A Northwest Progressive Institute bill that would advance voting justice in Washington by getting rid of Tim Eyman’s
advisory votes push polls sailed out of the Washington State Senate after receiving a bipartisan vote of support this morning, with thirty senators voting in favor and eighteen voting against.
Senate Bill 5082, prime sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer (D‑48th District: Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland) does two things: it liberates our ballots from Eyman’s annual anti-tax propaganda, saving taxpayers millions of dollars, and replaces them with useful, truthful fiscal information prepared by legislative and OFM staff that will be available online in advance of every general election, referenced in the voter’s pamphlet with a QR code, phone number, and URL.
The bill is cosponsored by nearly half of the Senate Democratic caucus and was selected by Senate leadership for early bill action this session.
The bill had its public hearing on the second day of session, with eleven speakers testifying in favor and two opposed. Tim Eyman hilariously did not show up at the hearing because he was not paying attention. The bill received a “do pass” recommendation in the State Government Committee a few days later, and then breezed through both Ways & Means and Rules onto the Senate’s floor calendar.
SB 5082 is the fifth incarnation of this voting justice legislation; Senator Patty Kuderer and NPI have kept determinedly bringing it back because our state needs it. Hopefully, this is the year that it gets signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.
Prior to passing the bill, the Senate adopted a floor striking amendment sponsored by Senator Kuderer, which reflects our input and which we support. This amendment strengthens Part III of the bill, ensuring that the replacement for “advisory votes” can be smoothly implemented and fulfill its noble purpose of helping voters understand the state of the state’s finances.
A slew of Republican attempts to sabotage the bill and subject it to a referendum were voted down by the chamber’s Democratic majority.
The roll call vote on SB 5082 was as follows:
Repeal and replacement of “advisory votes”
Senate vote on 3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 30; Nays: 18; Excused: 1
Voting Yea: Senator Billig, Cleveland, Conway, Dhingra, Frame, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hunt, Kauffman, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Mullet, Nguyen, Nobles, Pedersen, Randall, Robinson, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Shewmake, Stanford, Trudeau, Valdez, Van De Wege, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)
Voting Nay: Senator Boehnke, Braun, Dozier, Fortunato, Gildon, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Muzzall, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Torres, Wagoner, Warnick, Wilson (Jeff) Wilson (Lynda)
Excused: Senator Padden
Every Democratic senator voted for the bill, joined by Republican Brad Hawkins. The chamber’s other Republicans voted against the bill.
Hawkins also crossed party lines to support this legislation in 2019. He was joined by two other Republicans in backing the first incarnation of the bill — Senators Hans Zeiger and Barbara Bailey — who have since left the Legislature.
We’ve published a statement thanking the Senate for its leadership and decisive vote for this bill, which is available through our Permanent Defense project.
Senator Kuderer, Senator Hunt, and Senator Billig deserve everyone’s thanks for getting us to this important milestone less than one month into session.
We are also deeply grateful to all of our allies and partners for their help in advocating for this necessary legislation. Today’s vote is proof that our grassroots lobbying is getting results for the voters and taxpayers of Washington State.
SB 5082 now heads to the Washington State House of Representatives. It will have its first reading shortly and then be referred to the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee for a hearing and executive action.
That committee has already held a hearing on 5082’s House companion bill, HB 1158, which is prime sponsored by our House champion, Representative Amy Walen (D‑48th District: Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue) and cosponsored by a third of the House Democratic caucus, including Majority Leader Joe Fitzgibbon, Majority Whip Alex Ramel, and Majority Floor Leader Monica Stonier.