Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Haugen and BIAW trying to kill Homeowner's Bill of Rights on Senate floor?

Late last night, we at NPI received some disturbing news which we now feel obliged to share with supporters: E2SHB 1393, the safe homes guarantee legislation that is the latest incarnation of the Homeowner's Bill of Rights, is potentially in danger of being scuttled and gutted by Republicans and a group of Democrats friendly to the Building Industry Association of Washington.

The group is reportedly led by Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10th District). Haugen's plan is to introduce a striking amendment, drafted by BIAW's lawyers, that would destroy of all the strong elements in the bill.

According to Senator Rodney Tom, the Senate's top advocate for safe homes, Haugen apparently has the votes to get her striking amendment passed. That would mean at least one of the twenty five Democrats who previously voted for SB 5895 has defected and is prepared to support Haugen.

This is obviously a distressing development, but I want to stress that, as far as we know, HB 1393 has not actually been amended yet, and remains intact in its strong form. Josh Feit, at Publicola, has reported that Haugen's language has already made it into the bill. We believe that's inaccurate. Haugen's striker doesn't appear to have been introduced yet. (You can see this for yourself on the Legislature's website. The last time the bill was amended was in Ways & Means).

UPDATE: We can confirm that the Haugen striker has been introduced. I've scanned through the text of it and it is indeed awful. It's not on the bill page for E2SHB 1393 yet, but we have the text of it (PDF). However, while the striking amendment has been introduced, I want to re-emphasize that we don't believe there has been a vote on it yet. I'm making inquiries to see if we can learn more.

UPDATE II: Haugen's striker is now on the bill page.

It's unclear whether Senate leadership will even place E2SHB 1393 on the Order of Consideration without the requisite twenty five votes to pass it in its current form. And if it doesn't make it onto the Order of Consideration, it wouldn't come up for debate, and thus wouldn't be amended or acted upon in any way.

In other words, to summarize this post... the Homeowner's Bill of Rights is threatened, but not weakened and not dead - yet. It can still be saved. The Building Industry Association of Washington hasn't won yet. And they won't if we can find twenty five votes to support this bill as it stands now.


Blogger WSPC Member said...

No surprise here. Big money talks loud and clear.

April 11, 2009 9:09 AM  

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