NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

“Blake fix” bill fails in State House, prompting calls for special session on drug policy

An eleventh hour vote on revi­sions to Wash­ing­ton’s drug pos­ses­sion laws end­ed in fail­ure in the state House this evening when a major­i­ty of rep­re­sen­ta­tives refused to endorse a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee report on E2SSB 5536, Sen­a­tor June Robin­son’s bill that responds to the Supreme Court’s Blake deci­sion.

Sev­er­al Democ­rats joined the cham­ber’s forty Repub­li­cans in cast­ing nay votes, cre­at­ing a potent obsta­cle to the bil­l’s pas­sage that lead­er­ship deter­mined could not be sur­mount­ed before the clock ran out on the 2023 leg­isla­tive session.

As a con­se­quence, the state does­n’t have a new law slat­ed to replace the pre­vi­ous “Blake fix” that is set to expire in just a few weeks. Absent such a law, Wash­ing­ton would cease to have a uni­form crim­i­nal jus­tice pol­i­cy on drug pos­ses­sion, which would mean that local­i­ties could set their own laws.

That could be very chaot­ic and inequitable, which is why Gov­er­nor Inslee urged the Leg­is­la­ture to act before the Sine Die cur­tain came down.

But House Repub­li­cans refused to pro­vide any votes for the nego­ti­at­ed ver­sion of 5536 and House Democ­rats were too divid­ed to pass it themselves.

That left the bill with no route to Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk, at least not before the end of the one hun­dred and fifth leg­isla­tive day — the last allowed by the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion for the 2023 reg­u­lar session.

The roll call vote was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5536
Con­trolled substances
Final Pas­sage as rec­om­mend­ed by the Con­fer­ence Committee

Yeas: 43; Nays: 55

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Berg, Bergquist, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Cortes, Davis, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, Senn, Shavers, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Alvara­do, Barkis, Barnard, Bate­man, Berry, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Cheney, Chopp, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Dent, Doglio, Dye, Eslick, Fari­var, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, Macri, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mena, Mor­gan, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Reed, Reeves, Robert­son, Rude, San­dlin, San­tos, Schmick, Schmidt, Sim­mons, Steele, Stokes­bary, Street, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic nays were Emi­ly Alvara­do, Jes­si­ca Bate­man, Liz Berry, Frank Chopp, Beth Doglio, Darya Fari­var, Mia Gregerson, Nicole Macri, Sharlett Mena, Melanie Mor­gan, Julia Reed, Kris­tine Reeves, Sharon Tomiko San­tos, Tar­ra Sim­mons, and Chipa­lo Street. Most of them rep­re­sent dis­tricts in Seat­tle and King Coun­ty. Bate­man and Doglio rep­re­sent part of Thurston Coun­ty (the 22nd Dis­trict). Mor­gan and Mena rep­re­sent part of Pierce Coun­ty (the 29th District).

The Gov­er­nor sug­gest­ed in his post Sine Die media avail­abil­i­ty that he would be call­ing a spe­cial ses­sion of the Leg­is­la­ture to get a bill passed — once the House Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus has iden­ti­fied lan­guage that at least fifty mem­bers can agree to. (To what extent House Repub­li­cans will be involved is unclear, espe­cial­ly with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive J.T. Wilcox now step­ping down as House minor­i­ty leader.)

The dif­fer­ences between the orig­i­nal ver­sions of 5536 and the “com­pro­mise” con­fer­ence report are out­lined in the Office of Pro­gram Research and Sen­ate Com­mit­tee Ser­vices staff report repro­duced below.

Com­par­i­son of Sen­ate, House, and Pro­posed Con­fer­ence Com­mit­tee Ver­sions of E2SSB 5536

The con­fer­ence report man­aged the feat of hav­ing quite a bit for every side to dis­like. Hours before the House vot­ed, a coali­tion of Sno­homish Coun­ty may­ors and busi­ness lead­ers called for a no vote. (Their plea was ignored by Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors rep­re­sent­ing Sno­homish Coun­ty, who vot­ed for the bill.)

“At this time, we would ask that Sno­homish Coun­ty leg­is­la­tors vote ‘no’ on Sen­ate Bill 5536 and give local gov­ern­ments the author­i­ty to address issues relat­ed to drug pos­ses­sion, pub­lic drug use and treat­ment incen­tives in their own juris­dic­tions,” said the coali­tion in a state­ment cir­cu­lat­ed to the press.

“We con­tin­ue to believe that a mean­ing­ful solu­tion must effec­tive­ly bal­ance legal con­se­quences and treat­ment options to reverse the impacts of Blake, and that the cur­rent ver­sion of the leg­is­la­tion falls short of that test.”

On Twit­ter, Seat­tle Times reporter Jim Brun­ner repost­ed the state­ment and summed up the coali­tion’s posi­tion on the con­fer­ence report as too soft on crime.

“The notion that the bill is too soft on crime is ridicu­lous. The House caved to pres­sure to esca­late the penal­ty back up from a mis­de­meanor to a gross mis­de­meanor, with diver­sions allowed only with the con­sent of the pros­e­cu­tor,” replied Ali­son Hol­comb, ACLU of Wash­ing­ton’s Direc­tor of Polit­i­cal Strate­gies.

“A gross mis­de­meanor, car­ry­ing a penal­ty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5k fine, is harsh­er than the felony penal­ty that applied before the Blake deci­sion. The stan­dard range for the felony offense was 0–60 days for the first three offens­es, less than even a mis­de­meanor-90 days,” Hol­comb added.

“Big­ger pic­ture, can some­one remind me when arrest­ing and jail­ing peo­ple decreased drug use? We have decades of data show­ing the War on Drugs has suc­ceed­ed pri­mar­i­ly in mak­ing drugs cheap­er and dead­lier. Exhib­it A: fentanyl.”

NPI took a posi­tion oppos­ing the orig­i­nal ver­sion of SB 5536. The House­’s ver­sion was also flawed, in our view, but less so than the Sen­ate’s version.

We can under­stand why many Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives were uncom­fort­able vot­ing for the final con­fer­ence report and ulti­mate­ly refused to do so.

This bill could use more work, and should be shaped through the prism of what’s humane and what’s effec­tive at help­ing peo­ple break free of addic­tions to harm­ful sub­stances, rather than the pol­i­tics of fear and pun­ish­ment. Tonight’s out­come, while dis­ap­point­ing to leg­isla­tive lead­er­ship, is prob­a­bly for the best.

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Legislature agrees on operating budget for 2023–2025 and sends it to Governor Inslee

The Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Sen­ate vot­ed in quick suc­ces­sion to approve a final oper­at­ing bud­get for the upcom­ing bien­ni­um this after­noon, com­plet­ing the essen­tial work of the 2023 leg­isla­tive ses­sion and putting the bud­get into Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s hands for exec­u­tive action.

ESSB 5187 is the vehi­cle for this year’s oper­at­ing bud­get. Its title is mak­ing 2023–2025 fis­cal bien­ni­um oper­at­ing appro­pri­a­tions. It is prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Chris­tine Rolfes (D‑23rd Dis­trict: Kit­sap Penin­su­la), the Chair of the Ways & Means Com­mit­tee, which has bud­get writ­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty in the Senate.

The House vot­ed along par­ty lines to approve the con­fer­ence report (the nego­ti­at­ed final ver­sion that was cre­at­ed out of the pre­vi­ous ver­sions adopt­ed by both cham­bers) while the Sen­ate saw a bipar­ti­san major­i­ty vote yes.

The final oper­at­ing bud­get (pri­or to exec­u­tive action) is 1,403 pages long and con­sists of 1,906 sec­tions. It does not incor­po­rate any new pro­gres­sive tax reform to bal­ance our tax code (like a wealth tax) nor does it pro­vide what NPI believes would be an appro­pri­ate lev­el of fund­ing for our K‑12 schools. School dis­tricts will thus be forced to make some very destruc­tive cuts in the weeks to come.

