NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.
  • Sustain the Cascadia Advocate by joining us on April 17th!

    Join us online on April 17th for our 2020 Spring Gala!

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020

Progressive Marie Newman ousts right wing Democrat Dan Lipinski in IL-03 rematch

Bernie Sanders may be falling short in his quest for the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion, but pro­gres­sive activists in Illi­nois have suc­ceed­ed in oust­ing an entrenched incum­bent Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the U.S. House who oppos­es repro­duc­tive rights. Con­gress­man Dan Lip­in­s­ki, fifty-three, has failed to secure renom­i­na­tion in Illi­nois’ 3rd Dis­trict. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty will instead be rep­re­sent­ed this Novem­ber by pro­gres­sive chal­lenger Marie New­man:

New­man held more than 47% of the vote over Lipinski’s near­ly 45%, putting the LaGrange chal­lenger clos­er to top­pling a south sub­ur­ban polit­i­cal dynasty that dates back near­ly four decades. It was enough for New­man to declare vic­to­ry over the eight-term incum­bent.

“This cam­paign has always been about work­ers and work­ing peo­ple and advo­cat­ing for bet­ter health­care and an econ­o­my that works for every­body,” New­man said in a state­ment.

“I look for­ward to work­ing with this amaz­ing coali­tion over the next sev­en months to con­tin­ue spread­ing that mes­sage.”

But Lip­in­s­ki wasn’t ready to throw in the tow­el.

“As we close this evening, there are still votes to be count­ed in this race,” Lip­in­s­ki said in a state­ment.

“It is very close. We may have to wait overnight or into the morn­ing for the final vote count. I want to thank every­one for their sup­port. Please stay safe and take care of your­selves and your fam­i­lies.”

Two years ago, New­man lost to Lip­in­s­ki by the slimmest of mar­gins. This time around, it appears that she will pre­vail. There are votes still left to count, but not many, and Lip­in­s­ki would need a mir­a­cle to over­come his deficit.

Lip­in­ski’s father Bill rep­re­sent­ed the dis­trict from 1983 to 2005 and Dan has held it ever since. It is a solid­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict. Now, for the first time in decades, it will not be rep­re­sent­ed by some­one from the Lip­in­s­ki fam­i­ly.

It is impor­tant to note that Lip­in­s­ki isn’t just opposed to wom­en’s repro­duc­tive rights. He calls him­self a Demo­c­rat, but he does not act or vote like one.

As Wikipedia notes:

He did not endorse Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma for reelec­tion in 2012, oppos­es legal­ized abor­tion and stem cell research, was the only House Demo­c­rat from Illi­nois to vote against the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act, sup­port­ed reau­tho­riz­ing the Patri­ot Act in 2006, and sup­port­ed the Defense of Mar­riage and First Amend­ment Defense Acts.

If Lip­in­s­ki rep­re­sent­ed a deep red dis­trict, his lack of sup­port for Demo­c­ra­t­ic and pro­gres­sive caus­es would not be so egre­gious. But he rep­re­sents a blue dis­trict and has no excuse for depriv­ing his con­stituents of pro­gres­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tion, orga­ni­za­tions like Indi­vis­i­ble and Democ­ra­cy For Amer­i­ca say.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to Marie New­man! This is a big night for the pro­gres­sive move­ment, scor­ing a win in one of the most impor­tant pri­maries of 2020. This race has big impli­ca­tions for what it means to be a Demo­c­rat in the Trump era,” tweet­ed Indi­vis­i­ble’s nation­al account, adding her cam­paign hash­tag #NewDayinIL03.

“I am burst­ing with pride and grat­i­tude for the amaz­ing coali­tion that helped bring about much need­ed change in our dis­trict,” New­man tweet­ed after results became avail­able. “We are going to work togeth­er to low­er health care costs, to fight cli­mate change, and to build an econ­o­my that works for every­one.”

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

Biden demolishes Sanders’ comeback chances as Arizona, Florida and Illinois vote

On Tues­day, vot­ing went ahead under the cloud of the rapid­ly wors­en­ing coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in three states: Ari­zona, Flori­da, and Illi­nois. All three states went over­whelm­ing­ly for for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, push­ing him into a vir­tu­al­ly insur­mount­able lead over his only remain­ing rival, Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders.

If Super Tues­day was a dev­as­tat­ing punch to the Sen­a­tor’s odds of win­ning the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, the St. Patrick­’s Day “Super Tues­day III” nom­i­nat­ing exer­cise might prove to be the killing blow for his cam­paign.

As of press time, results in Flori­da were as fol­lows:

2020 Florida Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Joe Biden1,070,826
Bernie Sanders395,069
Michael R. Bloomberg146,397
Pete Buttigieg39,864
Eliz­a­beth War­ren32,775
Amy Klobuchar17,260
Tul­si Gab­bard8,694
Andrew Yang5,261
Michael Ben­net4,229
Tom Stey­er2,509
Mar­i­anne Williamson1,740
John Delaney1,572
Cory Book­er1,496
Julian Cas­tro1,031
Joe Ses­tak662
Deval Patrick656

Results in Illi­nois were as fol­lows:

2020 Illinois Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Biden, Joe909,46059.09%
Sanders, Bernie554,97436.06%
Bloomberg, Michael23,4451.52%
War­ren, Eliz­a­beth21,7091.41%
Buttigieg, Pete8,9940.58%
Gab­bard, Tul­si8,9910.58%
Yang, Andrew3,6950.24%
Book­er, Cory2,5310.16%
Stey­er, Tom1,5810.1%
Patrick, Deval1,4830.1%
Ben­net, Michael1,2500.08%
Delaney, John1,1020.07%

And final­ly, results in Ari­zona were as fol­lows:

2020 Arizona Democratic presidential primary

Can­di­dateVotes ReceivedPer­cent­age
Joe Biden231,35143.11%
Bernie Sanders168,08231.32%
Eliz­a­beth War­ren34,5956.45%
Pete Buttigieg24,5834.58%
Tul­si Gab­bard2,7330.51%
Andrew Yang1,7790.33%
Julián Cas­tro6970.13%
Mar­i­anne Williamson6290.12%
Roque De La Fuente6070.11%
Deval Patrick2310.04%
Hen­ry Hewes2010.04%
Michael Ellinger1650.03%

Ohio was also sup­posed to vote today, but opt­ed to post­pone its pri­ma­ry.

So far, Sanders has won an esti­mat­ed 861 del­e­gates to Biden’s 1,147. Giv­en that a can­di­date needs 1,991 del­e­gates to win the nom­i­na­tion, and that over half of the states have already held their pri­maries (includ­ing the three most pop­u­lous), the odds of Sanders catch­ing Biden up have gone from extreme­ly slim to vir­tu­al­ly nil.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Biden, seem­ing to under­stand that the pri­ma­ry race is now enter­ing a new stage, struck a con­cil­ia­to­ry note in a live-streamed speech from his home in Wil­im­ing­ton, Delaware.

Mov­ing from an adver­sar­i­al to a coop­er­a­tive stance, Biden said that Sen­a­tor Sanders and his sup­port­ers brought “a remark­able pas­sion and tenac­i­ty” to the race which had “shift­ed the fun­da­men­tal con­ver­sa­tion in this coun­try.”

Address­ing Sanders’ sup­port­ers direct­ly, he told them, “I hear you, I know what’s at stake, I know what we have to do.”

Sanders spoke before results were announced, but not after.

The three states’ pri­maries might have sig­naled the effec­tive end of the 2020 bat­tle for the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, but any relief felt among Democ­rats will be tem­pered by the dev­as­tat­ing impact of the nov­el coro­n­avirus.

Most of Amer­i­ca is hun­ker­ing down to try to weath­er the effects of the glob­al pan­dem­ic – which has now spread to every U.S. state – and in-per­­son vot­ing on Tues­day was at dis­mal­ly low lev­els.

Accord­ing to reports, even elec­tion judges and vol­un­teers were choos­ing not to turn up to polling places, scared by the high risk of infec­tion.

How­ev­er, the turnout rates on Tues­day also offered insight into how upcom­ing pri­maries might be con­duct­ed safe­ly: turnout actu­al­ly increased from 2016 in both Ari­zona and Flori­da, thanks to high rates of ear­ly vot­ing. States such as Ohio that have delayed their pri­maries in the light of the COVID-19 threat should take this les­son into account: invest heav­i­ly in expand­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for vot­ers to cast their bal­lot with­out tak­ing the risk of going to a polling place.

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Ohio’s 2020 primary to be postponed, in defiance of state court ruling

In a last-minute deci­sion on Mon­day night, Ohio’s Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Mike DeWine post­poned his state’s pri­ma­ry elec­tions, in response to the threat of COVID-19 infec­tions at polling sites. DeWine’s deci­sion came in direct defi­ance of a judge’s order issued just a few hours ear­li­er.

While the inter­fer­ence of a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion process appears sus­pect on its face, Gov­er­nor DeWine’s deci­sion was in fact cor­rect and coura­geous. He put his case in sim­ple terms:

“We can’t tell peo­ple it’s in their best inter­ests to stay home and at the same time tell peo­ple to go vote.” The con­tra­dic­tion is glar­ing – states hold­ing a pri­ma­ry on Tues­day are effec­tive­ly ask­ing their cit­i­zens to weigh their civic duty of polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion against their civic duty to main­tain pub­lic health.

Nev­er­the­less, Judge Richard Frye decid­ed on Mon­day evening that it was too late to push back the elec­tion, as the case had not come “in a time­ly man­ner.”

In spite of the obvi­ous dan­gers of let­ting mass­es of peo­ple go to the polls with only a few hours to pre­pare for the poten­tial infec­tion risk, the judge argued that “there is no med­ical evi­dence to sug­gest here today that it would be safer to vote in June.” He went on to argue that as the pan­dem­ic may still be hap­pen­ing in the sum­mer, mov­ing the vote would not make any dif­fer­ence to pub­lic health.

In fact, it could make a lot of dif­fer­ence.

The pan­dem­ic is wors­en­ing at a stag­ger­ing­ly quick pace, and Ohio’s lead­ers need more time to effec­tive­ly imple­ment the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Control’s rec­om­men­da­tions, which include social dis­tanc­ing at poll sites, empha­sis on mail-in bal­lots, and dis­in­fect­ing vot­ing machines. Going ahead with the pri­ma­ry on Tues­day would guar­an­tee con­fu­sion at polling sites across the state. Hold­ing the pri­ma­ry in June instead would give every­one a bet­ter chance to par­tic­i­pate.

Ohio was not the only state set to vote on Tues­day.

Offi­cials in Illi­nois, Ari­zona and Flori­da have com­mit­ted to mov­ing ahead with nom­i­nat­ing events  – despite the fact that Flori­da already has over one hun­dred and fifty con­firmed cas­es (with five fatal­i­ties), and Illi­nois over one hun­dred.

Some states, how­ev­er, have already moved to post­pone. Louisiana and Geor­gia have pushed their pri­maries back months, with Ken­tucky fol­low­ing suit on Mon­day evening. Hope­ful­ly, oth­er upcom­ing states will take the respon­si­ble deci­sions that ensure that their cit­i­zens are not unnec­es­sar­i­ly exposed to health risks.

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Eleventh 2020 Democratic debate was defined by the coronavirus pandemic

The glob­al coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic has had a dra­mat­ic impact on the entire coun­try, shut­ting down trav­el, large gath­er­ings, sports events, bars, and restau­rants. The effects of the cri­sis were imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent to any­one tun­ing in to last night’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial debate between for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at podiumsInstead of a packed audi­to­ri­um in Ari­zona, the two men met in a ster­ile-look­ing CNN stu­dio in Wash­ing­ton D.C. with only each oth­er and the mod­er­a­tors for com­pa­ny (the risk of infec­tion in a live audi­ence was deemed to be too high).

And instead of shak­ing each other’s hands, they opt­ed for a friend­ly elbow bump.

The debate itself was over­whelm­ing­ly focused on the pan­dem­ic, with the can­di­dates being asked about their plans to deal with the emer­gency, their own per­son­al prac­tices to avoid infec­tion, and how they would reas­sure Amer­i­cans suf­fer­ing from the ill­ness or afraid of con­tract­ing it.

