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.
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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
61.9%
Bernie Sanders395,069
22.84%
Michael R. Bloomberg146,397
8.46%
Pete Buttigieg39,864
2.3%
Eliz­a­beth War­ren32,775
1.89%
Amy Klobuchar17,260
1%
Tul­si Gab­bard8,694
0.5%
Andrew Yang5,261
0.3%
Michael Ben­net4,229
0.24%
Tom Stey­er2,509
0.15%
Mar­i­anne Williamson1,740
0.1%
John Delaney1,572
0.09%
Cory Book­er1,496
0.09%
Julian Cas­tro1,031
0.06%
Joe Ses­tak662
0.04%
Deval Patrick656
0.04%

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.

Tim

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 CNN.com.

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
3/12/2020

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
3/12/2020

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.