passed the Small State and Rur­al Res­cue Act (H.R. 7211), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Katko, R‑New York, to expand the role of the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agen­cy’s Small State and Rur­al Advo­cate office in review­ing requests for FEMA to pro­vide dis­as­ter assis­tance. Katko said the bill “will go a long way in pro­vid­ing sup­port for the rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and small states” of the U.S. when they endure disasters.

The vote was 396 yeas to 14 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

EQUITY IN FINANCING: The House on June 15th passed the Fed­er­al Reserve Racial and Eco­nom­ic Equi­ty Act (H.R. 2543), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Waters, D‑California. The bill would require the Fed­er­al Reserve to pri­or­i­tize elim­i­nat­ing racial and eth­nic eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ties in its activities.

A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bar­bara Lee, D‑California, said it “will reori­ent our finan­cial sys­tems to sup­port wealth cre­ation in his­tor­i­cal­ly under­served com­mu­ni­ties.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John W. Rose, R‑Tennessee, said it “would impose addi­tion­al and bur­den­some report­ing require­ments on pub­lic com­pa­nies, reduce access to cred­it, dis­tract the Fed­er­al Reserve from pur­su­ing its statu­to­ry man­date, and fur­ther politi­cize our reg­u­la­to­ry agencies.”

The vote was 215 yeas to 207 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

ADDRESSING COST OF LIVING INCREASES: The House on June 16th passed the Low­er Food and Fuel Costs Act (H.R. 7606), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Abi­gail Davis Span­berg­er, D‑Virginia. Among oth­er mea­sures, the bill would cre­ate the Office of the Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tor for Com­pe­ti­tion Mat­ters at the Agri­cul­ture Depart­ment, and charge the inves­tiga­tive office with pros­e­cut­ing vio­la­tions of meat­pack­ing and poul­try mar­ket­ing laws. Span­berg­er said the bill respond­ed to Amer­i­cans’ desire for “low­er meat prices both now and in the future. They want low­er gas prices and to make bio­fu­els acces­si­ble to more Americans.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Glenn Thomp­son, R‑Pennsylvania, said the bil­l’s new reg­u­la­tions would be decreas­ing “Amer­i­can farm­ers’ abil­i­ties to meet glob­al food demand and dou­bling down on the idea that more spend­ing and big gov­ern­ment will feed the world.” The vote was 221 yeas to 204 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Peter DeFazio; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 10 aye votes, 7 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

HONORING OUR PACT ACT: The Sen­ate on June 16th passed the Hon­or­ing our Promise to Address Com­pre­hen­sive Tox­i­cs Act (H.R. 3967), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Takano, D‑California. The bill would take var­i­ous mea­sures to treat and record health prob­lems in mil­i­tary vet­er­ans who were exposed to tox­ic sub­stances dur­ing their time in the mil­i­tary, includ­ing the war in Iraq.

A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Jer­ry Moran, R‑Kansas, said the mea­sures would con­nect “tox­ic-exposed vet­er­ans with the care they need and they deserve and to pro­vide vet­er­ans with cer­tain­ty and sup­port.” The vote was 84 yeas to 14 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

ALAN LEVENTHAL, AMBASSADOR TO DENMARK: The Sen­ate on June 15th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Alan M. Lev­en­thal to be the U.S. Ambas­sador to Den­mark. Lev­en­thal is chair­man and CEO of the office prop­er­ties com­pa­ny Bea­con Cap­i­tal, and serves on the board of sev­er­al Boston-area char­i­ties and uni­ver­si­ties. The vote was 63 yeas to 32 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

Key votes ahead

The House will take up the Restor­ing Hope for Men­tal Health and Well-Being Act of 2022, the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Health Act, LGBTQI+ Data Inclu­sion Act, and debate the Sen­ate amend­ments to the Hon­or­ing our PACT Act.

The Sen­ate will con­sid­er the nom­i­na­tions of Ana Isabel de Alba to be a Unit­ed States Dis­trict Judge for the East­ern Dis­trict of Cal­i­for­nia and Mary T. Boyle to be a Com­mis­sion­er of the Con­sumer Prod­uct Safe­ty Commission.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2022 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Book Review: It Was Vulgar & It Was Beautiful relates how art helped combat AIDS

Our gov­ern­ment and health­care sys­tem failed tens of thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing with AIDS in the 1980s by fail­ing to pro­vide med­ical care, sex­u­al health edu­ca­tion, and resources to improve their qual­i­ty of life.

Acquired immun­od­e­fi­cien­cy syn­drome (AIDS) is a chron­ic, poten­tial­ly life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion caused by the human immun­od­e­fi­cien­cy virus (HIV). By dam­ag­ing your immune sys­tem, HIV inter­feres with your body’s abil­i­ty to fight infec­tion and disease.

The Mayo Clinic 

It Was Vul­gar & It Was Beau­ti­ful by Jack Low­ery pro­vides a raw and touch­ing account of an art col­lec­tive push­ing back against silence and inac­tion dur­ing the AIDS epi­dem­ic. Low­ery tells the sto­ry of sev­er­al men and women who refused to keep qui­et about AIDS, forc­ing the nation to rec­og­nize the extent of the epidemic.

Low­ery chron­i­cles the art instal­la­tions by the col­lec­tive Gran Fury, includ­ing Kiss­ing Doesn’t Kill and All Peo­ple With Aids are Inno­cent, while also describ­ing the trag­ic con­se­quences AIDS was hav­ing on the mem­bers themselves.

Avram Finkel­stein, whose sto­ry is fol­lowed through the entire book, first encoun­tered AIDS when his part­ner, Don Paul Yow­ell, began expe­ri­enc­ing pro­longed fevers over the course of sev­er­al months in 1982.

The musi­cian would lat­er be diag­nosed with AIDS, then called GRID, at a time when no med­ica­tions or treat­ments were avail­able. The rest of Yowell’s life would be char­ac­ter­ized by hos­pi­tal vis­its in which staff would refuse to enter his room or pro­vide any life-giv­ing care. Finkel­stein, who act­ed as his live-in care­tak­er, became an advo­cate in these wait­ing rooms, demand­ing that his part­ner be treat­ed. Yowell’s death left Finkel­stein incon­solable, shut out from his part­ner’s fam­i­ly, and resigned to the belief that he was liv­ing with AIDS himself.

When Jorge Socar­rás, who musi­cal­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with Yow­ell, reached out to Finkel­stein to col­lec­tive­ly grieve the peo­ple they had lost, the two rec­og­nized how free­ing these open con­ver­sa­tions could be. Finkel­stein rec­og­nized that his part­ner had only told two peo­ple out­side his fam­i­ly about his diag­no­sis, which was a com­mon prac­tice for those liv­ing with AIDS at the time. These din­ners would grow in atten­dance and serve as the begin­ning of an advo­ca­cy move­ment, using art, to address the polit­i­cal nature of the AIDS epidemic.