Nev­er­the­less, there are some impor­tant pieces with­in the bud­get that we advo­cat­ed for, like fund­ing for the Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources to con­tin­ue assess­ing the seis­mic risks of our state’s school buildings:

Sec­tion 310, sub­sec­tion 37: 300,000 of the gen­er­al fund—state appro­pri­a­tion for fis­cal year 2024 and $300,000 of the gen­er­al fund — state appro­pri­a­tion for fis­cal year 2025 are pro­vid­ed sole­ly for the depart­ment to con­tin­ue the work spec­i­fied in sec­tion 3291, chap­ter 413, Laws of 2019 to assess pub­lic school seis­mic safe­ty for school build­ings not yet assessed, focused on high­est risk areas of the state as a priority.

The roll call vote in the House was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5187
Oper­at­ing budget
Final Pas­sage as rec­om­mend­ed by the Con­fer­ence Committee

Yeas: 58; Nays: 40

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alvara­do, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fari­var, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­tos, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Robert­son, Rude, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Steele, Stokes­bary, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

As men­tioned, it was a par­ty-line vote.

In the Sen­ate, the roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5187
Oper­at­ing budget
Final Pas­sage as Rec­om­mend­ed by Con­fer­ence Committee

Yeas: 37; Nays: 12

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Braun, Cleve­land, Con­way, Dhin­gra, Frame, Gildon, Hasegawa, Holy, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, King, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, MacEwen, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Rivers, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Shew­make, Stan­ford, Trudeau, Valdez, Van De Wege, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire), Wil­son (Lyn­da)

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Boehnke, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Hawkins, McCune, Pad­den, Schoesler, Short, Tor­res, Wag­oner, War­nick, Wil­son (Jeff)

All Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors vot­ed yea. Repub­li­can sen­a­tors who crossed over to sup­port the bud­get were John Braun, the minor­i­ty leader, Chris Gildon, Jeff Holy, Cur­tis King, Drew MacEwen, Ron Muz­za­ll, Ann Rivers, and Lyn­da Wilson.

For­mer minor­i­ty leader Mark Schoesler denounced the bud­get in fair­ly harsh terms in a ram­bling speech pri­or to the adop­tion of the con­fer­ence report.

Sen­a­tor Lyn­da Wil­son, the rank­ing mem­ber of the Ways & Means Com­mit­tee, struck a very dif­fer­ent tone. She expressed regret that the final bud­get was not more like the ver­sion the Sen­ate passed a few weeks ago, but nev­er­the­less pledged her sup­port, express­ing sat­is­fac­tion over the lack of new revenue.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Chris­tine Rolfes, June Robin­son, Mark Mul­let, Joe Nguyen, and Pat­ty Kud­er­er all offered speech­es in sup­port of the budget.

ESSB 5187 now goes to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

The 2023 leg­isla­tive ses­sion is slat­ed to adjourn Sine Die in a few hours.

Sunday, April 23rd, 2023

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (April 17th-21st)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing April 21st, 2023.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

GENDER AND SCHOOL SPORTS: The House on April 20th passed the inap­pro­pri­ate­ly-named “Pro­tec­tion of Women and Girls in Sports Act” (H.R. 734), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gre­go­ry W. Steube, R‑Florida, to con­di­tion fed­er­al fund­ing of school ath­let­ic pro­grams on those schools not allow­ing peo­ple whose bio­log­i­cal sex at birth is male to take part in female ath­let­ic programs.

Steube said the bill “pre­serves wom­en’s sports and ensures fair com­pe­ti­tion for gen­er­a­tions of women to come.” An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mark Takano, D‑California, said: “Con­gress has no busi­ness tar­get­ing trans­gen­der women and girls and impos­ing a nation­wide ban on their par­tic­i­pa­tion in school sports.”

The vote was 219 yeas to 203 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

RESPONDING TO CHINESE SURVEILLANCE BALLOONS: The House on April 17th passed the Uphold­ing Sov­er­eign­ty of Air­space Act (H.R. 1151), spon­sored by Rep. Gre­go­ry Meeks, D‑New York, to con­demn Chi­na’s sur­veil­lance bal­loon flights over the U.S. since 2017 and have the State Depart­ment work with oth­er coun­tries to oppose such flights as inva­sions of sov­er­eign ter­ri­to­ry. Meeks said of the flights: “Such a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law and U.S. sov­er­eign­ty will not be tol­er­at­ed and must not hap­pen again.” The vote was 405 yeas to 6 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 18 yea votes

RESPONDING TO DRONE ATTACK BY RUSSIA: The House on April 17th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 240), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bran­don Williams, R‑New York, to con­demn Rus­si­a’s recent destruc­tion of a U.S. mil­i­tary drone said to have been fly­ing in inter­na­tion­al air­space over the Black Sea.

Williams said the res­o­lu­tion would “reas­sure our allies that we are com­mit­ted to defend our­selves and our friends, and togeth­er, we will ensure the peace through deter­rence in uni­ty.” The was unan­i­mous with 410 yeas.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 18 yea votes

FAILED VETO OVERRIDE OF WATERWAYS REGULATION: The House on April 18th failed to over­ride Pres­i­dent Biden’s veto of a res­o­lu­tion (H.J. Res. 27), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Graves, R‑Missouri., that would have void­ed an Army Corps of Engi­neers and Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency rule issued this Jan­u­ary that defines Waters of the Unit­ed States (WOTUS).

Such waters would be sub­ject to reg­u­la­tion under the Clean Water Act. Graves said the rule favored “rad­i­cal envi­ron­men­tal activists over Amer­i­ca’s fam­i­lies, small busi­ness­es, farm­ers, builders, and prop­er­ty owners.”

A res­o­lu­tion oppo­nent, the Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rick Larsen, D‑Washington, said: “This res­o­lu­tion rep­re­sents a step back­ward for clean water, increas­es uncer­tain­ty for busi­ness­es, and dou­bles down on fight­ing and on chaos.” The vote was 227 yeas to 196 nays, with a two-thirds thresh­old required.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Val Hoyle

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 11 nay votes, 1 not voting

OVERRIDING DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA LAWMAKING ON POLICE REFORM: The House on April 19th passed a bill (H.J. Res. 42), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Andrew Clyde, R‑Georgia, to dis­ap­prove of and void the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Coun­cil’s adop­tion of a law chang­ing polic­ing poli­cies for D.C. police offi­cers. Clyde said the action was nec­es­sary because “the D.C. Coun­cil’s mis­guid­ed leg­is­la­tion has dri­ven out men and women in blue who pro­tect us, while dis­in­cen­tiviz­ing indi­vid­u­als to join the force.”

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jamie Raskin, D‑Maryland, said the Coun­cil was only try­ing to “pro­mote account­abil­i­ty for police offi­cers who use exces­sive force or abuse their pow­er, a goal that the vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans share.”

The vote was 229 yeas to 189 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (4): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives  Marie Glue­senkamp Perez and Kim Schrier

Vot­ing Nay (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 8 yea votes, 10 nay votes

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SECURITY: The House on April 19th passed the Coun­ter­ing Untrust­ed Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Abroad Act (H.R. 1149), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Susan Wild, D‑Pennsylvania, to require the State Depart­ment to assist telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions infra­struc­ture install­ments that pro­mote U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty, and require oth­er mea­sures to address secu­ri­ty risks from telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions. Wild said: “Secur­ing these net­works is imper­a­tive when it comes to nation­al secu­ri­ty and human rights, as well as for our eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty.” The vote was 410 yeas to 8 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 yea votes, 1 not voting

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

FIRE GRANTS AND SAFETY ACT: The Sen­ate on April 20th passed the Fire Grants and Safe­ty Act (S. 870), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Gary C. Peters, D‑Michigan, to reau­tho­rize through fis­cal 2030 sev­er­al fed­er­al fire­fight­ing and fire man­age­ment pro­grams. Peters said: “Fire depart­ments depend on these pro­grams to address staffing needs, replace out­dat­ed equip­ment, fund fire train­ing and edu­ca­tion pro­grams, and invest in health screen­ings for fire­fight­ers in the line of duty.” The vote was 95 yeas to 2 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes

REJECTION OF RAND PAUL’S ANTI-VACCINE AMENDMENT: The Sen­ate on April 18th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen. Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, to the Fire Grants and Safe­ty Act (S. 870, above), that would have made grants to local fire depart­ments con­tin­gent on those depart­ments not hav­ing imposed COVID vac­ci­na­tion require­ments on their employees.