Both can­di­dates went into the debate with clear objec­tives.

Biden holds a con­vinc­ing lead in del­e­gates and will like­ly cruise to a major­i­ty through a sheer sense of inevitabil­i­ty. All he had to do in the debate was stay calm, appear pres­i­den­tial, and not fall into some dis­as­trous gaffe (as he has a habit of doing in debates). Sanders’ task was much hard­er; he had to knock the aura of invin­ci­bil­i­ty off of Biden and per­suade Biden’s key base – African Amer­i­cans and old­er vot­ers – to aban­don the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent.

The debate began with how each can­di­date would respond to the coro­n­avirus if they were pres­i­dent. Biden, draw­ing on his expe­ri­ence as Vice Pres­i­dent, sum­ma­rized a wide vari­ety of mea­sures he would have pur­sued, empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of nation­al lead­er­ship from the White House.

Sanders took a slight­ly dif­fer­ent approach.

While lay­ing out sim­i­lar emer­gency mea­sures he would take, he used the cri­sis to expose the U.S. health­care system’s many weak­ness­es – one of which is the fact that “we don’t have a sys­tem, we’ve got thou­sands of pri­vate insur­ance plans.”

He used the pan­dem­ic cri­sis to per­sua­sive­ly argue for pub­licly-fund­ed health­care, because right now the fear of costs is caus­ing peo­ple to avoid treat­ment.

How­ev­er, Biden argued that Medicare for All had “noth­ing to do with” this nation­al emer­gency. Instead of look­ing at the broad­er prob­lems of U.S. health­care, Biden sim­pli­fied the issue, say­ing “we’re at war with the virus.”

This was the first in a series of disin­gen­u­ous moments for Biden.

Whilst declar­ing that Medicare for All was not a solu­tion to the pan­dem­ic, Biden pro­claimed that he would “pass a law say­ing you do not have to pay for [COVID-19 treat­ment], peri­od.” He seemed not to real­ize that his pro­pos­al to deal with COVID-19 is akin to Sanders’ pro­pos­als for uni­ver­sal sin­gle pay­er health­care.

The dis­cus­sion moved on to the pandemic’s eco­nom­ic fall­out. Both can­di­dates argued for dra­mat­ic fed­er­al inter­ven­tion in the econ­o­my to pro­tect ordi­nary Amer­i­cans, but had very dif­fer­ent emphases. Sanders repeat­ed­ly asked the ques­tion, “how did we get here?” He point­ed to the vast eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty that has been sim­ply exac­er­bat­ed by the pan­dem­ic cri­sis. Biden, in con­trast, sought to divorce the cri­sis from its con­text, say­ing that “peo­ple are look­ing for results, not a rev­o­lu­tion.” Biden repeat­ed­ly went back to the idea of “mak­ing peo­ple whole.”

From then on, the debate got testi­er as the can­di­dates harsh­ly scru­ti­nized each other’s vot­ing records. Biden admon­ished Sanders for his votes against the 2008 Wall Street bailout bill and gun respon­si­bil­i­ty, but Sanders got in far more hits on a wide range of issues. He and Biden were on dif­fer­ent sides of votes on mar­riage equal­i­ty, the dis­as­trous bank­rupt­cy bill, the inva­sion of Iraq, trade deals like NAFTA and PNT, and the anti-repro­duc­tive health Hyde Amend­ment. Sanders’ mantra through all these points was that “it takes courage to do the right thing.

Biden can’t match Sanders’ pro­gres­sive record, so he sought to mud­dy the waters by tak­ing a series of disin­gen­u­ous posi­tions, and fib­bing on the stage.

He crit­i­cized Sanders’ nuanced posi­tions on author­i­tar­i­an regimes (“look at the world the way it is!”) with blunt refusal to see nuance. He said look­ing at China’s pover­­ty-reduc­­tion pro­grams was like prais­ing Jack the Rip­per.

Biden also took a disin­gen­u­ous stance on the Iraq occu­pa­tion.

He said that he vot­ed for Bush’s AUMF because “they assured me they would not use force.” In fact, Biden sup­port­ed an inva­sion of Iraq as far back as 1998, as well as after U.S. troops were on the ground in Iraq.

Biden went even fur­ther on the issue of pro­tect­ing Social Secu­ri­ty.

When Sanders pressed him about speech­es he had made argu­ing for the “need” to cut Social Secu­ri­ty (which he did as ear­ly as 1984 and as recent­ly as 2018), Biden sim­ply denied that he had ever made such com­ments. This led to an increas­ing­ly exas­per­at­ed Sanders push­ing the point, bit to no avail.

Biden also dis­tort­ed his involve­ment in the Bush error bank­rupt­cy bill, claim­ing he was­n’t for the pro­pos­al and only worked to make it less awful despite hav­ing vot­ed for it on final pas­sage, and spo­ken in favor of it.

Espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing that Biden had to resort to fibs to defend his posi­tion, Sanders undoubt­ed­ly won the argu­ment in Sun­day night’s debate.

Addi­tion­al­ly, in advance of the debate, Biden promised to adopt a num­ber of Sanders and Eliz­a­beth Warren’s pro­gres­sive plans.

How­ev­er, Sanders didn’t do enough.

The debate was Sanders’ last oppor­tu­ni­ty to turn the tables on the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent before vot­ing in Flori­da, Illi­nois, Ari­zona and Ohio on Tues­day.

Sanders did his best, but he failed in his main objec­tives. He didn’t go after Biden over Biden’s posi­tions on issues like bus­ing, as Kamala Har­ris did last sum­mer.

His attempts to shake Biden’s hold on old­er vot­ers over Social Secu­ri­ty were negat­ed by Biden’s fibs. And he failed to goad Biden into mak­ing a major gaffe – although Biden did have some word-sal­ad moments.

Com­ing out of the debate, Biden seems like­ly to increase his lead in del­e­gates in the com­ing states, and Sanders’ cam­paign is unlike­ly to be able to catch up. The ques­tion is increas­ing­ly becom­ing not who will win, but how the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty can even hold nom­i­nat­ing events amidst an unprece­dent­ed pan­dem­ic.

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Tim Eyman tries to defend his irresponsible behavior during coronavirus pandemic

Scam­mer and dis­graced ini­tia­tive pur­vey­or Tim Eyman has jus­ti­fi­ably been tak­ing a lot of flak dur­ing the past thir­ty-six hours for mak­ing irre­spon­si­ble jokes about the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic and urg­ing his fol­low­ers to join him in dis­re­gard­ing Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s recent pro­hi­bi­tion on large pub­lic gath­er­ings.

“Let’s stick our fin­ger in the eye of Jay Inslee: 251 is the # of patri­ots I hope will join me @ Oak Har­bor today. I’m bring­ing a six-pack of Coro­na!” Eyman blus­tered in an email sent Sat­ur­day morn­ing to his net­work of Repub­li­can PCO back­ers.

After I denounced Eyman’s mis­sive here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, it caught the atten­tion of The Seat­tle Times, The Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer, and The Stranger. The Stranger’s Christo­pher Frizzelle kind­ly both linked to and excerpt­ed the post.

It appears that Eyman also took some flak from peo­ple with­in his own par­ty, because last night he sent out anoth­er email that attempt­ed to explain and jus­ti­fy his irre­spon­si­ble behav­ior and ter­ri­ble com­ments.

That email — very dif­fer­ent in tone from the email that Eyman sent on Sat­ur­day morn­ing — con­tained the fol­low­ing com­men­tary. Here it is in full:

We’re fac­ing 2 crises: 1. the Coro­n­avirus & 2. the gov­ern­men­t’s reac­tion to it.

Sat­ur­day’s update and meet-and-greet in Oak Har­bor were intend­ed to pro­voke a need­ed debate.

I am very con­cerned.

All of us — includ­ing myself — are scram­bling to keep track of the fed­er­al, state, and local gov­ern­ments’ list of can’s and can­not’s.

They keep chang­ing on an almost hourly basis.

Any­time so many gov­ern­ments are man­dat­ing so many con­stant­ly evolv­ing restric­tions, cit­i­zens need to be espe­cial­ly vig­i­lant so the gov­ern­ment does­n’t make a bad sit­u­a­tion worse.

“The price of free­dom is eter­nal vig­i­lence.” That sure fits this.

Coro­n­avirus is some­thing we’re all very con­cerned about — there are peo­ple who have died from it and will die from it and all of us mourn for them and their fam­i­lies. And we’re grate­ful to those hero­ic peo­ple in the health care field who are doing their absolute best. Coro­n­avirus is right­ful­ly get­ting a lot of atten­tion.

But what’s not get­ting the atten­tion it deserves is the gov­ern­men­t’s reac­tion to it. It’s some­thing all of us need to rec­og­nize: there are legions of exam­ples in our nation’s his­to­ry where the gov­ern­ment — fed­er­al, state, and local — made a bad sit­u­a­tion worse and basic con­sti­tu­tion­al rights are tram­pled.

Dur­ing World War II, Japan­ese Amer­i­cans were put in intern­ment camps. Dur­ing the late 60’s, there was the House Com­mit­tee on Un-Amer­i­can Activ­i­ties and Hol­ly­wood’s “black list”.

After 9–11, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment imposed restric­tions that were not con­sis­tent with our US Con­sti­tu­tion.

There are innu­mer­able exam­ples.

At the meet-and-greet in Oak Har­bor yes­ter­day, I talked about this and it was very well received.

I high­light­ed my own per­son­al his­to­ry that influ­ences my con­vic­tions: when we were doing our local ini­tia­tives to let the vot­ers decide on red-light tick­et­ing cam­eras in 2010 and 2011 — the vot­ers sided with us every time. The gov­ern­ment always said it was about safe­ty, but vot­ers rec­og­nized it was also a loss of their lib­er­ty.

Dur­ing those cam­paigns, I often cit­ed the famous quote by Ben­jamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essen­tial Lib­er­ty, to pur­chase a lit­tle tem­po­rary Safe­ty, deserve nei­ther Lib­er­ty nor Safe­ty.”

The First Amend­ment guar­an­tees the cit­i­zen­ry the right to peace­ably assem­ble. I am very con­cerned that dur­ing fear-inten­sive sit­u­a­tions like this that the gov­ern­ment infringes on basic con­sti­tu­tion­al rights with­out suf­fi­cient ques­tion­ing.

And when that hap­pens, I’ve seen the media is often silent or even com­plic­it. It’s impor­tant that when the gov­ern­ment infringes on basic con­sti­tu­tion­al rights and the press falls down on the job, there needs to be peo­ple with the courage to ques­tion it, chal­lenge it, debate it. Jay Inslee did not “sug­gest” the sus­pen­sion of the First Amend­ment, he ordered it. That is deeply dis­turb­ing to me.

Noth­ing wrong with the gov­ern­ment say­ing — we strong­ly urge cit­i­zens to do the fol­low­ing — that’s fine.

But using the full weight and author­i­ty and pow­er of the gov­ern­ment to order the end of polit­i­cal dis­course, the sus­pen­sion of wor­ship, these are basic rights that do not need to be and should not be sac­ri­ficed with­out greater dis­cus­sion and debate.

I firm­ly believe we can have a soci­ety that val­ues both safe­ty and lib­er­ty but only if you elect peo­ple who are com­mit­ted to both.

My update on Sat­ur­day and the meet-and-greet in Oak Har­bor were intend­ed — and they’ve suc­ceed­ed — in pro­vok­ing a need­ed debate.

“No man is enti­tled to the bless­ings of free­dom unless he be vig­i­lant in its preser­va­tion.” Dou­glas MacArthur.

Peo­ple need to be con­cerned, not just about COVID-19, but also the gov­ern­men­t’s con­tin­ued esca­la­tion of restric­tions.

It’s a seri­ous ques­tion: what’s next?

These are very try­ing times that we are fac­ing right now. I ask you to join me in prayer. I ask you to join me in ask­ing ques­tions that aren’t being asked. I am very con­cerned, but I am also very cer­tain that togeth­er, we can over­come these chal­lenges with­out sac­ri­fic­ing what makes Amer­i­ca so spe­cial.

My best to you and your fam­i­lies.