Gran Fury would lat­er form from mem­bers of ACT UP (Aids Coali­tion to Unleash Pow­er), which was the first polit­i­cal activist group ded­i­cat­ed to the AIDS epi­dem­ic. Low­ery is care­ful to doc­u­ment the col­lec­tive’s highs and lows, describ­ing their most and least suc­cess­ful installations.

It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful Book Cover

It Was Vul­gar & It Was Beau­ti­ful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pan­dem­ic, by Jack Low­ery (April 2022, Bold Type Books)

These would include the nation­al­ized Kiss­ing Doesn’t Kill poster, which fea­tured three cou­ples of dif­fer­ent sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tions kiss­ing with the tagline: “Kiss­ing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indif­fer­ence Do.”

This poster end­ed up get­ting pub­lished around sev­er­al major cities and car­ried as part of mon­u­men­tal protests, espe­cial­ly in Chica­go, where author­i­ties had enact­ed cen­sor­ship laws tar­get­ing the LGBTQ+ com­mu­ni­ty and Gran Fury’s installations.

Lowrey not only tells Gran Fury’s sto­ry as a col­lec­tive but also their indi­vid­ual sto­ries, like that of Don Rud­dy, who ded­i­cat­ed much of his time to the instal­la­tion Let the Record Show… before being forced to step back and take care of his part­ner who was liv­ing with AIDS.

Lowrey describes how each mem­ber was forced to bal­ance activism, work, and solo art projects with car­ing for friends, fam­i­ly, and part­ners suf­fer­ing from AIDS.

Despite describ­ing a group who attend­ed week­ly funer­als, this poignant book man­ages to cap­ture moments of joy and cel­e­bra­tion as a move­ment as well as life­long friend­ships formed in both ACT UP and Gran Fury, demon­strat­ing the impact the move­ment had on this coun­try as well as the rep­re­sen­ta­tion and com­radery it pro­vid­ed for its members.

Incred­i­bly real and often dev­as­tat­ing, It Was Vul­gar & It Was Beau­ti­ful is a valu­able record of LGBTQ+ his­to­ry in the Unit­ed States that also lands a sol­id and use­ful cri­tique of Amer­i­ca’s health­care system.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

King County Council votes 7–2 to advance even-year elections charter amendment

A pro­posed change to King Coun­ty’s plan of gov­ern­ment that would align elec­tions for all coun­ty-lev­el offices in even-num­bered years is on track to go to vot­ers for poten­tial rat­i­fi­ca­tion this autumn after pass­ing out of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan King Coun­ty’s Com­mit­tee of the Whole today on a 7–2 vote.

Ordi­nance 2022–0180, con­ceived by our team at NPI and spon­sored by King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, would move elec­tions for Exec­u­tive, Asses­sor, Elec­tions Direc­tor, and Coun­cil from odd years to even years, when turnout is high­er and much more diverse. The shift would be accom­plished by mak­ing the next set of terms for each of the afore­men­tioned posi­tions three years in length and then revert­ing back to four year terms thereafter.

If adopt­ed by vot­ers, the amend­ment would ensure that King Coun­ty’s future lead­ers are cho­sen by the many instead of by a few.

In recent years, odd year vot­er turnout has rarely exceed­ed 45%, but in even years, turnout is con­sis­tent­ly above 70%. The Coun­cil’s own non­par­ti­san staff not­ed in their assess­ment of Ordi­nance 2022–0180 that if past trends hold, we’ll see more robust turnout by mak­ing the switch to even-year elections.

“Whether Coun­cil wants to increase vot­er turnout for the elec­tion of these coun­ty offices is a pol­i­cy deci­sion for the Coun­cil to make,” the staff report declared.

Today, the Coun­cil decid­ed that it does want to make the most of an oppor­tu­ni­ty to increase and diver­si­fy vot­er turnout. Sev­en coun­cilmem­bers vot­ed to send Ordi­nance 2022–0180 out of com­mit­tee with a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, tee­ing up a final vote in the Coun­cil on June 28th, while two coun­cilmem­bers vot­ed no.

The roll call was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea: Coun­cilmem­bers Rod Dem­bows­ki (D1), Gir­may Zahi­lay (D2), Sarah Per­ry (D3), Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D4), Dave Upthe­grove (D5), Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, Joe McDer­mott (D8)

Vot­ing Nay: Coun­cilmem­bers Pete von Reich­bauer (D7), Rea­gan Dunn (D9)

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan King Coun­ty Coun­cil is offi­cial­ly “non­par­ti­san,” but the Coun­cil’s sev­en-mem­ber major­i­ty all iden­ti­fy as Democ­rats, while von Reich­bauer and Dunn are Repub­li­cans. Dunn has made it clear for weeks that he’s strong­ly opposed to Ordi­nance 2022–0180. von Reich­bauer has been far less out­spo­ken, but was expect­ed to join Dunn in vot­ing no, and did so when it was his turn to vote.

The final vote to send the pro­posed change to vot­ers in a cou­ple of weeks is like­ly to be exact­ly the same. Once the Coun­cil com­pletes its work, the fate of the amend­ment will be in vot­ers’ hands. NPI and the Coali­tion For Even-Year Elec­tions are pre­pared to work to secure the amend­men­t’s pas­sage this autumn.

Many orga­ni­za­tions joined NPI in urg­ing the Coun­cil to give Ordi­nance 2022–0180 a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, includ­ing the League of Women Vot­ers of Seat­tle-King Coun­ty, the Sight­line Insti­tute, Somos Mujeres Lati­nas, the Urban League of Met­ro­pol­i­tan Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ty Alliance, More Equi­table Democ­ra­cy, and Share the Cities. King Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Chair Shasti Con­rad and respect­ed elec­tion tim­ing expert Zoltan Haj­nal of UC San Diego also spoke in favor.

Coun­cilmem­ber Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, the amend­men­t’s prime spon­sor, deliv­ered an excel­lent clos­ing speech for vot­ing yea dur­ing the debate over whether to advance it out of com­mit­tee, rebut­ting some of the bad argu­ments in oppo­si­tion offered by Coun­cilmem­ber Rea­gan Dunn. Dunn argued that the Coun­cil should reject the amend­ment because it could increase can­di­dates’ tele­vi­sion and radio adver­tis­ing costs and bury impor­tant local issues. Absurd­ly, Dunn also sug­gest­ed that hav­ing more peo­ple involved in elect­ing the coun­ty’s lead­ers would be a bad thing because those even year vot­ers might not be cast­ing informed votes!

Here’s what Bal­duc­ci said in response (tran­script edit­ed light­ly for clarity):

I will say that since since sur­fac­ing this pro­pos­al, the case for doing it has been extra­or­di­nar­i­ly compelling.

It’s based on data.

It’s based on research.

It’s based on what we know about what works to get more vot­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in select­ing their elect­ed representatives.

The oppos­ing argu­ments have been almost entire­ly based on par­ti­san­ship… based on the idea that one side or the oth­er would be dis­ad­van­taged by more peo­ple voting.