Paul said: “Fire­men and EMTs who chose not to be vac­ci­nat­ed were nev­er a threat to any­one, nev­er a threat to their com­mu­ni­ties. On the con­trary, these fire­fight­ers served their com­mu­ni­ties brave­ly and made their neigh­bors safe.”

An oppo­nent, Sen. Gary C. Peters, D‑Michigan, said: “This amend­ment would inter­fere with state and local gov­ern­ments’ abil­i­ty to deter­mine health poli­cies for their own employ­ees and how to best keep their com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

The vote was 45 yeas to 54 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 yea votes, 4 nay votes

REJECTION OF RICK SCOTT’S COVID REDIRECTION FUNDS AMENDMENT: The Sen­ate on April 18th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Rick Scott, R‑Florida, to the Fire Grants and Safe­ty Act (S. 870, above) that would have used unspent COVID relief funds to help cov­er the cost of the bil­l’s fire­fight­ing grants pro­gram. Scott said that giv­en the more than $31 tril­lion of gov­ern­ment indebt­ed­ness, it would be finan­cial­ly pru­dent to redi­rect unob­lig­at­ed funds to sup­port fire­fight­ers, rather than add to deficit spending.

An amend­ment oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Gary C. Peters, D‑Michigan, said: “Redis­trib­ut­ing this fund­ing could weak­en our nation’s abil­i­ty to con­tin­ue respond­ing to and recov­er­ing from the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and would pull funds from a pro­gram that is sup­port­ing our com­mu­ni­ties, fam­i­lies, and small busi­ness­es in impor­tant ways.” The vote was 47 yeas to 49 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 yea votes, 4 nay votes

RADHA IEYNGAR PLUMB, UNDERSECRETARY: The Sen­ate on April 18th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Rad­ha Iyen­gar Plumb to be Deputy Under Sec­re­tary of Defense for Acqui­si­tion and Sus­tain­ment. Plumb, cur­rent­ly chief of staff to Defense’s deputy sec­re­tary, was for­mer­ly an exec­u­tive at Google and at Face­book, and a nation­al secu­ri­ty staffer at sev­er­al fed­er­al agencies.

The vote was 68 yeas to 30 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

AMY LEFKOWITZ SOLOMON, AAG: The Sen­ate on April 18th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Amy Lefkowitz Solomon to be the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­er­al for the Office of Jus­tice Pro­grams (OJP). A senior offi­cial at OJP since the start of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, Solomon was in sim­i­lar roles at OJP dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion as well. A sup­port­er, Sen. Dick Durbin, D‑Ill., called Solomon “a devot­ed pub­lic ser­vant whose pol­i­cy exper­tise and com­mit­ment to the rule of law will serve the Jus­tice Depart­ment and com­mu­ni­ties across Amer­i­ca.” The vote, on April 18, was 59 yeas to 40 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House plans to take up a res­o­lu­tion dis­ap­prov­ing the rule sub­mit­ted by the Depart­ment of Com­merce relat­ing to “Pro­ce­dures Cov­er­ing Sus­pen­sion of Liq­ui­da­tion, Duties and Esti­mat­ed Duties in Accord With Pres­i­den­tial Procla­ma­tion 10414” along with sev­er­al oth­er bills and res­o­lu­tions, such as the Secure Space Act and the Advanced, Local Emer­gency Response Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Par­i­ty Act.

The Sen­ate will take up the nom­i­na­tion of Joshua David Jacobs, of Wash­ing­ton, to be Under Sec­re­tary for Ben­e­fits of the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs. It will also con­sid­er a motion relat­ing to S.326, the leg­isla­tive vehi­cle for a vet­er­ans package.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. 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!

© 2023 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

DONE! Governor Jay Inslee signs into law NPI’s bill to get rid of Tim Eyman’s push polls

Today, in a huge vic­to­ry for Wash­ing­ton vot­ers and tax­pay­ers, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5082, a North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute pri­or­i­ty bill spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Amy Walen that lib­er­ates our gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lots from Tim Eyman’s push polls, which are anti-tax mes­sages mas­querad­ing as ref­er­en­da under the false label “advi­so­ry votes.”

The gov­er­nor’s endorse­ment of SB 5082 was the final step in its jour­ney from pro­posed vot­ing jus­tice leg­is­la­tion to ses­sion law. Five years of work by NPI and allies to replace Eyman’s push polls with truth­ful, accu­rate fis­cal infor­ma­tion that is con­tin­u­ous­ly updat­ed for vot­ers has now reached a suc­cess­ful conclusion.

SB 5082 is slat­ed to go into effect nine­ty days after ses­sion adjourn­ment, on July 23rd, 2023, which is in time for this year’s Novem­ber gen­er­al election.

That means we’ve already seen the last of Eyman’s push polls. They won’t be around this autumn when Wash­ing­to­ni­ans open up their bal­lots. Instead of see­ing anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da at or near the top, vot­ers will see can­di­date elec­tions and real bal­lot mea­sures only fol­low­ing the instruc­tions. That’s as it should be.

Our leg­is­la­tion was forged on the prin­ci­ple that the bal­lot is sacred. It’s the place where we make deci­sions about who should rep­re­sent us, what laws we should have, and what changes we’d like to see made to our plan of gov­ern­ment on occa­sion. The bal­lot is sim­ply not an appro­pri­ate place for polling, adver­tis­ing, or cam­paign-style mes­sag­ing. (Polling is best done sep­a­rate­ly, through sur­vey instru­ments that employ neu­tral­ly word­ed questionnaires.)

Imag­ine what the bal­lot would look like if every bill con­sid­ered by the Leg­is­la­ture in a giv­en year were sub­ject­ed to a fake ref­er­en­dum with prej­u­di­cial word­ing… or if polit­i­cal com­mit­tees were allowed to place ads right below the instruc­tions, in the prime real estate on the front of the bal­lot. That kind of degra­da­tion would result in an increas­ing­ly hor­ri­ble vot­ing expe­ri­ence, neg­a­tive­ly impact­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion and fur­ther endan­ger­ing the health of our republic.

Our research polling and our con­ver­sa­tions with vot­ers have always val­i­dat­ed the course we chart­ed many years ago when we start­ed putting this leg­is­la­tion togeth­er. At many junc­tures, we heard argu­ments (main­ly from Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors) that our bill ought to be amend­ed to pre­serve “advi­so­ry votes” in some form. Mov­ing them to the back of the bal­lot was pro­posed. Alter­ing the word­ing was pro­posed. Autho­riz­ing them on even more top­ics was proposed.

We held firm and worked with our cham­pi­ons — Sen­a­tors Kud­er­er and Hunt, Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Walen and Ramos — to ensure the bill stayed true to its purpose.

If our leg­is­la­tion had been amend­ed as Repub­li­cans pro­posed, it would have devi­at­ed from its North Star of mak­ing vot­ing eas­i­er. With SB 5082, we are elim­i­nat­ing a bar­ri­er to par­tic­i­pat­ing in elec­tions. We’re tak­ing a stand against bad bal­lot design. We’re resolv­ing that bal­lots should­n’t become billboards.

As our bil­l’s intent sec­tion so elo­quent­ly explains:

The leg­is­la­ture finds that mak­ing the act of cast­ing a bal­lot as sim­ple as pos­si­ble will help pro­mote the free and equal elec­tions guar­an­teed by Arti­cle I, sec­tion 19 and Arti­cle VI, sec­tion 1 of the Wash­ing­ton state Con­sti­tu­tion. The leg­is­la­ture rec­og­nizes that trans­paren­cy and fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty are impor­tant to the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton, and that elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion and bal­lot design should reflect these long-held val­ues. The leg­is­la­ture fur­ther finds that the peo­ple right­ful­ly expect items on their bal­lots to be neu­tral­ly and accu­rate­ly word­ed. Final­ly, the leg­is­la­ture finds for the votes that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans cast to have mean­ing, the bal­lot must be lim­it­ed to can­di­date elec­tions that give the peo­ple the pow­er to choose their rep­re­sen­ta­tives or bal­lot mea­sures that deter­mine what laws and plan of gov­ern­ment the state and its local­i­ties shall have.

Our posi­tion has pre­vailed, and that’s a win for every­one.

Yes, every­one. Even right wing Repub­li­cans opposed to SB 5082 won today.

Peo­ple in Eyman’s camp will fer­vent­ly dis­agree with that state­ment now. But in time, per­haps at least some of them will rec­og­nize the mer­its of our legislation.