I do under­stand the con­cern expressed in this com­men­tary, but it was wrong and extreme­ly irre­spon­si­ble of Eyman to attempt to insti­gate a debate by putting lives at risk. Eyman should have can­celed his meet and greet and offered to engage with his fol­low­ers online, which is actu­al­ly some­thing he already does.

(Once upon a time, Eyman used to avoid social media; say­ing it just was­n’t for him; but now he can bare­ly stay off of Face­book.)

If Eyman had can­celed his Whid­bey Island meet and greet and instead post­ed a Face­book video out­lin­ing his con­cerns about Gov­er­nor Inslee’s exec­u­tive orders, he would have been mod­el­ing respon­si­ble behav­ior for his fol­low­ers.

Eyman chose instead to con­vey the impres­sion that he con­sid­ers the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic a hoax and encour­aged peo­ple to engage in unsafe, risky behav­ior. That’s inex­cus­able. A per­son seek­ing high office should know bet­ter.

Sad­ly, Eyman does not care about the well-being of oth­ers as he claimed in the mes­sage above. What he does care about is get­ting pub­lic­i­ty and mak­ing a prof­it, and his long track record of lying and law­break­ing proves it.

It is rare — exceed­ing­ly rare — that Tim Eyman ever offers a thought­ful com­men­tary on any­thing. Most of what comes out of his mouth and email account are lies and fab­ri­ca­tions. So it’s good to see that he is at least capa­ble of con­tribut­ing a more con­tem­pla­tive take on an issue of pub­lic con­cern.

If Eyman had led with this, he would have got­ten a very dif­fer­ent response. Con­trary to what he seems to think, it is not nec­es­sary to behave bad­ly and engage in juve­nile name call­ing and taunts to attract atten­tion.

With regards to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s exec­u­tive orders, I emphat­i­cal­ly dis­agree with Eyman that the Gov­er­nor is sus­pend­ing the First Amend­ment.

Inslee is using his law­ful author­i­ty (see RCW 43.06.220) to pro­tect peo­ple — and specif­i­cal­ly, his con­stituents — dur­ing a pub­lic health cri­sis.

It was nec­es­sary for Inslee to issue the orders because mere­ly “sug­gest­ing” best prac­tices would not have been suf­fi­cient to save lives. Time was, and remains, of the essence. Act­ing on the advice of sci­en­tists, Inslee moved to ensure that social dis­tanc­ing best prac­tices would not be imple­ment­ed in a patch­work man­ner, but instead uni­form­ly, because that is the only approach that yields results.

None of Inslee’s orders sus­pends the First Amend­ment, as Eyman argues. Pub­lic gath­er­ings haven’t been out­lawed, but rather cur­tailed. It is still law­ful for peo­ple to peace­ably assem­ble to address their gov­ern­ment for a redress of griev­ances.

And in fact, there are tech­no­log­i­cal ways of assem­bling in large groups that do not involve being in close phys­i­cal prox­im­i­ty to lots of oth­er peo­ple. Such activ­i­ties are not restrict­ed in any way by Gov­er­nor Inslee’s orders. The Gov­er­nor’s aim is to ensure that as few peo­ple as pos­si­ble will get sick and die from coro­n­avirus.

If you con­tract the virus and lose your life, you will not be able to enjoy any of the lib­er­ties that the First Amend­ment affords you, because you won’t be alive.

Life, lib­er­ty, and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness. Those are the most impor­tant of the inalien­able rights guar­an­teed to all by the Cre­ator, accord­ing to our nation’s Founders, who explic­it­ly men­tioned them in the Dec­la­ra­tion of Inde­pen­dence. (The Dec­la­ra­tion pre­ced­ed the Con­sti­tu­tion by over a decade.)

Life comes first!

It is cer­tain­ly true, as Eyman stat­ed in his com­men­tary, that there have been times in our his­to­ry when peo­ple’s civ­il lib­er­ties were infringed upon in the name of safe­ty. This isn’t one of those times… at least not yet.

Thus far, the orders that have been issued by Inslee and oth­er gov­er­nors around the coun­try are sen­si­ble and designed to pro­tect peo­ple’s lib­er­ties by ensur­ing they don’t get sick and die wait­ing for med­ical care in over­loaded hos­pi­tals.

Impor­tant­ly, Gov­er­nor Inslee has repeat­ed­ly stat­ed that he expects vol­un­tary com­pli­ance with his orders, and that there will not be a puni­tive enforce­ment effort intend­ed to round up and penal­ize peo­ple who dis­re­gard the orders.

Sher­iffs and police depart­ments, for their part, have explic­it­ly advised peo­ple not to call 911 or even the non­emer­gency line to report indi­vid­u­als like Eyman who attempt to orga­nize pub­lic gath­er­ings exceed­ing two hun­dred and fifty peo­ple.

Our state gov­ern­men­t’s focus is pro­tec­tion and edu­ca­tion, just as it should be. Past gen­er­a­tions antic­i­pat­ed that there might be times of emer­gency when reg­u­lar order would need to be inter­rupt­ed to ensure the well-being of the peo­ple.

This is such a time of emer­gency and the Gov­er­nor is wield­ing his emer­gency pow­ers appro­pri­ate­ly. If he had­n’t issued the orders he did, he’d be get­ting crit­i­cized for fail­ing to act dur­ing a rapid­ly unfold­ing pan­dem­ic.

I also under­stand that as a lib­er­tar­i­an, Eyman is dis­trust­ful of author­i­ty and not enam­ored with the idea of gov­ern­ments mak­ing deci­sions on the basis of val­ues like pro­tec­tion and mutu­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, since those are not his val­ues.

But they are the val­ues Wash­ing­ton State was found­ed upon.

As I not­ed above, there have def­i­nite­ly been oth­er times when emer­gen­cies have been used to jus­ti­fy actions that were not in Amer­i­cans’ best inter­est.

For exam­ple, I hap­pen to agree with Eyman that after Sep­tem­ber 11th, Con­gress and Pres­i­dent Bush enact­ed laws that were sup­pos­ed­ly aimed at pro­tect­ing the Unit­ed States, but in real­i­ty under­mined our civ­il lib­er­ties. My team and I at NPI oppose the Patri­ot Act, for exam­ple, and we do not think it should be reau­tho­rized, unlike the major­i­ty in the House that vot­ed to extend it this week.

I was sur­prised that Eyman brought up the intern­ment of Japan­ese-Amer­i­cans (insti­gat­ed by an exec­u­tive order), as that is not a trav­es­ty that we usu­al­ly hear many in right wing cir­cles express any sor­row or con­cern over.

What we typ­i­cal­ly hear instead from the right wing is that Amer­i­ca is an excep­tion­al, great coun­try that is always right and free of blem­ish.

Which is a fic­tion. That is not the sto­ry of our coun­try.

Many of the shame­ful civ­il lib­er­ties abus­es in our coun­try’s his­to­ry were per­pe­trat­ed fol­low­ing attacks on Amer­i­ca, such as in the exam­ples above.

If our state and coun­try had just been attacked, I would share Eyman’s stat­ed con­cern (which, unfor­tu­nate­ly, I can’t be sure is tru­ly sin­cere, as Eyman lies so effort­less­ly) about the poten­tial for infringe­ment of our rights and free­doms, because we’ve com­mon­ly seen that dur­ing our his­to­ry.

But the emer­gency we’re in now is a pub­lic health cri­sis and the ene­my is not a nation state or a shad­owy ter­ror­ist group, but rather a virus.

To beat the virus — SARS-CoV­‑2 — we have to come togeth­er by agree­ing to stay apart. Gov­er­nor Inslee is using his author­i­ty to gal­va­nize the behav­ioral changes need­ed to ensure that the pan­dem­ic does not get expo­nen­tial­ly worse.

That’s lead­er­ship.

Tim Eyman is free to dis­agree and tell us how he thinks he could do the job bet­ter. The First Amend­ment gives him the free­dom to be an arm­chair quar­ter­back. But as I said above, it’s unac­cept­able that he is urg­ing peo­ple to put their and oth­ers’ lives at risk by open­ly flout­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s direc­tives, which are based on sound sci­ence and mir­ror direc­tives being issued by oth­er gov­er­nors.

I think it’s telling that Eyman did not explain how he’d go about respond­ing to this coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in his lengthy mes­sage from last night.

Instead, he talked about prayer, and he asked his fol­low­ers to pray with him.

Prayer is won­der­ful, but it’s not a sub­sti­tute for pub­lic pol­i­cy.

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

We’re watching the eleventh 2020 Democratic presidential debate (Bernie vs. Joe). Join us!

Good evening, and wel­come to NPI’s live cov­er­age of the eleventh Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial debate of the 2020 cycle.

NPI staff are watch­ing and shar­ing impres­sions of the debate as it pro­gress­es, which will take place over the course of sev­er­al hours in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The media part­ners for tonight’s debate are CNN and Uni­vi­sion. CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tap­per and Uni­vi­sion’s Ilia Calderón are mod­er­at­ing.

Here’s a primer on the qual­i­fi­ca­tion thresh­olds:

To make the March 15th debate stage, can­di­dates need­ed to have been allo­cat­ed at least 20% of the total num­ber of pledged del­e­gates allo­cat­ed across all of the fol­low­ing con­tests: Alaba­ma, Amer­i­can Samoa, Arkansas, Cal­i­for­nia, Col­orado, Democ­rats Abroad, Guam, Ida­ho, Iowa, Maine, Mass­a­chu­setts, Michi­gan, Min­neso­ta, Mis­sis­sip­pi, Mis­souri, Neva­da, New Hamp­shire, North Car­oli­na, North Dako­ta, North­ern Mar­i­ana Islands, Okla­homa, South Car­oli­na, Ten­nessee, Texas, Utah, Vir­ginia, Ver­mont and Wash­ing­ton. The allo­ca­tions need to have been made by by 9 AM ET on March 15th.

The total del­e­gate allo­ca­tion was deter­mined by adding togeth­er all of the del­e­gates allo­cat­ed to can­di­dates by CNN or the Asso­ci­at­ed Press, accord­ing to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee.

The num­ber of del­e­gates need­ed to qual­i­fy for the debate was deter­mined by mul­ti­ply­ing the total del­e­gate allo­ca­tion by 0.20 and round­ing the result to the near­est whole num­ber.

The can­di­dates’ del­e­gate per­cent­age was cal­cu­lat­ed by divid­ing the num­ber of pledged del­e­gates allo­cat­ed to them by CNN or Asso­ci­at­ed Press by the total del­e­gate allo­ca­tion and round­ing the result to the near­est whole num­ber.

Tonight’s debate is the first 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate to fea­ture only two can­di­dates: Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders, the only can­di­dates who have a cred­i­ble path to the nom­i­na­tion. U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tul­si Gab­bard, who claims to be a Demo­c­rat, did not qual­i­fy for the debate.

Our live cov­er­age begins below.

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to debate one-on-one in Washington, D.C. studio

Tonight, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders will face each oth­er in the eleventh Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry debate.

The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing this debate could not be more dra­mat­ic.

Since the last debate – back on Feb­ru­ary 25th – the whole dynam­ic of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry has been upend­ed. Back in late Feb­ru­ary, Sen­a­tor Sanders was the undis­put­ed front run­ner, hav­ing won the pop­u­lar vote count in Iowa, New Hamp­shire and Neva­da (the first ever can­di­date to do so). He faced six rivals (includ­ing Biden), none of whom appeared to have any viable path to the nom­i­na­tion.

In the days fol­low­ing the debate, how­ev­er, Joe Biden staged a record-shat­ter­ing come­back; a con­vinc­ing vic­to­ry in South Car­oli­na led to a flood of endorse­ments from pow­er­ful par­ty fig­ure­heads, rival can­di­dates drop­ping out en masse, and ulti­mate­ly to a mas­sive suc­cess on Super Tues­day.

Biden’s can­di­da­cy went from a zom­­bie-like fugue to front run­ner almost overnight. Sanders, mean­while, was left reel­ing and uncer­tain of how to pro­ceed.

Joe Biden vs. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are the only cred­i­ble 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates still seek­ing their par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

All of these devel­op­ments have been dwarfed, how­ev­er, by the rapid­ly wors­en­ing glob­al coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. Entire coun­tries have gone into lock­down, many states have imple­mented dra­con­ian mea­sures “not seen since the Span­ish flu”, and Don­ald Trump him­self had a health scare.