And I have to say: if more peo­ple vot­ing is bad for your can­di­da­cy, then, you know, the vot­ers should have a say!

The vot­ers should get to pick who they want to rep­re­sent them.

And sup­pres­sion is nev­er the right approach to win­ning an election.

The oth­er group of oppo­si­tion argu­ments have come from cam­paign insid­ers… peo­ple who are con­cerned about what does this mean for me run­ning a cam­paign or peo­ple who, in oth­er ways, make their mon­ey or get their offices out of run­ning campaigns.

Cam­paigns will adjust.

We will fig­ure it out.

We will fig­ure out how to get our mes­sage out to voters.

I sit here as some­body who was elect­ed, hav­ing been out­spent, when you count inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures and direct can­di­date fund­ing, by almost three-to-one.

And I was able to win because I did what cam­paigns do: I adjust­ed. I cam­paigned, as will oth­ers, with a lot of shoe leather. With a lot of vol­un­teers. With phone call­ing. With the old-fash­ioned methods.

And: We still were able, with the mon­ey that we raised, to do a fair amount of [paid] media.

I am not con­cerned that cam­paigns will not get their mes­sages out.

And I’ll say what I said before: I think that we over­es­ti­mate what most vot­ers do in odd-num­bered years in order to learn about the issues. I think peo­ple read their news­pa­pers, look at their vot­ers’ guides. They might col­lect some of those mail­ers that pile up on the kitchen table. And when the time comes, they pull out what­ev­er their favorite infor­ma­tion sources are.

And they look at the bal­lot — and they ask friends and family.

And they fill in the lit­tle bub­bles, as you said, and they do it based on the infor­ma­tion that is avail­able to them from their pre­ferred sources of infor­ma­tion. And peo­ple will still do that in even-num­bered years.

I don’t think you will see a tremen­dous drop-off in the lev­el of edu­ca­tion or knowl­edge of the vot­ers from odd years to even years.

So I haven’t heard any com­pelling argu­ments not to do this. I don’t know why we did­n’t do it before. And I just want to end by say­ing we are by far not going to be like on the cut­ting edge as coun­ties go. Most coun­ties in Wash­ing­ton State elect their coun­ty coun­cil mem­bers, exec­u­tives, and oth­er coun­ty offices in even years.

Pierce Coun­ty does it to the south, and they’re just fine.

And we’re just fine. And so I real­ly encour­age us to move this for­ward to the Coun­cil, and then at Coun­cil, to move it for­ward to the vot­ers to make up their minds. Thank you, colleagues.

We are thrilled to have the sup­port of a super­ma­jor­i­ty of the Coun­cil for this pro­posed change to King Coun­ty’s sys­tem of elections.

We already elect our Pros­e­cut­ing Attor­ney and Supe­ri­or Court judges in even years, and we can see that those con­tests are draw­ing far more vot­ers than the odd year elec­tions we have been hold­ing for Exec­u­tive, Asses­sor, Elec­tions Direc­tor, and Coun­ty Coun­cil. Align­ing all our elec­tions in midterm and pres­i­den­tial cycles will strength­en our democ­ra­cy and deep­en the rela­tion­ship between the peo­ple of King Coun­ty and their gov­ern­ment. It’s actu­al­ly the norm in Wash­ing­ton State for coun­ty offices to be cho­sen in even-num­bered years — thir­ty-six out of thir­ty-nine coun­ties already do it. It’s time King Coun­ty joined them.

Two years ago, when the Coun­cil major­i­ty sub­mit­ted a pack­age of sev­en char­ter changes to vot­ers, all of them were adopt­ed by vot­ers, despite some Repub­li­can oppo­si­tion. That expe­ri­ence showed that King Coun­ty vot­ers are keen­ly inter­est­ed in ideas to make their coun­ty gov­ern­ment func­tion more effec­tive­ly. This autumn, they’re slat­ed to get anoth­er oppor­tu­ni­ty to make a change for the better.

Monday, June 13th, 2022

Washington State could hold one of the first 2024 Democratic presidential primaries

Wash­ing­ton could end up being one of the first states in the nation to hold a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry in the upcom­ing 2024 cycle if the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee decides to award it a cov­et­ed spot on the nom­i­nat­ing cal­en­dar, the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty announced today.

The par­ty — on whose gov­ern­ing body I sit as a state cen­tral com­mit­teemem­ber — will get a chance to make a for­mal pitch sup­port­ing its bid for an ear­ly spot on the cal­en­dar to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Com­mit­tee lat­er this month. Two oth­er states are also in the run­ning for the west­ern region’s spot: Col­orado and Neva­da, which have vot­ed Demo­c­ra­t­ic for Pres­i­dent for sev­er­al con­sec­u­tive cycles.

If Wash­ing­ton is cho­sen, Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers here would get a chance to influ­ence the 2024 nom­i­na­tion at a very ear­ly stage for the first time in U.S. history.

Until 2020, Wash­ing­ton used an all-cau­cus sys­tem to allo­cate and select its nation­al con­ven­tion del­e­gates. But last cycle, the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee vot­ed to adopt a hybrid pri­ma­ry + cau­cus del­e­gate selec­tion plan after the Leg­is­la­ture agreed to change state law to pro­vide for a pri­ma­ry that ful­ly respect­ed the par­ty’s First Amend­ment right of free assembly.

(Adop­tion of that leg­is­la­tion was one of NPI’s 2019 leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties, and I was one of the state com­mit­teemem­bers who cham­pi­oned the hybrid plan.)

That hybrid plan called for the use of pri­ma­ry to allo­cate all of the con­ven­tion del­e­gates and cau­cus­es to decide who would rep­re­sent the par­ty at the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, which end­ed up being held most­ly remotely.

The plan worked extreme­ly well, and Wash­ing­ton saw record-break­ing pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry turnout just as SARS-CoV­‑2 was becom­ing a glob­al pub­lic health emer­gency. Instead of hav­ing to spend hours in a gym or cafe­te­ria to vote in a cau­cus (which would not have been fea­si­ble to stage in any case due to the coro­n­avirus), vot­ers were able to express a pref­er­ence for who the nom­i­nee should be sim­ply by cast­ing a bal­lot sent to them by coun­ty elec­tions officials.

A deci­sion by the DNC to give Wash­ing­ton a more promi­nent role in the qua­dren­ni­al nom­i­nat­ing process which would be a big deal. In the event of a com­pet­i­tive pri­ma­ry, Wash­ing­ton would like­ly see more vis­its from pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates and could host one of the debates, too. Even if Pres­i­dent Biden runs again and faces lit­tle oppo­si­tion for the nom­i­na­tion, Wash­ing­ton would still wind up get­ting more nation­al atten­tion than it has in the past.

“It is an hon­or to advo­cate for Wash­ing­ton on the nation­al stage and high­light the many rea­sons why our state con­tin­ues to be on the fore­front of pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics not only in the West, but the entire nation,” State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki said in a state­ment sent to media outlets.