Many of their fel­low Repub­li­cans already do… like Sen­a­tor Brad Hawkins, who vot­ed for SB 5082, or for­mer Sen­a­tor Hans Zeiger, who gave a great speech for its orig­i­nal incar­na­tion four years ago, or retired Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed, a leader in the Main­stream Repub­li­cans who enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly endorsed it.

These and oth­er Repub­li­cans get that sim­plic­i­ty and neu­tral­i­ty are good prin­ci­ples for our bal­lots. Less can be more, as the adage goes, and less can also be better.

Our bill does­n’t just save mon­ey. It saves time: vot­ers’ time, elec­tion work­ers’ time, activists’ time. And it upholds bedrock demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples. In an age of ram­pant mis­in­for­ma­tion and dis­in­for­ma­tion, what we’ve accom­plished is espe­cial­ly mean­ing­ful. My heart­felt thanks to every­one who stood with us and helped secure the votes need­ed to get this bill to Gov­er­nor Inslee so it could be signed today. You’ve done mil­lions of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers a great ser­vice. Mer­ci! Danke! Gracias!

Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Fox settles with Dominion, averting anxiously awaited trial in landmark defamation case

Fox “News” is a prod­uct of niche mar­ket­ing, of detri­ment to democ­ra­cy but immense­ly prof­itable. Its par­ent cor­po­ra­tion took in an esti­mat­ed $1.2 bil­lion last year. Now, how­ev­er, it must pay $787.5 mil­lion to Domin­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems in order to set­tle the moth­er of all defama­tion suits.

The set­tle­ment with Domin­ion, which sought $1.6 bil­lion after being defamed by Fox hosts, was the lead report for almost all news out­lets. The excep­tion was, of course, Fox view­ers, who were told almost noth­ing. The right wing net­work stuck with its usu­al sta­ples, demo­niz­ing trans­gen­der ath­letes and depict­ing cities with Demo­c­ra­t­ic may­ors as cen­ters of crime and violence.

The net­work was designed to attract view­ers unsat­is­fied with the report­ing of the mass media, and in the mar­ket for “news” mir­ror­ing their own views.

“We’re not here to pass our­selves off as intel­lec­tu­als: We’re here to give the pub­lic what they want,” own­er Rupert Mur­doch explained at launch.

What the view­ers got was a line­up of right-wing pun­dits, dark con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, and ample dis­play of women’s legs. No pantsuits at Fox. The net­work served as cheer­leader for the inva­sion of Iraq, pro­mot­er of Repub­li­can politi­cians, and employ­er of los­ing Repub­li­can can­di­dates, while demo­niz­ing Pres­i­dent Obama.

When Barack and Michelle Oba­ma touched knuck­les upon win­ning the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, a Fox per­son­al­i­ty termed it a “ter­ror­ist fist bump.”

Typ­i­cal of Fox was ador­ing, copi­ous cov­er­age giv­en to two Repub­li­can can­di­dates in Wash­ing­ton, Sen­ate hope­ful Tiffany Smi­ley and ultra MAGA House can­di­date Joe Kent, in last fall’s elec­tion. Inter­view­ing Smi­ley in her race against Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, host Sean Han­ni­ty declared: “We want that seat.”

The line became the cen­ter­piece of a Mur­ray reelec­tion commercial.

Fox spent four years shilling for Don­ald Trump. The for­mer occu­pant of the Oval Office boost­ed rat­ings for Han­ni­ty, a bor­ing par­ty line pundit.

Fox com­men­ta­tors have depict­ed Joe Biden as in the ear­ly stages of demen­tia and zeroed in on his vig­or­ous Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Pete Buttigieg.

Long gone is the network’s ini­tial tagline – “Fair and Bal­anced” – as well as fig­ures like Chris Wal­lace and Carl Cameron inter­est­ed in prac­tic­ing journalism.

What the Fox audi­ence want­ed, in the 2020 elec­tion, was four more years of Trump. The Amer­i­can peo­ple dis­agreed and gave Joe Biden a mar­gin of 2.9 mil­lion votes. Hav­ing spent years brand­ing his crit­ics as “losers”, Trump could not accept defeat. He claimed the elec­tion was stolen, foment­ing spe­cious claims and los­ing court cas­es before Trump-nom­i­nat­ed fed­er­al judges.

View­ers of Fox were infu­ri­at­ed when the net­work was first to fore­cast that Biden would car­ry Ari­zona. Top brass at Fox pri­vate­ly agreed that Joe Biden had secured an Elec­toral Col­lege major­i­ty and would become our forty-sixth pres­i­dent. But with Fox view­ers defect­ing to rivals on the right, such as News­max, the network’s pun­dits gave air time and cre­dence to elec­tion deniers and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists, more famous­ly Rudy Giu­liani with hair dye stream­ing down his face.

The view­er base had to be fed what it want­ed to hear, that Trump real­ly won the elec­tion. The accu­sa­tions were absurd, includ­ing a claim that long-deceased Venezue­lan strong­man Hugo Chavez helped cre­ate Domin­ion, and that the com­pa­ny deployed a secret algo­rithm to take Trump’s votes and give them to Biden. Under fire from Fox, the com­pa­ny took a painful busi­ness hit, and its employ­ees endured a mul­ti­tude of threats.

In prepar­ing its case, Domin­ion dis­cov­ered and dis­closed what Fox brass were say­ing to each oth­er back­stage. “Just watched Giu­liani press con­fer­ence: stu­pid and dam­ag­ing,” Rupert Mur­doch said in one email. In anoth­er, “Ter­ri­ble stuff dam­ag­ing every­body I fear – Prob­a­bly hurt­ing us, too.”

In pri­vate, top-rat­ed host Tuck­er Carl­son was pro­fess­ing to hate Trump, and warn­ing of dam­age to the Fox News “brand.” “With Trump behind it, an alter­na­tive like News­max could be dev­as­tat­ing to us,” he said in an email.

On the air, how­ev­er, Carl­son con­tin­ued to hint at con­spir­a­cies. A notable crank, lawyer Sid­ney Pow­ell, field­ed a ques­tion from Fox host Maria Bar­tiro­mo: “Sid­ney, I want to ask you about these algo­rithms and Domin­ion soft­ware.” On Fox Busi­ness, host Lou Dobbs – a KING5 alum­nus – was spread­ing the rumors.

Domin­ion had a steep hill to climb in its defama­tion suit against Fox. Under terms of the Supreme Court’s sem­i­nal 1964 deci­sion in New York Times v. Sul­li­van, the com­pa­ny had to prove that alle­ga­tions on Fox were of “reck­less dis­re­gard of its fal­si­ty or whether it was true or false”” as well as the prod­uct of “actu­al malice.”

The plain­tiff did a remark­able job, and leaked much of its dam­ag­ing evi­dence before the sched­uled tri­al date this week. How much more is going to get aired, Fox exec­u­tives must have asked them­selves. The judge in Delaware ruled that Fox broad­casts were, in fact, false. Truth could not be used as a defense.

As well, the net­work faced the prospect of hav­ing Rupert Mur­doch, Tuck­er Carl­son and Lau­ra Ingra­ham on the wit­ness stand, explain­ing the con­tra­dic­tion between their pri­vate state­ments and pub­lic slan­ders. All that and under oath to tell the truth. The tri­al would have brought out con­flict between Fox’s prime time pun­dits and what’s left of the divi­sion that is sup­posed to be report­ing news.

The pric­etag for spar­ing the wit­ness stand, and escap­ing account­abil­i­ty, came to $787.50 mil­lion. “The truth mat­ters: Lies have con­se­quences,” Dominion’s lawyer Justin Nel­son said out­side the court­room. “Over two years ago, a tor­rent of lies swept Domin­ion and elec­tion offi­cials across Amer­i­ca into an alter­na­tive uni­verse of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, caus­ing griev­ous harm to Domin­ion and the country.”

Fox is not off the hook. Anoth­er firm smeared after the 2020 elec­tion, Smaart­mat­ic, is suing Fox News for $2.7 bil­lion, with a tri­al date pending.

Fox News is pay­ing for dam­ag­ing democ­ra­cy and poi­son­ing the body pol­i­tics. It’s the cost of pan­der­ing rather than telling the truth.