Con­se­quent­ly, the debate will take on a dif­fer­ent tone and for­mat.

Instead of fac­ing each oth­er in front of a live audi­ence in Ari­zona, Biden and Sanders will debate in a TV stu­dio in Wash­ing­ton D.C. with­out an audi­ence, in order to mit­i­gate the risk of viral infec­tion.

The threat of COVID-19 will undoubt­ed­ly dom­i­nate the debate, much as it has dom­i­nat­ed news head­lines across the world.

Both can­di­dates can poten­tial­ly ben­e­fit. In a bril­liant move, Joe Biden – who has por­trayed his can­di­da­cy as a “return to nor­mal­cy” – made a speech address­ing the cri­sis that came across as pres­i­den­tial, com­pe­tent and per­sua­sive.

The emer­gency mea­sures he sug­gest­ed con­trast­ed strong­ly with the incom­pe­tence of the Trump Administration’s response to the pan­dem­ic.

Bernie Sanders, mean­while, has used the glob­al pan­dem­ic to make a more expan­sive argu­ment about the entire U.S. health sys­tem.

While going after Trump’s incom­pe­tence, Sanders argued that the U.S. is par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble to the pan­dem­ic because it lacks uni­ver­sal health­care.

In light of the ben­e­fits oth­er coun­tries are reap­ing from their uni­ver­sal health­care sys­tems to com­bat the coro­n­avirus, Sanders’ sig­na­ture pol­i­cy of Medicare for All look more and more essen­tial every day that the cri­sis con­tin­ues.

Since there will only be two can­di­dates on stage on Sun­day, the debate over health­care will be more clear-cut than it has been before. Both Sanders and Biden have robust and well-thought-through poli­cies, and vot­ers watch­ing this debate will be able to direct­ly com­pare them, with­out the dis­tract­ing input of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar’s nit-pick­­ing or Eliz­a­beth Warren’s con­fus­ing polit­i­cal “piv­ot­ing” that obscured the issue in pre­vi­ous debates.

Beyond advo­cat­ing for their respec­tive health­care posi­tions, the two can­di­dates have clear – if very dif­fer­ent – objec­tives for this debate.

Bernie Sanders’ can­di­da­cy may be in dire straits, but he is not out of the race. Sanders cur­rent­ly has about 150 few­er del­e­gates than Biden (736 to Biden’s 890) but there is def­i­nite­ly room for him to catch up, since both are far below the num­ber of del­e­gates need­ed to win a major­i­ty at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion (1,991). Besides, the sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­an social­ist always thrives as an under­dog – his cam­paign soared after Sanders suf­fered a heart attack on the cam­paign trail!

Sanders is not fin­ished yet, but Sunday’s debate could be his last shot; two days after the debate, the states of Ari­zona, Flori­da, Illi­nois and Ohio hold their pri­maries — or, at least, they are sup­posed to. If Sanders can’t fig­ure out a way to change the dynam­ics of the race by Tues­day, the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent could rack up a del­e­gate lead from these large states that is all but unas­sail­able.

If Sanders wants to turn the tables on Biden, he needs to shake the for­mer Vice President’s grip on his base of elder­ly and African Amer­i­can vot­ers.

To do that, Sanders needs to make Biden own his past sup­port for cut­ting Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits for the elder­ly and his oppo­si­tion to “bus­ing” pro­grams intend­ed to bring about racial deseg­re­ga­tion in the coun­try’s schools.

Cri­tiques like these have worked before – last sum­mer, Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris received a sig­nif­i­cant bounce in pub­lic opin­ion research sur­veys at the expense of Biden after tak­ing on the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent in the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate.

How­ev­er, Har­ris and Sanders have very dif­fer­ent debat­ing styles.

Sanders has fre­quent­ly exas­per­at­ed pro­gres­sives by fail­ing to be suf­fi­cient­ly tough in con­fronta­tions with neolib­er­al Democ­rats such as Biden.

Biden’s main objec­tive is sim­ply to stay the course; all he needs to do is appear pres­i­den­tial, stay calm, and come across as rea­son­ably lik­able.

Bar­ring any major gaffes, Joe Biden can sim­ply surf to vic­to­ry.

How­ev­er, Joe Biden is a man who has turned the gaffe into an art form. Over the past year on debate stages, the for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent has said that the solu­tion to domes­tic abuse is to “keep punch­ing,” gone on an epic and baf­fling rant about record play­ers, and even tried to send sup­port­ers to the wrong cam­paign web­site.

Biden is prone to gaffes when under pres­sure – his best debate per­for­mances have come when the spot­light is decid­ed­ly away from him (such as the Bloomberg pile-on a month ago). How­ev­er, there will be nowhere for Biden to hide on Sun­day, and there is no guar­an­tee that he can keep his head if Sanders applies the pres­sure. On the oth­er hand, he only has to wor­ry about debat­ing one oppo­nent.

The stakes in this debate are per­haps high­er than they have ever been for the 2020 race, which should hope­ful­ly make for good view­ing! The debate can be watched on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN Inter­na­tion­al, and Uni­vi­sion begin­ning at 5 PM Pacif­ic Time. It will also be livestreamed on

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 9th-14th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sat­ur­day, March 14th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

APPROVING CORONAVIRUS RELIEF AND ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Vot­ing 363 for and 40 against, the House just before 1 AM on March 14th approved tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in stim­u­lus and safe­ty-net spend­ing to cush­ion the eco­nom­ic and social impacts of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic on indi­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and main­ly small and medi­um-size busi­ness­es in the Unit­ed States.

The bill (H.R. 6201) would appro­pri­ate $1 bil­lion to pro­vide free virus test­ing for all who request it, from the unin­sured to Med­ic­aid and Medicare recip­i­ents to indi­vid­u­als with pri­vate med­ical insur­ance; $1 bil­lion to expand food stamps, nutri­tion pro­grams for the poor and meals pro­grams for seniors and K‑12 stu­dents whose schools were closed; and $1 bil­lion to expand state-fed­er­al unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits while deliv­er­ing the checks more prompt­ly.

The bill also would fund a 6.2 per­cent increase in Med­ic­aid pay­ments to states, grant lia­bil­i­ty pro­tec­tions to man­u­fac­tur­ers of res­pi­ra­to­ry masks and delay fil­ing dead­lines for cer­tain busi­ness and per­son­al tax returns.

In addi­tion, the bill would autho­rize two weeks’ paid sick leave and up to three weeks’ paid med­ical and fam­i­ly leave through Decem­ber to indi­vid­u­als and house­holds affect­ed by the coro­n­avirus cri­sis, using tax cred­its to ful­ly reim­burse qual­i­fied employ­ers for the cost of pro­vid­ing the leave.

Leave pay­ments would have to be at least two-thirds of nor­mal lev­els. Gov­ern­ment employ­ees would receive equiv­a­lent leave ben­e­fits.

Richard Neal, D‑Massachusetts, called it “imper­a­tive that any­one who needs to be test­ed for coro­n­avirus is able to afford that test­ing” because: “If indi­vid­u­als wor­ry that they can’t afford the cost of the test, they will for­go it and risk endan­ger­ing them­selves and their com­mu­ni­ty.”

Kay Granger, R‑Texas, said “we must pass this bill today to help lessen the dev­as­tat­ing impact of this glob­al pan­dem­ic on the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

No mem­ber spoke against the bill.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

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, Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

RENEWING SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY FOR FIVE YEARS: Vot­ing 278 for and 136 against, the House on March 11th approved a five-year exten­sion (H.R. 6172) of three sec­tions of the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act (FISA) that require peri­od­ic con­gres­sion­al renew­al because of the law’s direct clash with Amer­i­cans’ con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly-guar­an­teed civ­il lib­er­ties.

One sec­tion allows law enforce­ment to place rov­ing wire­taps on home­grown or for­eign ter­ror­ist sus­pects mov­ing about the Unit­ed States, and anoth­er per­mits gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance on U.S. soil of for­eign “lone wolf” sus­pects not linked to ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions. Under the third sec­tion, the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court can autho­rize for­ev­er-secret FBI search­es of library, book­store and busi­ness records in the Unit­ed States if the agency shows “rea­son­able grounds” the tar­get­ed infor­ma­tion is vital to an ongo­ing domes­tic probe of specif­i­cal­ly defined for­eign-spon­sored threats to nation­al secu­ri­ty.

This author­i­ty is root­ed in Sec­tion 215 of FISA, a law enact­ed in 1978 and expand­ed after the attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2001, to strength­en gov­ern­ment pow­ers to detect and pre­vent ter­ror­ist threats to Amer­i­ca.

In part, this bill:

  • Pro­hibits the use of Sec­tion 215 to obtain GPS and cell-phone loca­tions;
  • Requires most infor­ma­tion obtained in Sec­tion 215 search­es to be destroyed after five years;
  • Requires the attor­ney gen­er­al to approve in writ­ing FISA war­rants issued against elect­ed offi­cials or can­di­dates;
  • Expands Civ­il Lib­er­ties Over­sight Board pow­ers to mon­i­tor abus­es in the dis­charge of the FISA law;
  • Allows inde­pen­dent out­side reviews of cer­tain FISA court delib­er­a­tions;
  • Restricts the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agen­cy’s already-scaled-back col­lec­tion of meta data on telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions pass­ing through U.S. switch­ing points;
  • … and requires the gov­ern­ment to dis­close with­in one hun­dred and eighty days all sub­stan­tive opin­ions by the FISA court.

Mike Quigley, D‑Illinois, said it “strikes just the right bal­ance between pro­tect­ing our nation­al secu­ri­ty and strength­en­ing civ­il lib­er­ties. It pre­serves crit­i­cal tools used by author­i­ties to inves­ti­gate inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism and for­eign intel­li­gence mat­ters, but also makes sig­nif­i­cant reforms to enhance pri­va­cy and trans­paren­cy.”

Louie Gohmert, R‑Texas, said: “We need to fix the FISA court. This doesn’t do it, and I will vote ‘no’ until we have ade­quate reforms that do.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Peter DeFazio; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Vot­ing Nay (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Prami­la Jaya­pal, and Adam Smith; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 7 aye votes, 10 nay votes

ASSERTING CONGRESSIONAL WAR POWERS: The House on March 11th vot­ed, 227 for and 186 against, to require the admin­is­tra­tion to obtain advance con­gres­sion­al approval for mil­i­tary actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an immi­nent threat to the Unit­ed States, its armed forces or its ter­ri­to­ries. The bipar­ti­san vote sent the mea­sure (SJ Res 68) to Don­ald Trump and his expect­ed veto. The mea­sure invokes the 1973 War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion, which asserts the pow­er of Con­gress to declare war under Arti­cle I of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Under that Viet­nam-era law, pres­i­dents must noti­fy Con­gress with­in 48 hours when they send the U.S. mil­i­tary into com­bat, then with­draw the forces with­in a set peri­od unless Con­gress has autho­rized the action.

Our own Prami­la Jaya­pal, D‑Washington and Co-Chair of the Pro­gres­sive Cau­cus, said: “The Amer­i­can peo­ple have spo­ken. They don’t want us in end­less wars with­out autho­riza­tion from Con­gress, with­out a debate here in Con­gress, with­out uti­liz­ing those con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­ers that our found­ing framers gave us.”

Michael McCaul, R‑Texas, said: “This polit­i­cal War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion is based on a false premise. It orders the pres­i­dent to ter­mi­nate hos­til­i­ties against Iran. The prob­lem is we are not engaged in hos­til­i­ties in Iran.”

A yes vote was to send the mea­sure to the White House.

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, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

KILLING ADMINISTRATION RULE ON STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS: Vot­ing 53 for and 42 against, the Sen­ate on March 11 joined the House in nul­li­fy­ing a Trump admin­is­tra­tion rule on debt-for­give­ness sought by more than 200,000 fed­er­al stu­dent-loan bor­row­ers who allege that their school fraud­u­lent­ly mis­rep­re­sent­ed the qual­i­ty of edu­ca­tion they would receive.