“Wash­ing­ton is one of the best posi­tioned states to run the kind of high-pro­file and vot­er-acces­si­ble nom­i­nat­ing con­test that a pre-win­dow state requires,” Pod­lodows­ki not­ed last month when the par­ty first applied. “Our state has every­thing a bal­anced nom­i­nat­ing con­test should look for: broad diver­si­ty – racial­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly, geo­graph­i­cal­ly, and polit­i­cal­ly – a ded­i­cat­ed and effec­tive par­ty orga­ni­za­tion and demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly-con­trolled gov­ern­ment, and a shin­ing vote-by-mail sys­tem to encour­age sta­bil­i­ty and faith in the nom­i­nat­ing process itself.”

The state’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers all sup­port the bid, from Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee and Sec­re­tary of State Steve Hobbs to Speak­er Lau­rie Jink­ins, Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Andy Bil­lig, and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of state’s con­gres­sion­al delegation.

The DNC will make a final deci­sion between Wash­ing­ton, Col­orado, and Neva­da in ear­ly August, around the same time Wash­ing­ton holds its 2022 Top Two election.

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

Bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announces deal to advance modest gun safety package

The Unit­ed States Sen­ate may be on the verge of tak­ing some small but impor­tant steps to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from the scourge of gun violence.

Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy of Con­necti­cut announced today that a bipar­ti­san group of twen­ty sen­a­tors has agreed in prin­ci­ple to a pack­age that does the fol­low­ing:

  • Major fund­ing to help states pass and imple­ment cri­sis inter­ven­tion orders (red flag laws) that will allow law enforce­ment to tem­porar­i­ly take dan­ger­ous weapons away from peo­ple who pose a dan­ger to oth­ers or themselves.
  • Bil­lions in new fund­ing for men­tal health and school safe­ty, includ­ing mon­ey for the nation­al build out of com­mu­ni­ty men­tal health clinics.
  • Close the “boyfriend loop­hole”, so that no domes­tic abuser — a spouse OR a seri­ous dat­ing part­ner — can buy a gun if they are con­vict­ed of abuse against their partner.
  • First ever fed­er­al law against gun traf­fick­ing and straw pur­chas­ing. This will be a dif­fer­ence mak­ing tool to stop the flow of ille­gal guns into cities.
  • Enhanced back­ground check for under 21 gun buy­ers and a short pause to con­duct the check. Young buy­ers can get the gun only after the enhanced check is completed.
  • Clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the laws regard­ing who needs to reg­is­ter as a licensed gun deal­er, to make sure all tru­ly com­mer­cial sell­ers are doing back­ground checks.

“Will this bill do every­thing we need to end our nation’s gun vio­lence epi­dem­ic?” Mur­phy asked rhetor­i­cal­ly, answer­ing: “No. But it’s real, mean­ing­ful progress.”

“And it breaks a thir­ty year log jam, demon­strat­ing that Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans can work togeth­er in a way that tru­ly saves lives.”

Con­sid­er­ing that the Sen­ate has done pret­ty much noth­ing to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from the scourge of gun vio­lence for decades, this is indeed a break­through. It is far from enough, but it is a start… and we have to start somewhere.

As unpalat­able and unsat­is­fy­ing as incre­men­tal change can be, some­times it’s the only prac­ti­cal alter­na­tive to the sta­tus quo. Democ­rats don’t have a fil­i­buster proof major­i­ty in the Sen­ate nor fifty votes to reform the fil­i­buster, and won’t until Jan­u­ary 2023 at the ear­li­est. This bipar­ti­san agree­ment is the coun­try’s best hope for fed­er­al lev­el action on gun safe­ty this year. Sen­a­tor Mur­phy deserves enor­mous kudos for get­ting ten Repub­li­cans, who usu­al­ly say no to every­thing, to buck the gun lob­by and back some mod­est gun safe­ty ideas.

It is worth not­ing that here in Wash­ing­ton, we’ve suc­cess­ful­ly used an incre­men­tal strat­e­gy to secure stronger gun safe­ty laws since 2014.

We did­n’t pass every­thing we’ve now got on the books in one go. We start­ed with expand­ed back­ground checks in 2014 (Ini­tia­tive 594). Then, we passed extreme risk pro­tec­tion orders in 2016 (Ini­tia­tive 1491). Then, we raised the age to buy firearms like the AR-15 to twen­ty-one in 2018 (Ini­tia­tive 1639).

More recent­ly, the Leg­is­la­ture has final­ly got­ten engaged by pass­ing bills to ban bump stocks, ghost guns, and high-capac­i­ty mag­a­zines, plus bar the car­ry­ing of guns at the Capi­tol, local gov­ern­ment meet­ings, and elec­tion sites.

And we’re not done. When the Leg­is­la­ture next recon­venes, it needs to pass an assault weapons ban, which our polling shows most vot­ers strong­ly sup­port.

Repub­li­can-con­trolled states aren’t like­ly to pass *any* of the gun safe­ty laws I just ref­er­enced, which makes the fed­er­al pack­age that Mur­phy nego­ti­at­ed espe­cial­ly impor­tant. The gun safe­ty laws Wash­ing­ton has enact­ed aren’t like­ly to be adopt­ed in Ida­ho, for exam­ple, any­time in the near future.

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden wel­comed the work of Mur­phy’s group, urg­ing swift follow-up.

“I want to thank Sen­a­tor Chris Mur­phy and the mem­bers of his bipar­ti­san group—especially Sen­a­tors Cornyn, Sine­ma, and Tillis — for their tire­less work to pro­duce this pro­pos­al. Obvi­ous­ly, it does not do every­thing that I think is need­ed, but it reflects impor­tant steps in the right direc­tion, and would be the most sig­nif­i­cant gun safe­ty leg­is­la­tion to pass Con­gress in decades,” said the President.

“With bipar­ti­san sup­port, there are no excus­es for delay, and no rea­son why it should not quick­ly move through the Sen­ate and the House. Each day that pass­es, more chil­dren are killed in this coun­try: the soon­er it comes to my desk, the soon­er I can sign it, and the soon­er we can use these mea­sures to save lives.”

“This frame­work rep­re­sents progress — and con­tains real mea­sures that can help save lives,” agreed Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, who recent­ly appeared with the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty to call for action. “It’s not every­thing we need to end gun vio­lence, so I will con­tin­ue to fight and press for gun safe­ty reforms like uni­ver­sal back­ground checks and an assault weapons ban. But I have said I would work with any­one to pass any­thing that may keep our fam­i­lies safe from gun vio­lence, and I look for­ward to work­ing with my col­leagues on both sides of the aisle to get this frame­work passed and then I’ll keep fight­ing to do more.”

“This deal would not have been pos­si­ble with­out a House under the lead­er­ship of Speak­er Pelosi, with­out a Sen­ate under the lead­er­ship of Sen­a­tor Schumer,
and of course Pres­i­dent Joe Biden,” said activist Fred Gut­ten­berg. “Our votes from the last two elec­tions mat­tered. If you wish for more, VOTE in November!!!”