As Fox chief exec­u­tive Suzanne Scott said in an email, “I can’t keep defend­ing these reporters who don’t under­stand our view­ers and how to han­dle stories “

Rupert Mur­doch can hope for hap­pi­er days. The nine­ty-two year-old patri­arch of FNC is about to be mar­ried for the fifth time.

Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

VICTORY! Assault weapons ban clears Legislature, heads to Governor Inslee’s desk

Wash­ing­ton will soon become the tenth state in the nation to ban mil­i­tary-grade assault weapons, in a water­shed, crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant vic­to­ry for gun safety.

Today, the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Sen­ate came to an agree­ment on mutu­al­ly accept­able final lan­guage for House Bill 1240, which pro­hibits the man­u­fac­ture, impor­ta­tion, dis­tri­b­u­tion, sell­ing, and offer­ing for sale of assault weapons. The bill now heads to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee for signature.

Request­ed by Inslee and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, the bill was prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Strom Peter­son (D‑21st Dis­trict: Sno­homish Coun­ty). Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er (D‑48th Dis­trict: Belle­vue, Red­mond, Kirk­land, the Points com­mu­ni­ties) spon­sored the Sen­ate com­pan­ion, SB 5265.

Twice in the past twelve months, NPI’s research has found a major­i­ty strong­ly sup­port­ive of ban­ning assault weapons: 56% last June and 58% this March. We unveiled the first of those find­ings at a press con­fer­ence with Fer­gu­son, Kud­er­er, State Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra, State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jami­la Tay­lor, and Emi­ly Cantrell of the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty. Weeks lat­er, our research was cor­rob­o­rat­ed by Sur­veyUSA and its part­ners in a dif­fer­ent statewide sur­vey.

“Weapons designed to be used on a mil­i­tary field shouldn’t have a place on the streets of Wash­ing­ton,” said Zach Elmore, a vol­un­teer with the Wash­ing­ton chap­ter of Moms Demand Action, which has been lob­by­ing for the bill.

“Assault weapons are fre­quent­ly used in mass shoot­ings and research shows that lim­it­ing access to these firearms could reduce mass shoot­ing deaths. We are proud to stand with our gun sense cham­pi­ons in the Leg­is­la­ture, and thank our lead­ers for tak­ing swift action and send­ing this bill to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk.”

“Each round fired from an assault weapon can have up to four times greater muz­zle ener­gy than a bul­let fired from a hand­gun,” not­ed a state­ment from Every­town For Gun Safe­ty about the neces­si­ty of HB 1240. “Each round can inflict greater dam­age to the human body than a round from a typ­i­cal hand­gun — and these guns can fire many of these high-pow­ered rounds extreme­ly fast. Pro­hibit­ing the man­u­fac­ture and sale of assault weapons in the state is an impor­tant first step to elim­i­nat­ing the sup­ply of these excep­tion­al­ly dead­ly firearms.

At the behest of the gun lob­by, Repub­li­cans vocif­er­ous­ly opposed HB 1240 at every step of the leg­isla­tive process, offer­ing all sorts of tired and ridicu­lous argu­ments. (Our favorite is the absurd claim that crim­i­nals won’t fol­low the law, so it’s not worth pass­ing. Why have any laws at all, then?)

It was up to Democ­rats to get the job done. They deliv­ered, with majori­ties in both cham­bers stand­ing up to the NRA and its local sycophants.

The final vote in the Sen­ate was as follows:

Roll Call
HB 1240
Firearms/assault weapons
3rd Read­ing & Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Senate

Yeas: 28; Nays: 21

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Cleve­land, Con­way, Dhin­gra, Frame, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Mul­let, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Shew­make, Stan­ford, Trudeau, Valdez, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire)

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Boehnke, Braun, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Gildon, Hawkins, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Muz­za­ll, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Tor­res, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Wil­son (Jeff), Wil­son (Lyn­da)

Sen­a­tor Kevin Van De Wege was the only “nay” vote on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side.

The final vote in the House was as follows:

Roll Call
HB 1240
Firearms/assault weapons
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Senate

Yeas: 56; Nays: 42

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alvara­do, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fari­var, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Ryu, San­tos, Senn, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Robert­son, Rude, Rule, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Shavers, Steele, Stokes­bary, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Clyde Shavers and Ali­cia Rule, both front­line mem­bers fac­ing tough reelec­tion fights, were the only “nay” votes on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side. Their seat­mates Dave Paul and Joe Tim­mons decid­ed to vote for the legislation.

Wash­ing­ton cur­rent­ly ranks tenth in terms of the strength of its gun safe­ty laws, accord­ing to Every­town For Gun Safe­ty, behind Ore­gon, Mary­land, Illi­nois, Mass­a­chu­setts, Con­necti­cut, New Jer­sey, Hawaii, New York, and Cal­i­for­nia — all Demo­c­ra­t­ic-run states. The suc­cess of HB 1240 and oth­er gun safe­ty bills adopt­ed this ses­sion could pro­pel Wash­ing­ton up in the rankings.

Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon’s neigh­bor Ida­ho is con­sid­ered a “nation­al fail­ure” and ranked forty-eighth out of fifty, with only Arkansas and Mis­sis­sip­pi far­ing worse.

Pres­i­dent Joe Biden usu­al­ly offers a state­ment of con­grat­u­la­tions through his com­mu­ni­ca­tions office when a state acts to ban assault weapons — we’ll see if the White House offers a com­ment on the pas­sage of HB 1240.

We thank the Alliance for Gun Respon­si­bil­i­ty, Every­town, Moms Demand Action, Brady, and every­one who worked to get HB 1240 across the fin­ish line. Repub­li­cans and gun wor­ship­pers can threat­en and file all the law­suits they want. Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son is ready for them. It’s not pos­si­ble to know what the future holds, but we do at least know that HB 1240 will be well defended.

Gun vio­lence is pre­ventable, and we must have the courage to stand up to the gun lob­by. Our lead­er­ship on gun safe­ty can save lives and pro­tect communities.

Monday, April 17th, 2023

VICTORY! My Health, My Data Act heads to Governor Inslee after House concurrence vote

Less than an hour ago, leg­is­la­tion request­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son that would pro­vide strong new pro­tec­tions for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ pri­vate health data won final pas­sage in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, putting it a guber­na­to­r­i­al sig­na­ture away from becom­ing the law of the land in the Ever­green State.

By a vote of 57–40, the House vot­ed to con­cur in the Sen­ate amend­ments to House Bill 1155, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Van­dana Slat­ter (D‑48th Dis­trict: Belle­vue, Red­mond, Kirk­land, Med­i­na, the Points communities.)

Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Duvall), a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber, had the com­pan­ion bill in the Sen­ate and over­saw the draft­ing of the amendments.

Those amend­ments strength­ened the bill — as opposed to weak­en­ing it, which is the more com­mon sce­nario when a bill is changed by the oppo­site cham­ber — set­ting the stage for a sim­ple and straight­for­ward con­cur­rence vote in the House.

The Sen­ate’s changes, pro­posed by Dhin­gra’s com­mit­tee, restored the bill to its orig­i­nal­ly con­tem­plat­ed scope, with a strong pri­vate right of action. What that means is that if peo­ple find the pri­va­cy of their health data has been infringed upon, they can go to the courts to seek jus­tice them­selves, rather than hav­ing to rely on the Attor­ney General’s office as the sole enforcer of their rights.

“This law pro­vides Wash­ing­to­ni­ans con­trol over their per­son­al health data,” Fer­gu­son said in a state­ment. “Wash­ing­to­ni­ans deserve the right to decide who shares and sells their health data, and the free­dom to demand that cor­po­ra­tions delete their sen­si­tive health data — and will now have these protections.”

“Web­sites, apps and health track­ing devices lack the basic pro­tec­tions we’ve come to expect when shar­ing our per­son­al health data,” Slat­ter said.

“There is no way to con­sent or even know about it. We must pro­tect the data of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans and all who trav­el here. With­out a fed­er­al pol­i­cy, this is where we are and the first in the nation bill we need. I’m glad my col­leagues and the attor­ney gen­er­al are choos­ing to rise to the occa­sion in pro­tect­ing people’s right to pri­va­cy, per­son­al agency and safe med­ical care.”

