Washington State’s newly minted Democratic Senate majority notched its first signature legislative win tonight, bringing Andy Billig’s DISCLOSE Act to the floor for a vote and easily passing the legislation with the support of several Republicans.
The DISCLOSE Act (SSB 5991) is the first bill to be rescued from the Senate Republicans’ graveyard of progress. It aims to bolster transparency, so that Washington voters have a better idea of who is trying to influence their vote.
Senate Republicans have for years blocked this noble bill from being discussed and voted on. Tonight — at last! — it received a floor debate in the Senate. And when the time came for senators to decide its fate, it was able to pass easily with support from both sides of the aisle. This is great news for the State of Washington.
“The bipartisan Senate vote tonight on the DISCLOSE Act takes us one step closer to shining a light on dark money in Washington state elections,” said Billig (D‑6th District: Spokane). “Campaign transparency increases accountability, reduces the opportunity for corruption and strengthens our democracy.
“The disclosure loophole that this bill will fix is being exploited by groups across the political spectrum. Ultimately, this bill benefits not one party or another but the citizens of our state,” Billig added in his statement on the bill’s passage. “Most importantly, transparency of the source of money in elections creates more informed voters, which ultimately results in a healthier democracy.”
All twenty-five Democratic Senators voted to pass SSB 5991. They were joined by seven Republicans: Michael Baumgartner (yes, really!), Joe Fain, Brad Hawkins, Mark Miloscia, Maureen Walsh, Judy Warnick, and Hans Zeiger.
The roll call vote on final passage was as follows:
Campaign finance disclosures
Senate vote on 3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 32; Nays: 17
Voting Yea: Senator Baumgartner, Billig, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Dhingra, Fain, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, McCoy, Miloscia, Mullet, Nelson, Palumbo, Pedersen, Ranker, Rolfes, Saldaña, Takko, Van De Wege, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Zeiger
Voting Nay: Senator Angel, Bailey, Becker, Braun, Brown, Ericksen, Fortunato, Honeyford, King, O’Ban, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Wagoner, Wilson
Tonight’s passage of SSB 5991 was made possible by the victory of Democratic State Senator Manka Dhingra, whose win in the 45th District last year shifted the balance of power in the Washington State Senate. Now that Democrats run the chamber, good bills can get hearings and do pass recommendations in committee, Governor Inslee’s nominees can receive the consideration they deserve, and long-overdue ideas like the DISCLOSE Act can make it to the Senate floor.
NPI congratulates the Washington State Senate on taking a big step towards greater transparency and accountability of money in politics. This is a big deal.