Saturday, June 11th, 2022

House Select Committee lays out definitive case that Trump incited January 6th attack

The par­ty line response to the House Select Com­mit­tee’s ini­tial prime­time Jan­u­ary 6th hear­ing, from America’s right-wing media and Repub­li­can House lead­ers, seems tak­en from those “Naked Gun” cop movies.

“Move on, noth­ing to see here,” bum­bling Los Ange­les police detec­tive Frank Drebin would tell wit­ness­es to a fire or explosion.

“For­get­tably minor” is how Tuck­er Carl­son, on Fox News, described the 2021 insur­rec­tion at the U.S. Capitol.

Lat­er in the evening, Lau­ra Ingra­ham chimed in: “How does a guy putting his feet up on Nan­cy Pelosi’s desk put democ­ra­cy at risk?”

The answer was deliv­ered by Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Cheney of Wyoming, vice chair of the House Select Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th Attack on the U.S. Capi­tol: “Over mul­ti­ple months, Don­ald Trump over­saw and coor­di­nat­ed a sophis­ti­cat­ed sev­en-part plan to over­turn the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and pre­vent the trans­fer of pres­i­den­tial power.”

Dur­ing the Senate’s 1973 Water­gate hear­ing, Sen­a­tor Howard Bak­er, R‑Tennessee, asked the famous ques­tion: “What did the Pres­i­dent know and when did he know it?” The answer, con­firmed by audio from con­ver­sa­tions record­ed in the Oval Office by a secret tap­ing sys­tem, was that Richard Nixon, our 37th Pres­i­dent, was in on the bur­glary coverup and pay­offs from Day One.

The House pan­el, on Thurs­day night, told twen­ty mil­lion tele­vi­sion view­ers of the attempt­ed seizure of pow­er by our 45th Pres­i­dent after he was vot­ed out of office. “Don­ald Trump was at the cen­ter of this con­spir­a­cy,” said com­mit­tee chair­man Rep. Ben­nie Thomp­son, D‑Mississippi. Of even greater con­se­quence, Thomp­son added: “The con­spir­a­cy to thwart the will of the peo­ple is not over.”

And that is why the events of Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, go far beyond being mate­r­i­al for his­to­ry. The bid by Trump to over­throw will of vot­ers in 2020 is quite pos­si­bly due for a repeat should “The Don­ald” run in 2024. While such Repub­li­cans as Bak­er helped block Nixon, Repub­li­cans in Con­gress appear ready to do Trump’s bidding.

As FNC refused to air Thursday’s hear­ing, the bull-necked Sean Han­ni­ty was describ­ing the House hear­ing to his view­ers as “the dullest, the most bor­ing, there’s absolute­ly noth­ing new.” Per­haps Fox hosts didn’t want view­ers to hear back­stage words of a Pres­i­dent they lion­ized: “Just say the elec­tion was cor­rupt and leave the rest to me and Repub­li­can congressmen.”

Huh? View­ers tuned into the hear­ing saw film of a noose and chants of “Hang Mike Pence.” The Vice Pres­i­dent was chair­ing Con­gress’ count of elec­toral votes and had reject­ed Trump’s demand that he throw out results from swing states.

The com­mit­tee has unearthed Trump’s reac­tion as he watched from the White House. Said Cheney: “The Pres­i­dent respond­ed with this sen­ti­ment: ‘Maybe our sup­port­ers have the right idea… Mike Pence deserves it.’ ”

“You will hear evi­dence that Pres­i­dent Trump refused for hours to do what his staff, his fam­i­ly and many of his oth­er advis­ers begged him to do: imme­di­ate­ly instruct his sup­port­ers to stand down and evac­u­ate the Capitol.”

The dis­guise for Trump’s attempt­ed coup has been a series of attacks on the integri­ty of our elec­tions – believed, the polls tell us, by a major­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers – that the 2020 elec­tion was stolen.

If Fox view­ers changed chan­nels, they would have seen a video of then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr tes­ti­fy­ing on his post-elec­tion con­ver­sa­tion with Trump.

“I told the pres­i­dent it was bull!@#$: I didn’t want to be part of it,” Barr told com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors.” A Trump cam­paign lawyer, Alex Can­non, brought sim­i­lar find­ings to White House Chief of Staff Mark Mead­ows. In Mead­ows’ mem­o­rable response, “So there’s no ‘there’ there.”

The tweets of House Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy and such folk as Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz (R‑Texas) are cease­less­ly filled with praise for the police, and unabat­ing anger at Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers’ actions fol­low­ing the mur­der of George Floyd in Min­neapo­lis two years ago.

Where is their sym­pa­thy for the U.S. Capi­tol Police?

Liz Cheney put it best: “I say to my col­leagues who are defend­ing the inde­fen­si­ble: There will come a day when Don­ald Trump is gone, but your dis­hon­or will remain.”

A respect­ed offi­cer, Car­olyn Edwards, was first on the force to be injured in the insur­rec­tion, suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion. She tes­ti­fied on Thurs­day, telling of the scene where insur­rec­tion­ists first broke through:

“What I saw was a war scene. It was some­thing like I had seen in the movies. I could not believe my eyes. There were offi­cers on the ground. They were bleed­ing. They were throw­ing u8p. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slip­ping in peo­ples’ blood. I was catch­ing peo­ple as they fell.” (Edwards man­aged to put out a call for help on the radio. It did not come.)

A day after the hear­ing, Tuck­er Carl­son was on the air decry­ing what he called a “show tri­al,” adding: “The whole thing is insult­ing. They are lying and we’re not going to help them.”

Lying about what?

Barr told Trump there was no evi­dence of elec­tion fraud. Chief of Staff Mead­ows was so informed. Top aide and first daugh­ter Ivan­ka Trump told com­mit­tee inves­ti­ga­tors, “I respect­ed Attor­ney Gen­er­al Barr, so I accept­ed what he was say­ing.” Twen­ty mil­lion peo­ple heard excerpts of Trump’s speech at the White House, and mobs of Proud Boys and Oath Keep­ers march­ing on the Capitol.

In the wake of the damn­ing videos, Trump has thrown both his daugh­ter and for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al under the bus, send­ing out this mes­sage yes­ter­day: “Ivan­ka Trump was not involved in look­ing at, or study­ing, ELECTION (sic) results. (She) had long ago checked out and was, in my opin­ion, only try­ing to be respect­ful to Bill Barr and his posi­tion as Attor­ney Gen­er­al (he sucked).”

The House Select Com­mit­tee con­venes again on Mon­day morn­ing. It is expect­ed to fill out Trump’s role in the worst attack on the U.S. Capi­tol since the War of 1812.

Don’t tune this out! An ugly strain of fas­cism is loose in the land, and on the air­waves, and on social plat­forms. It has in its grasp the lead­er­ship of one of our two great polit­i­cal par­ties. Its leader is using the 2022 elec­tion to exact revenge, and plot­ting a run at pow­er once more in 2024.

Trump is not gone.