“Peo­ple have a right to keep pri­vate health data pri­vate,” Dhin­gra said. “With the My Health My Data Act, Wash­ing­ton becomes the nation­al leader in inform­ing and obtain­ing con­sent from con­sumers when com­pa­nies col­lect, share and sell their health care data. It is cru­cial that peo­ple have the abil­i­ty to request that their pri­vate data be delet­ed once col­lect­ed, and this bill allows them to do so.”

New research released on April 4th by the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute at an event with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Slat­ter, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son shows that HB 1155 is mas­sive­ly pop­u­lar. 76% sup­port the legislation’s pro­vi­sions, with sev­en out of ten vot­ers strong­ly sup­port­ive overall.

My Health, My Data is one of the most pop­u­lar ideas we have ever researched.

The House and Sen­ate are to be com­mend­ed for send­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee a strong bill that will be a mod­el for states through­out the coun­try. This is what real lead­er­ship looks like — and it comes at a crit­i­cal time for repro­duc­tive rights.

The roll call on final pas­sage in the House was as follows:

Roll Call
HB 1155
Con­sumer health data
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Senate

Yeas: 57; Nays: 40; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alvara­do, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fari­var, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­tos, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Robert­son, Rude, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Steele, Stokes­bary, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ortiz-Self

The vote on final pas­sage of HB 1155 was a par­ty-line vote, with Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives sup­port­ive and Repub­li­cans opposed.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lil­lian Ortiz-Self was excused.

The final ver­sion of HB 1155 would, if signed by Inslee:

  • Estab­lish con­sumer rights of access, with­draw con­sent, and dele­tion regard­ing con­sumer health data.
  • Require reg­u­lat­ed enti­ties and small busi­ness­es to obtain con­sent in order to col­lect, share, or sell con­sumer health data.
  • Spec­i­fy reg­u­lat­ed enti­ty and small busi­ness oblig­a­tions regard­ing con­sumer health data pri­va­cy notice, access, and secu­ri­ty requirements.
  • Pro­hib­it imple­ment­ing a geofence around an enti­ty that pro­vides in-per­son health care ser­vices to col­lect or track data from con­sumers or to send adver­tise­ments relat­ed to con­sumer health data.
  • Exempt gov­ern­ment agen­cies, trib­al nations, and per­son­al infor­ma­tion gov­erned by cer­tain fed­er­al or state laws.
  • Make vio­la­tions enforce­able under the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act.

Our thanks to Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Slat­ter, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son for their lead­er­ship. With­out them, we would­n’t have got­ten a strong My Health, My Data Act this ses­sion. This is a great vic­to­ry for Washingtonians.

Monday, April 17th, 2023

Ruben Gallego makes Kyrsten Sinema’s support for the filibuster an issue in Arizona’s 2024 contest for United States Senate

Sen­a­tor Kyrsten Sine­ma, the Demo­c­rat-turned-Inde­pen­dent from Ari­zona, has man­aged to be in the mid­dle of Sen­ate deal­mak­ing on infra­struc­ture and gun safe­ty, while serv­ing as a stub­born obsta­cle to pro­gres­sive reform on oth­er fronts.

She has declared her­self pro-choice and cospon­sored the John Lewis Vot­ing Rights Act, yet stands stead­fast for the fil­i­buster used by Repub­li­cans to block Con­gress from tak­ing action on on vot­ing rights and repro­duc­tive rights.

She has won praise from the Repub­li­can side of the aisle, while one angry pro­gres­sive pro­test­er has gone so far as to fol­low the sen­a­tor into a bathroom.

Sine­ma is being called out by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ruben Gal­lego, D‑Arizona, a pop­u­lar pro­gres­sive from the Phoenix area who has announced that he is run­ning for Sinema’s seat in what promis­es to be a mar­quee Sen­ate race next year.

“Sup­port­ing leg­is­la­tion you know won’t pass as long as the fil­i­buster is in place isn’t just use­less: It’s insult­ing,” Gal­lego said in a state­ment last week.

An even­ly divid­ed Sen­ate has bestowed unusu­al influ­ence on Sen­a­tors Sine­ma and Joe Manchin, D‑West Vir­ginia, both self-described centrists.

Manchin basks in the lime­light and appears on net­works’ Sun­day talk shows, while Sine­ma dodges inter­views and oper­ates backstage.

Last Sep­tem­ber, how­ev­er, Democ­rats watched in dis­may as Sine­ma jour­neyed to the McConnell Cen­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Louisville, and was intro­duced by its name­sake, Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell. The Repub­li­can stal­wart intro­duced and show­ered praise on his first term colleague.

“I’ve only known Kyrsten for four years… but she is, in my view, the most effec­tive first-term sen­a­tor I’ve seen,” said McConnell, in the Sen­ate for thir­ty-eight years. “She is, today, what we have too few of in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, a gen­uine mod­er­ate and dealmaker.”

A not­ed naysay­er, McConnell praised Sinema’s role in the Senate’s accom­plish­ments under ten­u­ous Demo­c­ra­t­ic control.

She was, said Mitch, “right in the mid­dle of, if not the prin­ci­pal leader of the $1.2 tril­lion infra­struc­ture pack­age and first gun reform plan in 28 years.”

Why the praise? McConnell was obvi­ous­ly try­ing to get the “gen­tle­la­dy from Ari­zona” to switch par­ties, and once again make him the Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader. While she has con­tin­ued to cau­cus with the Democ­rats, she has been a Repub­li­can ally on the two vital issues men­tioned above.

A key Repub­li­can goal, dat­ing back to the Rea­gan years, has been to sup­press vot­ing by Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing con­stituen­cies, from African Amer­i­cans to young peo­ple to the work­ing poor. They’ve deployed bar­ri­ers rang­ing from bans on bal­lot drop box­es to pro­hibit­ing stu­dent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards for vot­er ID purposes.

They’ve also ger­ry­man­dered House dis­tricts and leg­isla­tive bound­aries with­in states that they have leg­isla­tive majori­ties in, to the detri­ment of urban voters.

The Repub­li­cans, thanks to McConnell’s con­nivance, packed the Supreme Court. He blocked the con­fir­ma­tion of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s nom­i­nee to suc­ceed deceased U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice Antonin “Nino” Scalia, and pushed through Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion of Jus­tice Amy Comey Bar­rett less than a month before Joe Biden was elect­ed Pres­i­dent. Bar­rett and Neil Gor­such were part of the major­i­ty that hand­ed down Dobbs, which over­turned the land­mark Roe v. Wade decision.

Sine­ma took the stage after McConnell’s glow­ing introduction.

She made no apolo­gies for stands that blocked the John Lewis Vot­ing Rights Act and choice from Sen­ate floor action. In fact, she dissed pro­gres­sive Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­leagues with these words: “Those of you who are par­ents in the room know the best thing you can do for your child is not give them every­thing they want. And that’s impor­tant to the U.S. Sen­ate as well.”

The Ari­zona sen­a­tor made the case for a “slow and delib­er­a­tive” Sen­ate which resists “par­ti­san pres­sure” and keeps the major­i­ty from going “too far.”

In prac­ti­cal terms, that means a six­ty-vote major­i­ty is need­ed to get non-bud­get leg­is­la­tion through the “world’s great­est delib­er­a­tive body.”

Watch C‑SPAN and you’ll see votes on judi­cial and cab­i­net nom­i­nees sub­ject to votes that lim­it debate. The votes are dull com­pared to days when the Senate’s “Sol­id South” had to hold the floor against civ­il rights. Sen­a­tor Strom Thur­mond, R‑Louisiana, holds the record, speak­ing for twen­ty-four hours and eigh­teen min­utes. Sen­a­tor Bar­ry Gold­wa­ter, R‑Arizona, once asked Thur­mond to yield the floor on a pro­ce­dur­al point, so Strom could rush to the bath­room and relieve himself.

In 1934, Louisiana Sen­a­tor Huey Long spiced up debate with a fif­teen-hour stemwinder, with the King­fish giv­ing out recipes for Cajun cooking.

Recent­ly, how­ev­er, the longest speech has been a dull thir­teen hour stemwinder by Sen­a­tor Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, McConnell’s seatmate.