The bor­row­ers’ claims have been lodged main­ly against for-prof­it schools such as the ITT Tech­ni­cal Insti­tute [ITT orig­i­nal­ly stood for “Inter­na­tion­al Tele­phone & Tele­graph”] and Corinthi­an Col­leges that abrupt­ly went out of busi­ness, leav­ing them with steep debt but no degree and cur­tailed earn­ing pow­er. Crit­ics said the Trump rule would pro­vide debt for­give­ness to only three per­cent of claimants.

But Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Bet­sy DeVos said in con­gres­sion­al tes­ti­mo­ny it would cor­rect the “blan­ket for­give­ness” of an Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion rule it replaced. The new rule bars class-action law­suits against schools and requires claims to be adju­di­cat­ed one-by-one by manda­to­ry arbi­tra­tion rather than in open court, with bor­row­ers pro­hib­it­ed from appeal­ing the deci­sion. The rule sets a stan­dard of evi­dence requir­ing bor­row­ers to prove the fraud was inten­tion­al.

Richard Durbin, D‑Illinois, said:

“How many times have we giv­en speech­es about how much we care about vet­er­ans? Here is a chance to vote with the vet­er­ans, espe­cial­ly those who have been defraud­ed out of their GI bill of rights and have end­ed up with addi­tion­al debt.…These stu­dents were mis­led by these schools, and these schools are noto­ri­ous for it. The ques­tion is this: Are we going to stand up for the stu­dents, many of whom are vet­er­ans, or are we going to stand up for the schools…?

No sen­a­tor spoke in sup­port of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s rule on stu­dent-loan for­give­ness. A yes vote was to send HJ Res 76 to the White House.

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

Key votes ahead

Next week (begin­ning March 16th), the Sen­ate will take up the Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act and the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act dis­cussed above. The House is ten­ta­tive­ly sched­uled to be in recess.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Votera­ma in Con­gress, a ser­vice of Thomas Vot­ing Reports. 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!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Scammer Tim Eyman urges elderly followers to party like there’s no coronavirus pandemic

Long­time scam­mer and noto­ri­ous con man Tim Eyman, a Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date, lives only a few miles away from Life Care of Kirk­land, the senior liv­ing provider that has become the face of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in the Unit­ed States. So he ought to be ful­ly aware and mind­ful of the dis­ease’s poten­tial to claim the lives of hun­dreds of thou­sands or even mil­lions of peo­ple.

And he ought not to have any objec­tion to the sen­si­ble orders recent­ly issued by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee to pro­tect Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from get­ting sick and dying.

This morn­ing, how­ev­er, Eyman appalling­ly revealed that he has no con­cern for the safe­ty and well being of the peo­ple that he claims to so ardent­ly love.

The ini­tia­tive pur­vey­or, who thinks he could do a bet­ter job than Jay Inslee, exhort­ed his net­work of Repub­li­can PCO and right wing activist fol­low­ers to dis­re­gard Inslee’s orders and the advice of pub­lic health author­i­ties, and instead join him at a social gath­er­ing on Whid­bey Island being orga­nized for his ben­e­fit.

Wrote Eyman:

LET’S STICK OUR FINGER IN THE EYE OF JAY INSLEE: 251 is the # of patri­ots I hope will join me @ Oak Har­bor today.

I’m bring­ing a six-pack of Coro­na!

Every­one is wel­come to join me and Shan­non Williams and Erik Rohde and Car­ol Williams and Michelle Dar­nell and Avery Huf­ford and Rene Hol­lan and Aryeh Rohde and Antho­ny Welti AND SO MANY OTHERS at my Tim4Gov Meet-and-Greet in Oak Har­bor today (Sat, March 14, 3–5 PM, address redact­ed by NPI).

My GPS shows 1 hour 37 min to get there — not bad at all!

Just revolt­ing.

I pray and hope that Eyman’s fol­low­ers have at least enough sense to real­ize that this is one cliff they should not fol­low him off of. It’s bad enough that Eyman has duped so many of them into giv­ing him mon­ey over the years. Now Eyman wants them to put their lives at risk, too. That is an invi­ta­tion they should refuse.

In the event any Eyman fol­low­ers end up read­ing this post: Please under­stand that by con­gre­gat­ing in large groups, you are not “stick­ing it to Jay Inslee,” but rather putting your own lives at risk. You will be the poten­tial los­er if you go to a par­ty with Tim Eyman and end up get­ting exposed to coro­n­avirus.

Don’t think it could­n’t hap­pen to you.

Lind­sey Gra­ham, Ted Cruz, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, and oth­ers have all self-quar­an­tined after being exposed to coro­n­avirus at events like CPAC (the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence) and Trump-host­ed romps at Mar-a-Lago.

COVID-19 is a dis­ease caused by SARS-CoV­‑2, a coro­n­avirus. There is much about both the dis­ease and the virus that infec­tious dis­ease experts do not yet under­stand. But one thing they do know is that the virus is espe­cial­ly dead­ly to old­er peo­ple. Accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, the fatal­i­ty rate in Chi­na for those over eighty is an esti­mat­ed 21.9 per­cent.

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of peo­ple in the Repub­li­can base are elder­ly. Many of Eyman’s fol­low­ers are retirees. We know because “Retired” appears in the occu­pa­tion field next to their names in Eyman’s PDC reports.

The ongo­ing tragedy at Life Care of Kirk­land is an exam­ple of what can hap­pen to a com­mu­ni­ty of seniors when they are exposed to coro­n­avirus. Many of the com­mu­ni­ty’s mem­bers have already died and more are like­ly to die.

Act­ing on the advice of sci­en­tists and pub­lic health experts, Gov­er­nor Inslee has been issu­ing a suc­ces­sion of orders intend­ed to ensure that the virus’ spread is checked to the great­est extent pos­si­ble. The over­ar­ch­ing goal is to save lives.

Inslee’s orders — includ­ing his order ban­ning large pub­lic gath­er­ings — have now been copied by gov­er­nors in oth­er states, both Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can.

Ohio Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Mike DeWine, for instance, issued an order for­bid­ding pub­lic gath­er­ings larg­er than one hun­dred peo­ple. Said DeWine:

“The pur­pose of these orders is to help Ohio keep social dis­tanc­ing. Our cit­i­zens must not only take steps to pro­tect them­selves, but to also pro­tect oth­ers.”

In Wash­ing­ton State, Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can events alike hav­ing been get­ting can­celed or post­poned or con­vert­ed to vir­tu­al events. Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler recent­ly post­poned her cam­paign kick­off and sev­er­al Repub­li­can Par­ty orga­ni­za­tions have pushed back their Lin­coln Day din­ners.

Tim Eyman has made it clear he does­n’t want to mod­el good behav­ior and prac­tice social dis­tanc­ing. He not only wants to cam­paign as though there were no pan­dem­ic, he wants oth­er peo­ple to join him in mock­ing the efforts of our elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives to keep peo­ple safe. That is not the behav­ior of some­one who should be entrust­ed with the respon­si­bil­i­ty of gov­ern­ing at any lev­el.

Friday, March 13th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: U.S. House passes Families First Coronavirus Response Act in 1 AM vote

With so much chang­ing so fast, it’s already once again time for a anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and through­out the coun­try are work­ing dili­gent­ly to mit­i­gate.

Unlike some of the non­sense that is unfor­tu­nate­ly cir­cu­lat­ing on social media, all the infor­ma­tion you’ll find here is accu­rate and vet­ted.

A short time ago, the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives took action on H.R. 6201, the final ver­sion of the Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act agreed to by Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi and Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin (on behalf of his boss, Don­ald Trump). In a big bipar­ti­san vote of three hun­dred and six­ty-three to forty — with all of the nay votes sup­plied by Repub­li­cans — the House sent the mea­sure over to the Sen­ate, which plans to con­sid­er it ear­ly next week.

The bill stip­u­lates that any­one who needs to be test­ed for coro­n­avirus shall be test­ed at no cost to them. Prami­la Jaya­pal’s office says it also includes:

  • paid emer­gency leave with two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave;
  • enhanced unem­ploy­ment insur­ance, a step that will extend pro­tec­tions to fur­loughed work­ers;
  • strength­ened nutri­tion secu­ri­ty ini­tia­tives, includ­ing Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram (SNAP), stu­dent meals, seniors’ nutri­tion and food banks; and increased fed­er­al funds for Med­ic­aid to sup­port our local, state, trib­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ments and health sys­tems.

The bill “builds on the bipar­ti­san $8.3 bil­lion emer­gency coro­n­avirus spend­ing pack­age Con­gress signed into law on March 6th,” Jaya­pal’s office said. “That pack­age – con­sist­ing entire­ly of new funds – includ­ed sup­port for state and local health agen­cies, vac­cine and treat­ment devel­op­ment, and loans for affect­ed small busi­ness­es to lessen the eco­nom­ic blow of this pub­lic health emer­gency.”

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, Den­ny Heck (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er (OR); Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (WA), Greg Walden (OR), Greg Gian­forte (MT), Mike Simp­son (ID)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher (ID)

Not Vot­ing: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Young (AK)

The heart­less and mil­i­tant Repub­li­can Russ Fulcher of Ida­ho was the only rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the region to inde­fen­si­bly vote against the bill.

“I am very proud to write that the pro­vi­sions we put forth with your input, includ­ing paid sick leave, paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave, enhanced Unem­ploy­ment Insur­ance, food secu­ri­ty ini­tia­tives and free and wide­spread test­ing, are all includ­ed in this agree­ment,” Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi told col­leagues before the vote.

“The eco­nom­ic impacts of the coro­n­avirus out­break have been dev­as­tat­ing to work­ing fam­i­lies across the coun­try,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith.

“Amer­i­cans des­per­ate­ly need relief right now and the Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act is a strong start toward deliv­er­ing just that.”

“We must not for­get our most impor­tant job: pro­tect­ing the health and safe­ty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” Smith declared. “They need and deserve free coro­n­avirus test­ing, paid sick leave, enhanced unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, expand­ed food assis­tance pro­grams, and addi­tion­al fund­ing for states, local juris­dic­tions, and health sys­tems respond­ing to the out­break.”

“This bill pro­vides free coro­n­avirus test­ing to all indi­vid­u­als who need a test, regard­less of whether they are insured or unin­sured.”

“Addi­tion­al­ly, we also increase fed­er­al funds for Med­ic­aid to sup­port the state and local gov­ern­ments and health sys­tems that have already expend­ed sig­nif­i­cant resources respond­ing to this cri­sis.

“It is imper­a­tive that we sup­port those who expe­ri­ence finan­cial bur­dens dur­ing this health cri­sis. The bill estab­lish­es two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave. It also strength­ens food assis­tance pro­grams to help keep food on the table for chil­dren, fam­i­lies, and seniors.”

“The Act is a crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant step by Con­gress to sup­port our abil­i­ty to respond to this cri­sis, but it can­not be the last action Con­gress takes. More sup­port is clear­ly need­ed to pro­tect our pub­lic health, and we must expe­dite the deliv­ery of med­ical sup­plies and test kits, alle­vi­ate the stress put on our health care sys­tem, and mit­i­gate against the eco­nom­ic impacts of the cri­sis.”

“Wash­ing­ton state is at the epi­cen­ter of the spread of COVID-19 in the Unit­ed States, and des­per­ate­ly needs imme­di­ate help from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal. “My num­ber one pri­or­i­ty is to ensure Con­gress is doing every­thing we can to pro­vide crit­i­cal resources to the front­line pub­lic health experts, health care work­ers and first respon­ders, and sup­port work­ing peo­ple and fam­i­lies most impact­ed by this pub­lic health emer­gency.”

“We are in the mid­dle of a glob­al pan­dem­ic and this pack­age can­not be the last,” Jaya­pal warned. “Con­gress must con­tin­ue respond­ing to emerg­ing needs with great urgency — and con­tin­ue putting sci­ence and tar­get­ed respons­es to help the most vul­ner­a­ble work­ing peo­ple first, espe­cial­ly the needs of hourly work­ers, includ­ing domes­tic work­ers and oth­ers, who sim­ply do not have any safe­ty nets to help them through these dif­fi­cult times.”

NPI con­grat­u­lates the House on approv­ing this leg­is­la­tion. We urge the Sen­ate to swift­ly adopt it so that it can be pre­sent­ed to Trump to be signed into law.