“Our democ­ra­cy remains in dan­ger: Jan­u­ary 6th and the lies that led to insur­rec­tion have put two and a half cen­turies of con­sti­tu­tion­al democ­ra­cy at risk,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Thomp­son. “The world is watch­ing what we do here.”

A vari­a­tion on Ben­jamin Franklin’s famous words sums up a ques­tion that all Amer­i­cans should ask them­selves: “A repub­lic – Can we keep it?”

Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Patty Murray urges Republicans to stop blocking gun safety bills in the U.S. Senate

Democ­rats proved again this past week that they have the votes to pass gun safe­ty laws in the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, vot­ing most­ly along par­ty lines to adopt the Pro­tect­ing Our Chil­dren Act and the Fed­er­al Extreme Risk Pro­tec­tion Act — bills that Pres­i­dent Joe Biden is eager to sign.

In the Sen­ate, how­ev­er, Repub­li­cans wield a veto over all pol­i­cy bills thanks to the col­lec­tion of pro­ce­dures known as the fil­i­buster, which enables them to block pret­ty much all leg­is­la­tion they don’t like from even being considered.

Reform­ing the fil­i­buster would require the entire Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus to be unit­ed in sup­port of a rules change, but two mem­bers — Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sine­ma — are adamant­ly opposed to such a move, leav­ing Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers like Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, and Pat­ty Mur­ray with lit­tle recourse oth­er than to call on Repub­li­cans to work with Democ­rats to pro­tect Americans.

That’s exact­ly what Sen­a­tor Mur­ray did yes­ter­day at an appear­ance with advo­cates and local elect­ed lead­ers host­ed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Senator Murray at a press conference hosted by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility

Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray speaks at a press con­fer­ence host­ed by the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty in Seat­tle. Alliance CEO Renee Hop­kins, Lin­coln High sopho­more Chetan Soni, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Berry, and the Seat­tle Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion’s Joaquín Rodríguez also spoke. (Pho­to: Alexa Moormeier/NPI)

Mur­ray’s event, which pre­ced­ed NPI’s press con­fer­ence in Kent with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, was opened by Renee Hop­kins, the CEO of the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty. She cit­ed some of the recent mass shoot­ings that have drawn nation­al media atten­tion, includ­ing the tragedies in Uvalde, Buf­fa­lo, Lagu­na Woods, and Tul­sa. She also point­ed out that many of the chil­dren killed in Uvalde were born in the same year as the atroc­i­ty at Sandy Hook in Newtown.

Although mass shoot­ings draw the most media inter­est, Hop­kins not­ed that “the vast major­i­ty of gun vio­lence hap­pens in our homes and our neigh­bor­hoods every sin­gle day with­out mak­ing head­lines.” An aver­age of one hun­dred and twen­ty peo­ple are killed with guns in this coun­try every day. Recent leg­is­la­tion adopt­ed in Wash­ing­ton State will help pre­vent gun vio­lence here, but much more needs to be done, Hop­kins explained, espe­cial­ly at the fed­er­al lev­el, where bills to do things that Wash­ing­ton State has already done are being held up by Republicans.

(At the state lev­el, the next step seems to be an assault weapons ban, which NPI’s research is strong­ly sup­port­ed by a major­i­ty of like­ly 2022 vot­ers.)

Joaquín Rodríguez, Direc­tor of the Seat­tle Edu­ca­tion Association’s Cen­ter for Racial Equi­ty, dis­cussed the harm that gun vio­lence has inflict­ed on his stu­dents, empha­siz­ing the anx­i­ety caused by lock­downs and cred­i­ble threats of violence.

Stu­dents need and deserve to learn in a healthy, safe, and pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment in order to thrive, he told reporters.

He denounced elect­ed offi­cials who take mon­ey from the gun lob­by, observ­ing that these are often the same peo­ple who deny pro­vid­ing pre­dom­i­nant­ly schools in Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties the resources they need. Final­ly, he chal­lenged law­mak­ers to rec­og­nize that stu­dents want to be free from intru­sive and aggres­sive polic­ing along with end­ing gun violence.

Next to speak was There­sa Hard­ing, who joined Rodríguez in empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of rec­og­niz­ing stu­dent activism in the strug­gle to end gun vio­lence. Elect­ed offi­cials and old­er vot­ers need to be as ded­i­cat­ed to this cause as stu­dents are, Hard­ing said. She cit­ed New Zealand, which took action direct­ly after a hor­rif­ic mass shoot­ing to ban semi-auto­mat­ic weapons, as an exam­ple of a juris­dic­tion where lead­ers lis­ten, call­ing on Con­gress to take sim­i­lar steps.

Lin­coln High sopho­more Chetan Soni explained what it is like to be con­sis­tent­ly remind­ed of the threat of gun vio­lence through lock­down drills and active lock­downs. Soni argued that teach­ers should not be expect­ed to inform their stu­dents that they are will­ing to die for them in the event of a shoot­ing, which is some­thing that many of his teach­ers have shared.

Chetan urged Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress to cut all ties with the gun lob­by and pur­sue leg­is­la­tion pro­mot­ing gun safety.

“Every sin­gle hour and every sin­gle day: That is how often stu­dents and staff think about gun vio­lence when they enter their class­rooms,” Soni said.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Berry, who suc­ceed­ed NPI’s Gael Tar­leton in the Leg­is­la­ture as one of two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the 36th Dis­trict, shared her expe­ri­ence with gun vio­lence at a con­stituent event for for­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gab­by Gif­fords, her boss at the time. After fir­ing thir­ty-one times, shoot­ing eigh­teen peo­ple, and killing five, the gun­man was tak­en down while attempt­ing to reload.

The gun­man’s use of a semi-auto­mat­ic firearm and high capac­i­ty mag­a­zine designed for ruth­less, effi­cient killing result­ed in a high death toll.

Recent­ly passed gun safe­ty laws, includ­ing a ban on “ghost guns” and invest­ment in com­mu­ni­ty inter­ven­tion pro­grams, have moved Wash­ing­ton for­ward, Berry said. Gun safe­ty laws have been shown to low­er rates of gun vio­lence, but only Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led states have been pass­ing them. Repub­li­can-con­trolled states have inde­fen­si­bly made it eas­i­er for peo­ple to own and pos­sess mil­i­tary-style guns.

Action is need­ed at the fed­er­al lev­el to ensure all Amer­i­cans are bet­ter pro­tect­ed from gun vio­lence, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Berry said, adding that gun man­u­fac­tur­ers should no longer enjoy immu­ni­ty from liability.

Sen­a­tor Mur­ray, who was the final speak­er, remind­ed those present that gun vio­lence remains a big threat to pub­lic safe­ty here, ref­er­enc­ing the record num­ber of firearm deaths in 2021 in King Coun­ty as well as cred­i­ble shoot­ing threats made against Wash­ing­ton schools in recent weeks.

Wash­ing­ton State has shown what can be accom­plished even in the face of stri­dent oppo­si­tion from the gun lob­by, but Con­gress has not, because Sen­ate Repub­li­cans have sad­ly blocked any and all progress to date.