Sine­ma did work, in tan­dem with Sen­a­tor Tam­my Bald­win, D‑Wisconsin, in round­ing up Sen­ate votes to enshrine fed­er­al recog­ni­tion of same-sex mar­riage. Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas has sug­gest­ed that the Roe v. Wade rever­sal should open the door to “revis­it” the court’s 2015 deci­sion (in Oberge­fell) mak­ing mar­riage equal­i­ty legal across the country.

Not so on repro­duc­tive rights. Said Gal­lego in a state­ment: “If you’re not will­ing to do the only thing that will actu­al­ly pro­tect abor­tion rights at a time when they are under attack, how can you call your­self pro-choice? You’re either pro-choice or pro-fil­i­buster… you can’t be both. Not anymore.”

The 2024 Ari­zona Sen­ate race looks like anoth­er don­ny­brook. Sine­ma has not declared if she is run­ning for reelec­tion, but raised $2.1 mil­lion in the first quar­ter of 2023. She has tapped Repub­li­can sources. A total of $280,000 came from employ­ees of the Black­stone Group, the invest­ment colos­sus, with $196,000 from the Car­lyle Group, which enriched for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush.

She had near­ly $10 mil­lion in the bank at the start of the year. Gal­lego report­ed rais­ing $3.7 mil­lion in the just-com­plet­ed quar­ter, with $2.7 mil­lion cash on hand.

Just one Repub­li­can has declared, Pinal Coun­ty Sher­iff Mark Lamb, an out­spo­ken Trump sup­port­er. The Ari­zona GOP has under­gone con­vul­sions, field­ing a 2022 tick­et of elec­tion deniers, all of whom lost. Defeat­ed guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Kari Lake has refused to acknowl­edge defeat, and is a pos­si­ble Sen­ate nominee.

Sine­ma has been lots of things in her polit­i­cal life: She start­ed as a Green Par­ty activist in 2000, fol­lowed by ser­vice as a Demo­c­rat in the Ari­zona Leg­is­la­ture and House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. She switched her vot­er reg­is­tra­tion to inde­pen­dent last Decem­ber. She has, how­ev­er, kept her com­mit­tee assign­ments and con­tin­ued to cau­cus with the Democ­rats, as mentioned.

She declared her inde­pen­dence in her McConnell Cen­ter speech: “If you don’t fit in in today’s Wash­ing­ton, trust me. They want to kick you out. I’ve nev­er real­ly want­ed to fit in. Not in Wash­ing­ton and not any­where else.”

Friday, April 14th, 2023

VICTORY! Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act heads to Governor Inslee’s desk

One of the most impor­tant gun safe­ty bills of the 2023 Wash­ing­ton State leg­isla­tive ses­sion is head­ed to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk.

SB 5078, the Firearm Indus­try Respon­si­bil­i­ty & Gun Vio­lence Vic­tims’ Access to Jus­tice Act, received a con­cur­rence vote today in the Sen­ate. That means the Sen­ate agreed with the changes that the House made to the bill, com­plet­ing its jour­ney through the bicam­er­al leg­isla­tive process.

The bill will soon be pre­sent­ed to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee, who request­ed it along with Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son and plans to sign it into law.

Prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Jamie Ped­er­sen (D‑43rd Dis­trict: Seat­tle), the bill:

  • Pro­hib­it firearm indus­try mem­bers from know­ing­ly cre­at­ing, main­tain­ing, or con­tribut­ing to a pub­lic nui­sance; and from design­ing, sell­ing, and mar­ket­ing firearm indus­try prod­ucts that pro­mote con­ver­sion of legal prod­ucts into ille­gal prod­ucts, or which tar­get minors or indi­vid­u­als pro­hib­it­ed from pur­chas­ing or pos­sess­ing firearms.
  • Require firearm indus­try mem­bers to estab­lish, imple­ment, and enforce rea­son­able con­trols to pre­vent sale and dis­tri­b­u­tion to cer­tain indi­vid­u­als, pre­vent loss and theft of firearm indus­try prod­ucts, and ensure com­pli­ance with state and fed­er­al law; and to take rea­son­able pre­cau­tions to pre­vent sale or dis­tri­b­u­tion of firearm indus­try prod­ucts to dis­trib­u­tors and retail­ers that have failed to estab­lish and imple­ment rea­son­able controls.
  • Estab­lish that vio­la­tions con­sti­tute a pub­lic nui­sance and are per se action­able under the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act.
  • Autho­rize the Attor­ney Gen­er­al to inves­ti­gate sus­pect­ed vio­la­tions and bring enforce­ment actions against firearm indus­try members.

NPI’s research shows that near­ly three-fifths of like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sup­port the leg­is­la­tion, with near­ly half of the total strong­ly sup­port­ive.

Visualization of NPI's poll finding for the Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s poll find­ing for the Firearm Indus­try Respon­si­bil­i­ty & Gun Vio­lence Vic­tims’ Access to Jus­tice Act (NPI graphic)

“In 2005, Con­gress took unprece­dent­ed action to give gun man­u­fac­tur­ers blan­ket immu­ni­ty for gun vio­lence per­pe­trat­ed as a direct result of their mar­ket­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion of firearms,” Fer­gu­son said.

“Today the Leg­is­la­ture took an impor­tant step to right that wrong and pro­tect Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from gun vio­lence by ensur­ing that the gun indus­try faces real account­abil­i­ty when its irre­spon­si­ble con­duct harms our communities.”

“I’m proud that this year we’ve increased account­abil­i­ty among man­u­fac­tur­ers and deal­ers,” Inslee said. “These busi­ness enti­ties play a cru­cial role in keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties safe from gun vio­lence. Thank you to AG Fer­gu­son, the leg­is­la­tors and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions who helped pass this bill.”

“Busi­ness­es that pro­duce and sell dan­ger­ous prod­ucts have a duty to keep com­mu­ni­ties safe,” Ped­er­sen said.

“SB 5078 will require the firearms indus­try to do its part to reduce and pre­vent gun vio­lence by tight­en­ing up their com­pli­ance with our state laws.”

The roll call to con­cur in the Sen­ate was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5078
Firearm indus­try duties
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the House

Yeas: 26; Nays: 20; Excused: 3

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Cleve­land, Dhin­gra, Frame, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Shew­make, Stan­ford, Trudeau, Valdez, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire)

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Boehnke, Braun, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Gildon, Hawkins, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Mul­let, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Tor­res, Van De Wege, Wag­oner, War­nick, Wil­son (Lyn­da)

Excused: Sen­a­tors Con­way, Muz­za­ll, Wil­son (Jeff)

Two Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors vot­ed no: Mark Mul­let and Kevin Van De Wege.

Anoth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tor, Steve Con­way, was excused.

The rest of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus vot­ed yea. All Repub­li­can sen­a­tors vot­ed no except for Ron Muz­za­ll and Jeff Wil­son, who were excused.

NPI con­grat­u­lates and thanks the Leg­is­la­ture for get­ting this bill passed. It’s anoth­er impor­tant step for­ward for gun safe­ty that will ben­e­fit our state.

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Washington’s DNR teams up with American Forests, City of Seattle to advance tree equity

Wash­ing­ton’s Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources is form­ing a new part­ner­ship with Amer­i­can Forests to advance tree equi­ty and reverse alarm­ing declines in tree canopy in com­mu­ni­ties across the Pacif­ic North­west, Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz and Amer­i­can Forests Pres­i­dent and CEO Jad Daley announced today at a press event with Seat­tle May­or Bruce Harrell.

The part­ner­ship, which will be known as the Wash­ing­ton Tree Equi­ty Col­lab­o­ra­tive, “will engage cities, com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions and stake­hold­ers dur­ing the next three years to build rig­or­ous and inclu­sive urban forestry pro­grams,” the Depart­ment says. It will make use of Amer­i­can Forests’ Tree Equi­ty Score, a tool freely avail­able to the pub­lic that mea­sures tree canopy cov­er in an increas­ing num­ber of cities and towns along socioe­co­nom­ic lines.

Watch the press conference:

Seat­tle is one of the first cities to join the collaborative.

May­or Har­rel­l’s admin­is­tra­tion has tak­en an inter­est in strength­en­ing Seat­tle’s tree pro­tec­tion poli­cies, which are in need of a com­pre­hen­sive update.