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

2020 Washington State Legislature adjourns Sine Die after upping COVID-19 response

That’s a wrap, folks!

Min­utes ago, the 2020 Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture adjourned Sine Die (mean­ing, with no expec­ta­tion of return­ing) in Olympia, hav­ing vot­ed out a slew of budget/fiscal bills and hon­ored more than a dozen law­mak­ers from both par­ties who are retir­ing from leg­isla­tive ser­vice after many years.

The House­’s final leg­isla­tive act was pas­sage of an amend­ed bill to dou­ble fund­ing for nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) response from $100 to $200 mil­lion.

“With the pas­sage of [Engrossed] House Bill 2965, a total of $175 mil­lion will be direct­ed to state and local pub­lic health agen­cies and the remain­ing $25 mil­lion will be trans­ferred into the new­ly cre­at­ed COVID-19 unem­ploy­ment account to help busi­ness­es and work­ers dis­rupt­ed by the pan­dem­ic,” the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus announced in an end-of-ses­sion press release.

“It’s cru­cial that the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton have the full sup­port of the Leg­is­la­ture behind them dur­ing these chal­leng­ing times,” said Sen­a­tor Chris­tine Rolfes (D‑23rd Dis­trict), Chair of the Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee.

“Even after we leave Olympia today, we will be col­lab­o­rat­ing close­ly with Gov­er­nor Inslee’s office to ensure they have the resources and author­i­ty they need.”

“I am so proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of the peo­ple of this state, but all of our thoughts right now are with the peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties across Wash­ing­ton impact­ed by the coro­n­avirus and with the pub­lic health pro­fes­sion­als who are work­ing around the clock to stop its spread,” said Sen­a­tor Andy Bil­lig.

“The bud­get we passed today address­es the needs we saw com­ing into ses­sion as well as those that unfold­ed in recent weeks,” added Bil­lig, who serves as Major­i­ty Leader. “The steps we have tak­en this year, and real­ly for the past three years, leaves our state in a strong posi­tion to com­bat this out­break.”

EHB 2965 passed with­out any oppo­si­tion in both cham­bers.

The final Sen­ate roll was as fol­lows:

Roll Call
EHB 2965
Coro­n­avirus response
3rd Read­ing & Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Sen­ate

Yeas: 48; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Beck­er, Bil­lig, Braun, Brown, Car­lyle, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Das, Dhin­gra, Erick­sen, For­tu­na­to, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Holy, Hon­ey­ford, Hunt, Keis­er, King, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Nguyen, O‘Ban, Pad­den, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Rivers, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Schoesler, Shel­don, Short, Stan­ford, Takko, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire), Wil­son (Lyn­da), Zeiger

Excused: Sen­a­tor Walsh

The final House roll call was fol­lows:

Roll Call
EHB 2965
Coro­n­avirus response
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Sen­ate

Yeas: 96; Excused: 2

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Boehnke, Caldier, Callan, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Chopp, Cody, Cor­ry, Davis, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Duerr, Dufault, Dye, Enten­man, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Gildon, Goehn­er, Good­man, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Hansen, Har­ris, Hoff, Hud­gins, Irwin, Jenkin, John­son, J., Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Kraft, Kretz, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Lovick, MacEwen, Macri, May­cum­ber, McCaslin, Mead, Mor­gan, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Rude, Ryu, San­tos, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shew­make, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Steele, Stokes­bary, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Suther­land, Tar­leton, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Wilcox, Wylie, Ybar­ra, Young, Jink­ins

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Paul, Shea

The Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion restricts ses­sions held in even num­bered years to a max­i­mum of six­ty days. Ses­sions in odd-num­bered years can last twice as long… up to one hun­dred and five days. From 2013–2017, when Repub­li­cans con­trolled the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, the Leg­is­la­ture reg­u­lar­ly went into over­time (spe­cial ses­sion) to hash out bud­gets, but this prac­tice end­ed fol­low­ing the elec­tion of State Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra in late 2017.

The Leg­is­la­ture adjourns hav­ing adopt­ed a num­ber of bills that our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute worked hard for, espe­cial­ly the Reusable Bag Bill and com­pre­hen­sive sex­u­al health edu­ca­tion. The Leg­is­la­ture also passed bills spon­sored by NPI’s Gael Tar­leton to strength­en elec­tion secu­ri­ty and com­pen­sate the coun­ties for elec­tion costs in even num­bered years.

Anoth­er win was the VOTE Act, which allows sev­en­teen year olds who will be eigh­teen by a gen­er­al elec­tion vote in pres­i­den­tial pri­maries or Top Two elec­tions.

Some of our oth­er favorites include:

With all that said, the Leg­is­la­ture also once again decid­ed to hit the pro­cras­ti­nate but­ton and defer tak­ing need­ed actions to pro­tect Wash­ing­ton’s fis­cal health.

The House and Sen­ate approved a sup­ple­men­tal trans­porta­tion bud­get that does­n’t address the giant hole Tim Eyman’s I‑976 would cre­ate if it ulti­mate­ly goes into effect. (The ini­tia­tive is on hold and has been since last Novem­ber.)

The bud­get does un-freeze some projects that Gov­er­nor Inslee’s office had paused in the wake of I‑976’s pas­sage, but oth­er­wise, it does not respond to I‑976. A legal chal­lenge to the mea­sure’s con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty is ongo­ing; the mea­sure was ruled par­tial­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al today by Judge Mar­shall Fer­gu­son.

The two cham­bers also neglect­ed to adopt any sub­stan­tive pro­gres­sive tax reform mea­sures this ses­sion, leav­ing Wash­ing­ton even more reliant on the sales tax as an all-in-one fund­ing mech­a­nism for every­thing from pub­lic schools to tran­sit to fos­ter care to Dis­abil­i­ty Life­line to Apple Health and behav­ioral health.

What hap­pens if our cur­rent pub­lic health cri­sis trig­gers a reces­sion and sales tax rev­enue falls off a cliff? The fis­cal hole that a sig­nif­i­cant reces­sion cre­ates may not be patch­able with the mon­ey that’s cur­rent­ly in the Rainy Day Fund. And fed­er­al assis­tance may or may not be forth­com­ing.

Then there is the issue of equi­ty.

How much longer do low and mid­dle income Wash­ing­to­ni­ans have to wait for the Leg­is­la­ture to act to fix our upside down tax code?

How much longer do local lead­ers have to wait for pro­gres­sive rev­enue options that they bad­ly, sore­ly, des­per­ate­ly need to escape being chained to reliance on sales tax­es and prop­er­ty tax­es, both of which have got­ten very high?

And how much longer can rur­al com­mu­ni­ties hold every­thing togeth­er? They’re slow­ly being choked to death by old Tim Eyman ini­tia­tives the Leg­is­la­ture inex­plic­a­bly refus­es to repeal and replace.

There were oth­er missed oppor­tu­ni­ties, as well.

The House has, con­found­ing­ly, still not vot­ed to repeal the state’s uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and inac­tive death penal­ty statute. The Sen­ate vot­ed to get it off our books for a third con­sec­u­tive year, but the House nev­er fol­lowed suit.

69% of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans sup­port life in prison alter­na­tives to the death penal­ty — a find­ing we announced almost two years ago — but the House, even under new man­age­ment, did not take up the cause.

The Leg­is­la­ture also failed to repeal Tim Eyman’s push polls, which means there will be more Eyman pro­pa­gan­da on this year’s gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot.

Two oth­er areas where the Leg­is­la­ture fell short were cli­mate jus­tice and gun safe­ty. The House and Sen­ate did­n’t approve a bill to give the exec­u­tive depart­ment clear author­i­ty to reg­u­late the emis­sion of green­house gas­es. Gov­er­nor Inslee’s clean fuels leg­is­la­tion also died in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate again at the hands of Trans­porta­tion Chair Steve Hobbs.

A bill to ban high capac­i­ty mag­a­zines, mean­while, could not over­come the oppo­si­tion of gun enthu­si­asts in both par­ties.

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee voiced the same mix of sen­ti­ments — hap­pi­ness and frus­tra­tion — in a state­ment reflect­ing on the ses­sion.

“I am pleased the Leg­is­la­ture agreed with my plan to tack­le home­less­ness and pro­vide shel­ter­ing for some of our most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. There was good progress made on a num­ber of fronts dur­ing this sup­ple­men­tal bud­get year,” Inslee said at a media avail­abil­i­ty. “How­ev­er, I am dis­ap­point­ed that the Leg­is­la­ture failed to act on oth­er impor­tant pieces of cli­mate leg­is­la­tion as well as pub­lic safe­ty leg­is­la­tion that would have reduced gun vio­lence in Wash­ing­ton.”

“While I wish they would have gone far­ther on a num­ber of impor­tant issues, I thank the Leg­is­la­ture for their work on behalf of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans.”

So now, with much accom­plished and much left unad­dressed, the 2020 inter­im begins. The Leg­is­la­ture does not have an “off sea­son” — leg­is­la­tors plan­ning to return next Jan­u­ary will be tak­ing con­stituent meet­ings, serv­ing on task forces, and devel­op­ing bills in the months lead­ing up to the 2021 ses­sion.

But not every­one will be return­ing.

As men­tioned above, around a dozen incum­bent law­mak­ers have announced that they won’t seek reelec­tion this year, includ­ing Sher­ry Apple­ton, Richard DeBolt, Eric Pet­ti­grew, Chris Klduff, Mau­reen Walsh, and Ran­di Beck­er.

Oth­ers are leav­ing to run for high­er office, includ­ing Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti, NPI’s Gael Tar­leton, and Beth Doglio. Jared Mead is on the verge of mov­ing from the state lev­el to the local lev­el as a final­ist for a Sno­homish Coun­ty Coun­ty vacan­cy.

And some incum­bents who are run­ning again are fac­ing intra­party chal­lenges, includ­ing Frank Chopp, Zack Hud­gins, and as of today, Mark Mul­let.

The 2018 midterms pro­duced a Leg­is­la­ture that was more diverse than ever before, but still con­tained many vet­er­an law­mak­ers. In 2020, the insti­tu­tion seems poised to under­go yet anoth­er trans­for­ma­tion. And that’s a good thing.

The Leg­is­la­ture needs more sen­a­tors like Man­ka Dhin­gra and Joe Nguyen. It needs more rep­re­sen­ta­tives like Debra Lekanoff and My-Linh Thai. It needs bold­ness and courage to over­come its stub­born, bad insti­tu­tion­al habits of pro­cras­ti­na­tion and tak­ing the path of least resis­tance on fis­cal mat­ters.

Will the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton deliv­er? We’ll find out this autumn.

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

DNC makes drastic changes to March 15th presidential debate due to COVID-19 fears

In the wake of COVID-19’s dra­mat­ic spread across the Unit­ed States, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee announced on Tues­day that the eleventh Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate – sched­uled to be held on the evening of Sun­day 15th March – will be moved from Phoenix, Ari­zona, to CNN’s stu­dio in Wash­ing­ton D.C.

This comes after a pre­vi­ous deci­sion to host the debate with no audi­ence, to pre­vent the risk of infec­tion that comes with such a large crowd.

The DNC’s deci­sions were made out of “an abun­dance of cau­tion,” accord­ing to Xochitl Hino­josa, the DNC’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor, who empha­sized the health risks that would come from mak­ing the can­di­dates, their cam­paign teams, the CNN mod­er­a­tors and atten­dees trav­el across the coun­try to get to Ari­zona.

The net­works host­ing the debate, CNN and Uni­vi­sion, have already had a scare in con­nec­tion to the coro­n­avirus. Accord­ing to Hino­josa, Univision’s anchor Jorge Ramos was recent­ly exposed to some­body with the virus.

Ramos had been set to mod­er­ate the debate, but has stepped back from the role (he will be replaced by Ilia Calderón). While he has dis­played no symp­toms of the infec­tion, he clear­ly did not want to risk the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he might acci­den­tal­ly expose for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders to the virus.

The changes made to the debate for­mat reflect the wide­spread impact that the spread of COVID-19 has had on the 2020 elec­tion.