Sen­a­tor Mur­ray reit­er­at­ed that her cau­cus is pre­pared to sup­port any pro­pos­als that Repub­li­cans are will­ing to pro­vide suf­fi­cient votes for, so long as they actu­al­ly respond to the prob­lem of gun vio­lence. Even tak­ing small steps would be bet­ter than the almost total lack of action we’ve seen in the wake of pre­vi­ous tragedies.

As Sen­a­tor Mur­ray said, all Amer­i­cans, no mat­ter what state they live in, deserve to be safe and free from gun vio­lence. That’s a future that we at NPI strong­ly believe in. We’ll keep work­ing with the Alliance and lead­ers like Sen­a­tor Mur­ray to secure the pas­sage of laws to make us a freer and safer people.

Friday, June 10th, 2022

Mark Funk admits that initiative to overturn capital gains tax on the wealthy is kaput

A right wing effort to force a vote this Novem­ber on the cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy enact­ed by the Leg­is­la­ture in 2021 has failed and will not be mov­ing for­ward, its com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant acknowl­edged today.

The Her­ald’s Jer­ry Corn­field made con­tact with Mark Funk, one of the oper­a­tives who has been try­ing to get Ini­tia­tive 1929 air­borne over the last few months, and Funk went on the record to con­firm that the group head­ed by for­mer Dino Rossi advis­er J. Van­der Stoep has thrown in the tow­el and won’t be try­ing to put togeth­er an eleventh hour sig­na­ture dri­ve this month.

“Our coali­tion has con­fi­dence in the strength of the court case and we believe that the low­er court deci­sion will be upheld on appeal,” Funk told Cornfield.

What was the point of Ini­tia­tive 1929, then?

Seri­ous­ly. Funk and Van­der Stoep spent a small for­tune on legal fees, polling, web devel­op­ment, and con­sult­ing for an ini­tia­tive that did­n’t go anywhere.

Now Funk is claim­ing that I‑1929 isn’t need­ed right now because the group are con­fi­dent in the strength of the legal chal­lenge that Rob McKen­na’s group of plain­tiffs pre­vi­ous­ly filed. Yeah, that’s a total­ly believ­able statement.

Clear­ly, they aren’t con­fi­dent in the strength of the court case, or they would­n’t have sunk so much time and mon­ey into an effort to ask vot­ers to nix ESSB 5096, the law that cre­at­ed Wash­ing­ton’s new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy.

Funk insists that the cam­paign’s inter­nal polling shows that vot­ers “over­whelm­ing­ly” favor repeal. But our own research and polling done for oth­er pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions shows exact­ly the opposite.

The I‑1929 bal­lot title is one of the worst per­form­ing bal­lot titles that our team has ever seen, and vot­ers sim­ply don’t find the argu­ments that the right wing has been mak­ing against ESSB 5096 per­sua­sive. (We test­ed those right wing argu­ments again just last week and found they’re still not resonating.)

Funk has not pro­duced any of the cam­paign’s inter­nal polling, so we don’t know what ques­tions they asked or how those ques­tions were answered, but nonethe­less, his claims that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are eager to vote for repeal are com­plete­ly con­tra­dict­ed by the polling that has been pub­licly released.

Funk and Van­der Stoep had been seek­ing mil­lions to launch a sig­na­ture dri­ve, qual­i­fy I‑1929 to the bal­lot, and then wage a well-fund­ed autumn cam­paign to get it past vot­ers. How­ev­er, from what we’ve heard, they sim­ply could not find enough tak­ers to under­write their mas­sive­ly bloat­ed, oper­a­tive-enrich­ing bud­get, and their fundrais­ing sput­tered to a com­plete halt a few weeks ago.

In a C4 report filed today with the Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion, Van­der Stoep’s oper­a­tion report­ed hav­ing raised zero dol­lars in the month of May, while hav­ing spent an eye-pop­ping $171,482.06 dur­ing that same period.

More than half of that amount went to Davis Wright Tremaine for legal fees.

Tens of thou­sands more went to Funk and sev­er­al oth­ers for cam­paign consulting.

Funk was paid $3,000, Peri Hall & Asso­ciates was paid $15,000, Sound Coun­sel Cri­sis Com­mu­ni­ca­tions was paid $7,500, R.L. Stein­man was paid $6,000.00, Joce­lyn McCabe Pub­lic Rela­tions was paid $4,000, Dena Derr was paid $3,000, and Bre­court Strate­gies was paid $2,500. And, of course, Heather Clarke earned $7,500 for keep­ing the books. And, no I’m not jok­ing: all of those enti­ties were paid those amounts dur­ing a month when Van­der Stoep’s cam­paign com­mit­tee was inac­tive and tak­ing in no receipts. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

The only thing that the I‑1929 effort will go into the his­to­ry books as hav­ing accom­plished is serv­ing up a metaphor­i­cal feast for right wing polit­i­cal con­sul­tants. A total of $702,750 was raised and $545,000 was pledged before the plug was pulled, and not a sin­gle sig­na­ture was gathered.

Wow. Just… wow.

The excess was so incred­i­ble that even Tim Eyman felt safe weigh­ing in and com­par­ing his now mori­bund ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry to Van­der Stoep’s operation.

“Their high-priced cam­paign con­sul­tants gob­bled up all the mon­ey they raised leav­ing noth­ing for the sig­na­ture dri­ve. They told their donors they need­ed $19 mil­lion. Pa-leeze,” Eyman wrote in a May 14th email mis­sive, in which he char­ac­ter­ized Van­der Stoep’s Ini­tia­tive 1929 as “doomed.”

Eyman also opined that I‑1929’s pro­gres­sive oppo­nents (like NPI) were cor­rect about the I‑1929 bal­lot title being a com­plete dis­as­ter, declar­ing: “Their bal­lot title was so bad that it made the ini­tia­tive un-winnable at the bal­lot box.”

Shop­ping for duplic­i­tous bal­lot titles with drafts chock full of uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions is def­i­nite­ly some­thing that Tim Eyman knows an awful lot about. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for Eyman, the I‑1929 alter­na­tive that he’s ped­dling right now as an ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture also has a bal­lot title that does­n’t poll well, despite the involve­ment of attor­ney Joel Ard, who Eyman says is a legal genius.

Eyman has not been able to run a sig­na­ture dri­ve in four years due to hav­ing failed to find new wealthy bene­fac­tors to under­write his schemes. The last dri­ve he did was in 2018, for I‑976, which appeared on the bal­lot in 2019.

I‑1929’s demise is a wel­come vic­to­ry for the pro­gres­sive move­ment, which formed a coali­tion called No Tax Cut for the Super Rich to pre­pare a cam­paign to defeat I‑1929 in the event Van­der Stoep secured the mon­ey need­ed to move ahead. (NPI belongs to the coali­tion; our board took a posi­tion last month for­mal­ly oppos­ing I‑1929.) The coali­tion has relied exten­sive­ly on donat­ed staff time to sup­port its oper­a­tions, rather than burn­ing through huge amounts of cash.

The right wing legal chal­lenge against ESSB 5096 still must be over­come to keep the cause of tax fair­ness on track in Wash­ing­ton State, but it’s delight­ful to be free of the threat of I‑1929 in the com­ing autumn elec­tion season.

Friday, June 10th, 2022

Most Washington voters strongly support a ban on military-style assault weapons

A major­i­ty of like­ly 2022 vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State sup­port a ban on mil­i­tary-style assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle, with over fifty per­cent express­ing strong sup­port, NPI’s most recent statewide sur­vey has found.

56% of 1,039 vot­ers sur­veyed last week for NPI by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling said they sup­port­ed a ban, while 38% were opposed. Just 6% were not sure.

52% expressed strong sup­port and 31% expressed strong oppo­si­tion. 4% were some­what sup­port­ive and 7% were some­what opposed.

This find­ing demon­strates that there is sol­id sup­port for leg­is­la­tion in Wash­ing­ton to pro­hib­it the sale, man­u­fac­ture, trans­port, or import of firearms that were designed to effi­cient­ly kill large num­bers of human beings.

June 2022 assault weapons ban poll finding

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s poll find­ing con­cern­ing vot­ers’ sup­port for a ban on assault weapons such as the AR-15 rifle

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, who joined our team today in Kent to unveil this poll find­ing, has request­ed such leg­is­la­tion for over half a decade, but it has­n’t received a floor vote in either the state House or the state Senate.

2023 can and must be the year that it final­ly does.

Over the past few weeks, there has been an almost non­stop series of mass shoot­ings around the coun­try. Shop­pers at a Buf­fa­lo, New York gro­cery store were mur­der­ous­ly gunned down with an assault weapon the shoot­er had mod­i­fied.

Then, just days lat­er, chil­dren at an ele­men­tary school in Uvalde, Texas were also mas­sa­cred with an assault weapon, their bod­ies in many cas­es unrec­og­niz­able for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pur­pos­es as a result of the hor­rif­ic exit wounds.

ABC News tal­lied even more recent car­nage in a graph­ic pub­lished this week.

The Unit­ed States is the only advanced coun­try in the world that reg­u­lar­ly expe­ri­ences the tragedy of mass shoot­ings. And as recent his­to­ry has shown us, no kind of place in our land has been spared from the scourge of gun violence.

Homes, work­places, schools, hous­es of wor­ship, gro­cery sto­ries, movie the­aters, fes­ti­vals… all been turned into grue­some crime scenes too many times to count.

We don’t have to live like this or accept it. There is no legit­i­mate rea­son to allow civil­ians to buy or import weapons of war. How­itzers, fight­er jets, and tanks aren’t for sale to civil­ians, and mil­i­tary-style assault weapons should­n’t be either.

If you search the net, you’ll find seem­ing­ly end­less essays from gun enthu­si­asts argu­ing vocif­er­ous­ly that gun safe­ty laws sim­ply don’t work and can’t work.

But the expe­ri­ence of the world’s oth­er democ­ra­cies proves they’re wrong.

Dur­ing most of the 1990s, the Unit­ed States had a fed­er­al-lev­el assault weapons ban in place, which cred­i­ble research indi­cates helped reduce mass shoot­ings.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that ban expired in 2004 and was­n’t renewed by Con­gress, which was under Repub­li­can con­trol at the time.

Sev­en states cur­rent­ly have assault weapons bans in place, along with the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, but Wash­ing­ton isn’t one of them. (The sev­en states are Cal­i­for­nia, Con­necti­cut, Hawaii, Mary­land, Mass­a­chu­setts, New Jer­sey and New York.)

Our polling shows that vot­ers here are ready for the Ever­green State to take action and be among the van­guard of states that ban assault weapons.

Here’s the ques­tion we asked and the answers we received:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose ban­ning the sale, trans­port, man­u­fac­ture, or import of mil­i­tary-style assault weapons like the AR-15 rifle in Wash­ing­ton State?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 56% 
    • Strong­ly: 52%
    • Some­what: 4%
  • Oppose: 38%
    • Some­what: 7%
    • Strong­ly: 31%
  • Not sure: 6%

Our sur­vey of 1,039 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, June 1st through Thurs­day, June 2nd, 2022.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

More infor­ma­tion about the survey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

In King Coun­ty, which is home to over thir­ty per­cent of the state’s pop­u­la­tion, sup­port for an assault weapons ban is a whop­ping 73%, with 68% strong­ly sup­port­ive and just 19% opposed in total. 7% were not sure.

But King Coun­ty isn’t the only region of the state that sup­ports a ban.

You might think that East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton would be adamant­ly opposed to an assault weapons ban, giv­en the area’s right wing bent.

But it turns out that even vot­ers there sup­port an assault weapons ban.

50% of vot­ers in East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton are sup­port­ive: 45% strong­ly, 5% some­what. 43% are opposed: 38% strong­ly, 5% somewhat.

That’s a majority!

Sup­port for an assault weapons ban also spans across all ages, with majori­ties of every group old enough to vote sup­port­ive of ban­ning assault weapons.

Young vot­ers ages eigh­teen to twen­ty-nine, who rep­re­sent Wash­ing­ton’s future, are the most enthu­si­as­tic. 74% of them (prac­ti­cal­ly three-fourths!) sup­port a ban, with 71% strong­ly sup­port­ive and 3% some­what supportive.

Encour­ag­ing­ly, more than a fifth of vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as Repub­li­can (21%) are sup­port­ive of an assault weapons ban, along with near­ly 90% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers and 44% of inde­pen­dent vot­ers. (Anoth­er 48% of inde­pen­dents say they are opposed, while a fur­ther 8% are not sure.)

This new find­ing fits with our pre­vi­ous research on sup­port for gun safe­ty laws in Wash­ing­ton State, which now goes back over half a decade.

In 2016, we found sky-high sup­port for Ini­tia­tive 1491 (extreme risk pro­tec­tion orders), which passed eas­i­ly. In 2018, we found rock sol­id sup­port for Ini­tia­tive 1639 (rais­ing the age to buy firearms and insti­tut­ing safe stor­age require­ments), which also passed eas­i­ly. Ear­li­er this year, in Feb­ru­ary, we found a super­ma­jor­i­ty sup­port­ive of ban­ning high-capac­i­ty mag­a­zines and pro­hibit­ing the car­ry­ing of guns at local gov­ern­ment meet­ings and elec­tion sites.

The Leg­is­la­ture has tak­en impor­tant steps in the last few ses­sions to build on the three vot­er-approved gun safe­ty ini­tia­tives adopt­ed by the people.

That’s wel­come progress. But we can’t stop there.

Next year, the Leg­is­la­ture must go fur­ther and ban mil­i­tary-style assault weapons from being sold, man­u­fac­tured, trans­port­ed, or import­ed in Wash­ing­ton State.

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