Both Sanders and Biden have been forced to can­cel mul­ti­ple cam­paign events, due to the risks asso­ci­at­ed with large crowds.

This real­i­ty is like­ly to fur­ther dam­age Bernie Sanders’ strug­gling cam­paign, which relies heav­i­ly on such events to gal­va­nize his sup­port­ers’ enthu­si­asm.

In con­trast to the Democ­rats, Repub­li­cans’ response to the coro­n­avirus cri­sis mir­rors that of the Trump regime’s: incom­pe­tence, mixed with out­right denial.

To give just one exam­ple, a large num­ber of the regime’s coro­n­avirus task force mem­bers (includ­ing Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence) attend­ed the Con­ser­v­a­tive Polit­i­cal Action Con­fer­ence (CPAC) at the end of Feb­ru­ary, where they down­played the threat of the dis­ease while min­gling with thou­sands of atten­dees from across the Unit­ed States. Pre­dictably, the event led to an out­break of the coro­n­avirus.

Even recent­ly, with the threat of COVID-19 now impos­si­ble to ignore, the reac­tion of Don­ald Trump’s re-elec­­tion cam­paign is notably less coher­ent than those of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates. As Biden and Sanders and their staffs were can­cel­ing events out of con­cern for atten­dees’ health, the Trump cam­paign announced a ral­ly in Wis­con­sin, only to pull the plug on it a day lat­er.

COVID-19 is now spread­ing across the globe in a way not seen since the Span­ish flu epi­dem­ic a cen­tu­ry ago. There is no end in sight to the pan­dem­ic, and with the out­break already wreak­ing hav­oc in the elec­toral process of coun­tries as far apart as the Unit­ed King­dom and South Korea, Amer­i­cans have one more rea­son to expect 2020 to be an elec­tion like no oth­er in liv­ing mem­o­ry.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Torrent of bad news caps absolutely surreal day in the Pacific NW

With so much chang­ing so fast, it’s already once again time for a anoth­er install­ment of of our spe­cial series COVID-19 Update, bring­ing you the lat­est devel­op­ments on the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break that pub­lic health author­i­ties here and through­out the coun­try are work­ing dili­gent­ly to mit­i­gate.

Unlike some of the non­sense that is unfor­tu­nate­ly cir­cu­lat­ing on social media, all the infor­ma­tion you’ll find here is accu­rate and based on sound sci­ence.

WHO declares the novel coronavirus a pandemic

The World Health Orga­ni­za­tion has belat­ed­ly issued a for­mal deter­mi­na­tion that the COVID-19 out­break is a pan­dem­ic as opposed to just an epi­dem­ic.

Watch their press con­fer­ence:

Governor Jay Inslee forbids large public gatherings

Wash­ing­ton Gov­er­nor Inslee has used the author­i­ty vest­ed in him by the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton to issue an order pro­hibit­ing pub­lic gath­er­ings of two hun­dred and fifty peo­ple or more.

If you’re won­der­ing whether this is legal, the answer is yes… the Gov­er­nor isn’t impro­vis­ing with this order. He’s using the author­i­ty grant­ed to him by this RCW.

Watch the press con­fer­ence here.

Read the emer­gency procla­ma­tion:

Inslee emer­gency procla­ma­tion per­tain­ing to large gath­er­ings

King Coun­ty has issued its own sup­ple­men­tary guid­ance.

The King Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office has asked NPI to advise you not to call 911 or the coun­ty’s non-emer­gency line to report gath­er­ings over 250 peo­ple.

If you need to con­tact some­one in rela­tion to a gath­er­ing, you can call the King Coun­ty Nov­el Coro­n­avirus call cen­ter at 206–477-3977.

Their hours of oper­a­tion are 8 AM — 7 PM.

Governor Kate Brown copies Inslee’s move

Ore­gon Gov­er­nor Kate Brown wast­ed no time in fol­low­ing Inslee’s lead.

“Nobody is immune to this virus, it can touch every­one,” said Brown, who advised she would also ban gath­er­ings of two hun­dred and fifty peo­ple or more.

“We can’t let fear and anx­i­ety stig­ma­tize peo­ple,” the Gov­er­nor added.

“We are see­ing cas­es across mul­ti­ple coun­ties and age groups, and in peo­ple exposed through dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances. It’s time for us all to do what we can to slow its spread and take care of one anoth­er.”

The Gov­er­nor has a press con­fer­ence planned for 9 AM tomor­row to detail the ban and oth­er mea­sures the state is tak­ing, includ­ing social dis­tanc­ing mea­sures.

School for many Puget Sound students gets canceled

Sev­er­al large school dis­tricts have announced that their build­ings and facil­i­ties will be closed and all class­es can­celed for the next few weeks, includ­ing Seat­tle, Lake Wash­ing­ton, Shore­line, and Belle­vue. Learn more about the clo­sures.

New cases in Washington

Wash­ing­ton State now has a total of three hun­dred and six­ty-six con­firmed cas­es and twen­ty-nine deaths, accord­ing to updat­ed Depart­ment of Health sta­tis­tics.

Most of the new cas­es are in King Coun­ty.

Pub­lic Health – Seat­tle & King Coun­ty is report­ing the fol­low­ing con­firmed cas­es and deaths due to COVID-19 through 11:59 PM on 3/10/20.

  • 234 con­firmed cas­es (up 44 from yes­ter­day)
  • 26 con­firmed deaths (up 4 from yes­ter­day)

The four deaths being report­ed today were all among pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed cas­es. These addi­tion­al deaths include:

  • A woman in her 90s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, died on 3/3.
  • A man in his 90s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 35.
  • A woman in her 60s, Life Care Cen­ter res­i­dent, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 39.
  • A woman in her 90s, a res­i­dent of Red­mond Care and Rehab, hos­pi­tal­ized at Ever­green­Health, died on 310.

Of the 26 deaths report­ed, 22 are asso­ci­at­ed with Life Care Cen­ter.

The Wash­ing­ton State cas­es account for a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of the total known and con­firmed cas­es in the Unit­ed States as a whole.

New cases in Oregon

Ore­gon report­ed sev­er­al new cas­es of the nov­el coro­n­avirus today.

The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty (OHA) today announced Linn County’s first two pre­sump­tive pos­i­tive cas­es of COVID-19.

The new cas­es, involv­ing two males over the age of 80, brings Oregon’s total to 21 total cas­es in eight coun­ties.

Like the cas­es in Polk, Mar­i­on and Deschutes, the Linn Coun­ty cas­es had no known close con­tacts with con­firmed cas­es, so they are con­sid­ered com­mu­ni­ty-spread.

An Infec­tion Con­trol and Spec­i­men Col­lec­tion Strike Team will deploy to Linn Coun­ty. The team will assess and work with the facil­i­ty to assess infec­tion con­trol. The team will col­lect spec­i­men sam­ples for COVID-19 test­ing from all res­i­dents and care providers.

Upon ini­tial eval­u­a­tion, res­i­dents with symp­toms were ini­tial­ly test­ed for flu, and res­pi­ra­to­ry ill­ness. As an extra pre­cau­tion, that facil­i­ty had pre­vi­ous­ly switched its ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem to cir­cu­lat­ing 100% out­side air to mit­i­gate the poten­tial spread of infec­tious dis­ease. the res­i­dents con­tin­ued to receive appro­pri­ate med­ical care and were placed in iso­la­tion. Infec­tious dis­ease pre­ven­tion pro­to­cols also con­tin­ued to be fol­lowed to pro­tect oth­er res­i­dents and staff.

Ore­gon Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Affairs Direc­tor Kel­ly Fitz­patrick said “our high­est pri­or­i­ty has always been the health and safe­ty of our most hon­ored vet­er­an res­i­dents that we serve in our two vet­er­ans’ homes. From the start of con­cerns about COVID-19, and espe­cial­ly upon learn­ing that the very age group that resides in our vet­er­ans’ homes is also the most sus­cep­ti­ble, we took imme­di­ate mea­sures to pro­tect our vet­er­ans, includ­ing adher­ing to state and fed­er­al guide­lines. Even before COVID-19 emerged, the two vet­er­ans’ homes reg­u­lar­ly fol­lowed strict infec­tious dis­ease pro­to­cols.”

“We believe that pro­tect­ing the health and safe­ty of the vet­er­ans in our homes helps ensure we live up to their mot­to, ‘the place where hon­or lives.’ We have a sacred trust to safe­guard them now.”

OHA, in con­sul­ta­tion with the Ore­gon Depart­ment of Human Ser­vices, issued a pol­i­cy to lim­it expo­sure to COVID-19 at long-term care facil­i­ties yes­ter­day.

The guid­ance directs nurs­ing, assist­ed liv­ing and res­i­den­tial care facil­i­ties, includ­ing those pro­vid­ing mem­o­ry care, to:

  • Restrict vis­i­ta­tion to only essen­tial indi­vid­u­als;
  • Lim­it essen­tial vis­i­tors to two per res­i­dent at a giv­en time;
  • Screen all per­mit­ted vis­i­tors for res­pi­ra­to­ry or oth­er symp­toms poten­tial­ly indi­cat­ing COVID-19 and for recent trav­el to an affect­ed geo­graph­ic area or high-risk set­ting pri­or to enter­ing the facil­i­ties;
  • Doc­u­ment the screen­ings for all vis­i­tors;
  • Lim­it com­mu­ni­ty out­ings; and
  • Sup­port res­i­dents’ access to social­iza­tion when vis­i­tors are not able to enter the facil­i­ty through vir­tu­al vis­its.

Health offi­cials con­tin­ue to urge all Ore­go­ni­ans to take steps to pro­tect those who are most vul­ner­a­ble to com­pli­ca­tions from COVID-19.

New cases in British Columbia

British Colum­bia also report­ed a slew of new cas­es today.

VICTORIA — Adri­an Dix, Min­is­ter of Health, and Dr. Bon­nie Hen­ry, B.C.‘s provin­cial health offi­cer, have issued the fol­low­ing joint state­ment regard­ing updates on the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) response in British Colum­bia:

“We are announc­ing sev­en new cas­es of COVID-19, for a total of 46 cas­es in British Colum­bia. The indi­vid­u­als are in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health, Fras­er Health and Island Health regions.”

“Two cas­es are con­nect­ed to the Lynn Val­ley Care Cen­tre, three cas­es are trav­el-relat­ed and two are com­mu­ni­ty cas­es.”

“Case 40 is a male in his twen­ties liv­ing in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health region, and case 45 is a woman in her fifties liv­ing in the Fras­er Health region. Both work at the Lynn Val­ley Care Cen­tre. There are no new res­i­dent cas­es.”

“Case 43 is a male in his sev­en­ties liv­ing in the Van­cou­ver Coastal Health region. Case 46 is a man in his six­ties liv­ing in the Island Health region. Both cas­es 43 and 46 have returned from trav­el­ling in Egypt. Case 42 is a man in his sev­en­ties from Egypt, who is vis­it­ing fam­i­ly in the Fras­er Health region.”

“Case 41 is a woman in her six­ties cur­rent­ly in hos­pi­tal. Case 44 is a man in his six­ties. Both are new com­mu­ni­ty cas­es, who were iden­ti­fied through lab­o­ra­to­ry sur­veil­lance, and both reside in the Fras­er Health region.”

“Three patients have been dis­charged from hos­pi­tal and are now recov­er­ing at home. One per­son is in hos­pi­tal.”

“All oth­er patients with COVID-19 remain in iso­la­tion at home with care and sup­port from pub­lic health teams.”

“We have seen an increase in com­mu­ni­ty cas­es in the Low­er Main­land and Fras­er Val­ley in recent days, where the source of the virus infec­tion is not yet known. Pub­lic health teams are active­ly inves­ti­gat­ing, as we con­tin­ue work to lim­it the spread of trans­mis­sion in B.C.

“Today, we are ask­ing British Columbians to take addi­tion­al care of seniors and peo­ple with com­pro­mised immune sys­tems. Do not vis­it them if you are sick. If they are liv­ing at home and are sick, con­sid­er how you may sup­port them with food and oth­er neces­si­ties. If you need to vis­it a long-term care home or oth­er health-care facil­i­ty, go one per­son at a time and lim­it your vis­it to the per­son you know.”

“We are work­ing with all long-term care and assist­ed liv­ing facil­i­ties to imple­ment enhanced pre­ven­tion mea­sures to fur­ther pro­tect all res­i­dents.”

“If any British Columbian has been noti­fied by event orga­niz­ers that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, such as the recent Prospec­tors and Devel­op­ers Asso­ci­a­tion of Cana­da con­fer­ence in Toron­to, we are strong­ly rec­om­mend­ing social dis­tanc­ing in the work­place and at home, espe­cial­ly from those most vul­ner­a­ble, in addi­tion to close­ly mon­i­tor­ing for symp­toms.”

“Today, the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion declared the out­break of COVID-19 a pan­dem­ic. As part of the British Colum­bia Pan­dem­ic Provin­cial Co-ordi­na­tion Plan, we con­tin­ue to focus on con­tain­ment to break the chains of trans­mis­sion, and we are using all the tools in our tool­box required at this time.”

“As an exam­ple, callers to British Columbi­a’s Health­Link 811 line have expe­ri­enced inter­mit­tent busy sig­nals today as call vol­ume has increased. We are resolv­ing this by adding more staff, more phone lines and a new menu option to pro­vide a ded­i­cat­ed queue for calls about COVID-19.”

“The British Colum­bia Pan­dem­ic Provin­cial Co-ordi­na­tion Plan details the prepa­ra­tions and com­pre­hen­sive toolk­it to respond to the evolv­ing out­break. This will be an ongo­ing resource for the province.”

Congressional Democrats unveil COVID-19 response bills

The Sen­ate and House Democ­rats each intro­duced mea­sures to pro­vide emer­gency eco­nom­ic relief to work­ing peo­ple.

The Sen­ate Democ­rats held a press con­fer­ence to announce their plan.

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans out­ra­geous­ly refused to lend their sup­port to a Demo­c­ra­t­ic attempt to fast track their pro­pos­al through the Sen­ate.

The House Democ­rats intro­duced the Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act.

Read the bill:

Fam­i­lies First Coro­n­avirus Response Act

Staffer in Senator Cantwell’s office tests positive for virus

A staff mem­ber in Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell’s office has test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19. Sen­a­tor Cantwell was not exposed, we under­stand.

Cantwell has direct­ed her staff to work from home until fur­ther notice.

Mean­while, Speak­er Pelosi is plan­ning to end pub­lic access to the U.S. Capi­tol after con­sult­ing with Mitch McConnell and oth­er senior law­mak­ers.

CDC issues Seattle-specific guidance

The Cen­ters For Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion released guid­ance tar­get­ed at peo­ple liv­ing in and near Seat­tle, the largest city in the Pacif­ic North­west.

Read and down­load:

CDC’s Seat­tle Com­mu­ni­ty Mit­i­ga­tion advice

COVID-19 kills off the bull market

We are offi­cial­ly in “bear ter­ri­to­ry” after a pro­longed peri­od of sink­ing stocks and futures in glob­al mar­kets, includ­ing Amer­i­can mar­kets.

NBA suspends its season

The Nation­al Bas­ket­ball Asso­ci­a­tion has pulled the plug on its sea­son after one of its play­ers (Rudy Gob­ert) test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

Just a few days ago, Gob­ert stu­pid­ly dis­missed con­cerns about the nov­el coro­n­avirus and made a point of touch­ing all the micro­phones in front of him at a press con­fer­ence to demon­strate his lack of con­cern.

Tom Hanks says he and Rita Wilson have the virus

On social media, well known actor Tom Han­ks said he and his wife have also test­ed pos­i­tive for the dis­ease, stun­ning mil­lions of peo­ple around the world. Han­ks and Wil­son are in Aus­tralia for the film­ing of a movie.

Bloomberg assesses how Patient Zero spread the virus

The first per­son in Wash­ing­ton to have a con­firmed case of COVID-19 like­ly spread it to oth­er peo­ple despite health author­i­ties’ best efforts to fol­low up with all of the peo­ple that the indi­vid­ual had come into con­tact with.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Judge Marshall Ferguson keeps I‑976 on ice while Tim Eyman pretends it’s taking effect

Today, there was a fresh devel­op­ment in the legal chal­lenge against Tim Eyman’s incred­i­bly destruc­tive Ini­tia­tive 976, a mea­sure spon­sored by Eyman that seeks to wipe out bil­lions of dol­lars in trans­porta­tion fund­ing at the state, region­al, and local lev­els in Wash­ing­ton State by elim­i­nat­ing vehi­cle fees and auto sales tax­es.

King Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge Mar­shall Fer­gu­son ruled that two sec­tions of the ini­tia­tive are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, after uphold­ing most of the mea­sure in a per­plex­ing order last month. The two uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions (by Fer­gu­son’s reck­on­ing) are Sec­tions 8 and 9. Sec­tion 8 con­cerns bonds and Sec­tion 9 attempts to tie any future motor vehi­cle excise tax to Kel­ley Blue Book val­ues.

Judge Fer­gu­son ruled that the plain­tiffs — King Coun­ty, the City of Seat­tle, and a statewide coali­tion rep­re­sent­ed by Paci­fi­ca Law Group — had proved beyond a rea­son­able doubt that Sec­tions 8 and 9 were uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. He there­fore grant­ed, in part, their motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment. At the same time, he par­tial­ly grant­ed the defen­dants’ motion for sum­ma­ry judg­ment as well.

(The defen­dants are the State of Wash­ing­ton, Tim Eyman and his pals, who inter­vened, and Pierce Coun­ty, which also inter­vened.)

The judge decreed that the pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion that he issued last Novem­ber should be vacat­ed because he found most of the ini­tia­tive to be con­sti­tu­tion­al, and the uncon­sti­tu­tion­al parts sev­er­able from the rest of the ini­tia­tive.

How­ev­er, Judge Fer­gu­son decid­ed to give the plain­tiffs a chance to per­suade him that the injunc­tion should remain in effect.

Con­se­quent­ly, he sus­pend­ed the por­tion of his order vacat­ing the injunc­tion until at least March 27th, when he has sched­uled a hear­ing on a pos­si­ble motion for rein­state­ment, which the plain­tiffs will undoubt­ed­ly bring.

Giv­en that the Kel­ley Blue Book pro­vi­sion was men­tioned in the bal­lot title, Sec­tion 9 arguably can­not be sev­ered from the rest of the ini­tia­tive, and the entire thing ought to be struck down on the basis of the plain­tiffs’ Sec­tion 9 argu­ment. This is an issue that will come up dur­ing the inevitable appeal.

If you find this all con­fus­ing, well, we don’t blame you. It *is* con­fus­ing.

Here’s a quick recap of how we got here:

So what we’ve got right now is a stay on the removal of a stay.

Plain­tiffs win, defen­dants win, plain­tiffs win, defen­dants win, plain­tiffs win…

Isn’t lit­i­ga­tion fun?

Tim Eyman, who remains furi­ous that I‑976 has not been imple­ment­ed, sent out an email tri­umphant­ly — and false­ly — pro­claim­ing that I‑976 had tak­en effect.

“Huge vic­to­ry, your emails did it, judge lift­ed injunc­tion today, I‑976 takes effect now!” Eyman wrote in an email to his fol­low­ers.

By “your emails did it,” Eyman was refer­ring to an extreme­ly inap­pro­pri­ate cam­paign of harass­ment he has been sub­ject­ing Judge Mar­shall Fer­gu­son to.

Telling his fol­low­ers to send nasty­grams to peo­ple who oppose him is a trade­mark Eyman maneu­ver. Eyman will typ­i­cal­ly dis­trib­ute both their per­son­al + work email address­es and their mobile tele­phone num­bers as part of his cam­paigns of harass­ment. Because Eyman’s email archive is pub­lic, he is effec­tive­ly dis­trib­ut­ing pri­vate con­tact infor­ma­tion pub­licly, some­thing NPI’s Code of Ethics for­bids.

Eyman is, as men­tioned, a par­ty to the case because he inter­vened.

Eyman’s ex parte lob­by­ing of the judge is com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate and Judge Fer­gu­son ought to admon­ish or sanc­tion him imme­di­ate­ly.

It is point­less to cut a ser­i­al offend­er like Eyman any slack what­so­ev­er because he is extreme­ly arro­gant and unin­ter­est­ed in vol­un­tar­i­ly chang­ing his bad behav­iors. Harsh con­se­quences are the only thing that seems to have an effect on Eyman.

After Eyman sent that email, we released a state­ment explain­ing that Eyman was in fact lying and that I‑976 had not tak­en effect. It remains on ice, for now.

The judge’s order makes this abun­dant­ly clear:

The injunc­tion against imple­men­ta­tion of I‑976 is lift­ed, except as to the sev­ered Sec­tions 8 and 9, which shall not be imple­ment­ed because they are uncon­sti­tu­tion­al.

The vaca­tion of the order and the lift­ing of the injunc­tion are sus­pend­ed, how­ev­er, as explained fur­ther below.


Plain­tiffs con­tend on recon­sid­er­a­tion that they are still enti­tled to a pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion and they request that the Court either main­tain the pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion to pre­serve the sta­tus quo or issue a stay to allow plain­tiffs to obtain an appel­late injunc­tion. Plain­tiffs’ request, made in a respon­sive mem­o­ran­dum, is not prop­er­ly before the Court.

Pur­suant to RCW 7.40.150, the Court pos­sess­es dis­cre­tion to allow a motion to rein­state an injunc­tion and to set a time for hear­ing the motion. In order to pro­vide a hear­ing for Plain­tiffs’ above-ref­er­enced requests, the Court grants to Plain­tiffs leave to bring a rein­state­ment motion, which may be not­ed for a hear­ing before the under­signed Judge to occur on Fri­day, March 27th, 2020 at 1:30 PM.

Until then, the parts of this Order vacat­ing and mod­i­fy­ing the Pre­lim­i­nary Injunc­tion are sus­pend­ed. 

Empha­sis is mine.

Read the entire rul­ing:

Judge Fer­gu­son’s order on motions for recon­sid­er­a­tion in I‑976 legal chal­lenge

Tim Eyman is so des­per­ate for I‑976 to be imple­ment­ed that he appar­ent­ly could­n’t help him­self from pre­tend­ing that it has tak­en effect, and glee­ful­ly pro­claim­ing as such. The truth has nev­er been impor­tant to him.

But in the real world, I‑976 has not tak­en effect, and the Depart­ment of Licens­ing con­tin­ues to col­lect the tax­es and fees that I‑976 attempt­ed to repeal.

In the event Judge Fer­gu­son choos­es to lift the pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion on or after March 27th, the plain­tiffs have the option of fil­ing an appeal with the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court. They could also file such a request before then, as the judge’s order acknowl­edges (“Noth­ing in this Order pro­hibits Plain­tiffs from peti­tion­ing an appel­late court for injunc­tive relief.”)

It is essen­tial the pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion remain in place while the I‑976 case is lit­i­gat­ed so that in the event it is found uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, the plain­tiffs and the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton State are not harmed by its imple­men­ta­tion.

Sav­ing the injunc­tion will thus be the plain­tiffs’ most impor­tant pri­or­i­ty in the short term. Judge Fer­gu­son has already unequiv­o­cal­ly stat­ed that they have proved that imple­men­ta­tion of the mea­sure would in fact be very destruc­tive.

The Supreme Court will have the final word on I‑976’s con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty. The Court often dis­agrees with the deci­sions reached by Supe­ri­or Court judges, so Judge Fer­gu­son’s view of the issues in this case could soon be super­seded.

It is nev­er­the­less note­wor­thy that even though Judge Fer­gu­son found most of the ini­tia­tive to be con­sti­tu­tion­al, he did agree with the plain­tiffs that some parts of it weren’t. Because of this lat­est rul­ing, we can now say that Tim Eyman’s I‑976 has been struck down in part as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. 

Assum­ing the Supreme Court finds at least some part of the ini­tia­tive uncon­sti­tu­tion­al when the case lands there, I‑976 will become the ninth Eyman ini­tia­tive that Eyman got past vot­ers to suf­fer from a con­sti­tu­tion­al defect, after I‑695, I‑722, I‑747, I‑776, I‑960/I‑1053/I‑1185, and I‑1366.