NPI’s research has repeat­ed­ly found that Seat­tleites are over­whelm­ing­ly in favor of updat­ing city codes to pre­serve as many mature trees as rea­son­ably pos­si­ble, in addi­tion to plant­i­ng new trees. Since the sum­mer of 2021, we have released three sets of find­ings con­cern­ing Seat­tleites’ views on this topic.

In Sep­tem­ber of 2021, we announced that we had found sup­port for:

  • increas­ing tree plant­i­ng in low income and pre­vi­ous­ly red­lined neigh­bor­hoods with insuf­fi­cient tree canopy to reduce heat island impacts and counter cli­mate damage
  • increas­ing pro­tec­tions for sig­nif­i­cant and excep­tion­al (large) trees
  • adding replace­ment require­ments for sig­nif­i­cant and excep­tion­al tree removal
  • cre­at­ing a city tree plant­i­ng and preser­va­tion fund
  • requir­ing tree care providers (arborists) to meet min­i­mum cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and train­ing and reg­is­ter with the city
  • cre­at­ing a per­mit­ting process for removal of sig­nif­i­cant trees (trees greater than six inch­es in diam­e­ter at four and a half feet high)
  • requir­ing Seat­tle devel­op­ers to max­i­mize the reten­tion of exist­ing trees through­out the plan­ning, devel­op­ment, and con­struc­tion process

In Decem­ber of 2021, we announced that we had found sup­port for:

  • Requir­ing that devel­op­ers com­plete a Tree Sur­vey and Tree Plan pri­or to con­struc­tion per­mits being approved
  • Cre­at­ing a new Seat­tle Depart­ment of Envi­ron­ment and Cli­mate that would include a con­sol­i­dat­ed urban forestry division
  • Give pri­or­i­ty to plant­i­ng native and cli­mate resilient trees
  • Charge devel­op­ers replace­ment fees for trees that they remove and don’t replant, with the amount of the fee cor­re­spond­ing to the size of the removed tree to make up for lost canopy
  • Increase build­ing set­backs to allow larg­er, street-fac­ing trees to be planted
  • Reduce the num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant, non-excep­tion­al trees that can be removed by pri­vate prop­er­ty own­ers from three (3) per year to two (2) in three years
  • Low­er the upper lim­it for excep­tion­al tree pro­tec­tion from thir­ty (30) inch­es in tree diam­e­ter to twen­ty-four (24) inch­es in diameter

Last month, we unveiled yet anoth­er find­ing. We found that two-thirds of Seat­tle vot­ers are con­cerned about tree and canopy loss in their neigh­bor­hood and the city as hous­ing den­si­ty increas­es to meet the city’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Since May­or Har­rel­l’s swear­ing-in, the city has adopt­ed leg­is­la­tion requir­ing tree care providers (arborists) to meet min­i­mum cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and train­ing and reg­is­ter with the city. It sub­se­quent­ly cre­at­ed the posi­tion of city forester in the city’s bud­get. Now it’s work­ing on an update to the city’s tree pro­tec­tion ordi­nance with Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Dan Strauss and the rest of the Council.

What goes into that ordi­nance will be very consequential.

It’s easy to say that trees are impor­tant and to set tree canopy tar­gets. It’s much hard­er to actu­al­ly imple­ment strong poli­cies that pro­tect trees.

For exam­ple, May­or Har­rell has pledged to do the following:

  • Over the next five years, plant 8,000 trees on both pub­lic and pri­vate prop­er­ties; plant 40,000 trees in parks and nat­ur­al areas; and per­form main­te­nance on 40,000 trees.
  • By the end of 2023, imple­ment a pol­i­cy to require three trees to be plant­ed for every healthy, site-appro­pri­ate tree removed from city prop­er­ty. The same pol­i­cy will require two trees to be plant­ed for every tree that dies or is deemed haz­ardous or invasive.
  • By the end of 2024, devel­op a Tree Canopy Equi­ty and Resilience Plan for achiev­ing Seattle’s tree canopy goals.

Sounds good, but the fol­low-through is going to be key.

And, as men­tioned above, it’s not going to be enough to just plant new trees. That won’t be suf­fi­cient to arrest canopy declines. We also need much bet­ter strate­gies for pre­serv­ing mature trees, backed up by poli­cies with teeth.

We need a devel­op­ment cul­ture shift in Seat­tle and in the larg­er region. Trees can­not be viewed as obsta­cles to devel­op­ment — things that are in the way of build­ing a build­ing. Instead, they must be rec­og­nized for what they are — essen­tial neigh­bor­hood assets with tremen­dous val­ue — and treat­ed accordingly.

DNR’s increased empha­sis on urban forestry is a big deal. Com­mis­sion­er Hilary Franz is right­ful­ly proud that the state has more peo­ple and dol­lars com­mit­ted to defend­ing, sus­tain­ing, and grow­ing our urban forests. This is the kind of lead­er­ship we need from our Depart­ment of Nat­ur­al Resources.

Our team was impressed by what we heard from Amer­i­can Forests Pres­i­dent and CEO Jad Daley yes­ter­day too.

Daley made sure dur­ing the press con­fer­ence to acknowl­edge the work of TreeP­AC and Friends of Seat­tle’s Urban Forests, who NPI has repeat­ed­ly part­nered with to study vot­ers’ views on pro­tect­ing trees in the Emer­ald City.

Amer­i­can Forests is bring­ing use­ful and action­able data to the table. This is exact­ly what states like Wash­ing­ton and Seat­tle need to under­stand how we com­pare to oth­er places, espe­cial­ly with respect to equity.

We know that tree canopy loss has­n’t hit every neigh­bor­hood the same. With rich­er, more com­plete data, we can get a bet­ter sense of the inequities that have result­ed from our past deci­sions so we can make bet­ter deci­sions for the future.

Read­ers, we hope you’ll take the time to watch some or all of the press con­fer­ence by play­ing the video above. We think you’ll find it very informative.

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Tim Eyman’s indefensible push polls versus legitimate public opinion research: A primer

Last Fri­day, Wash­ing­ton’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives took up the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s leg­is­la­tion to clean up our bal­lots and remove a bar­ri­er to vot­ing in the Ever­green State by abol­ish­ing what for­mer ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman calls “advi­so­ry votes,” but which are real­ly push polls or anti-tax messages.

The pas­sage of Sen­ate Bill 5082 is an impor­tant vic­to­ry for vot­ing jus­tice that’s sup­port­ed by thou­sands of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, edi­to­r­i­al boards from every cor­ner of the state, and dozens of orga­ni­za­tions that work with voters.

In the imme­di­ate after­math of SB 5082’s approval in the House, Tim Eyman had noth­ing to say — at least not pub­licly. Eyman did not react to the vote on his Face­book page or his mail­ing list or his web­site until Mon­day morn­ing when he shared a meme (specif­i­cal­ly, the Darth Sid­i­ous Unlim­it­ed Pow­er meme) and accused Democ­rats of want­i­ng “unlim­it­ed pow­er,” in line with the meme.

The pas­sage of SB 5082 does­n’t, how­ev­er, give Democ­rats new pow­ers or change Wash­ing­ton’s plan of gov­ern­ment in any way. What it does do is replace the tax­pay­er-fund­ed right wing mes­sag­ing that had been appear­ing on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ bal­lots for years with truth­ful, use­ful fis­cal infor­ma­tion that is always avail­able online and ref­er­enced in the print­ed voter’s pamphlet.

Yes­ter­day, Eyman respond­ed at greater length.

In a reveal­ing rant, he not only crit­i­cized Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors for pass­ing Sen­ate Bill 5082, but offered what he called a “belat­ed defense” of his push polls, in a tac­it acknowl­edg­ment by Eyman that peo­ple increas­ing­ly see them for what they real­ly are: pieces of pro­pa­gan­da that sim­ply do not belong on any­one’s ballot.

Wrote Eyman:

Final­ly, let me offer a belat­ed defense of the word­ing of the short descrip­tion for a Tax Advi­so­ry Vote — it is 100% accurate:

The leg­is­la­ture imposed, with­out a vote of the people, …”

Absolute­ly cor­rect. That’s exact­ly what hap­pened that caused a Tax Advi­so­ry Vote.

” … [iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of tax and descrip­tion of increase] …”

This por­tion is writ­ten by the Attor­ney General.

” … cost­ing (most up-to-date ten-year cost projection)] …”

The cost of the tax increase is deter­mined by the Governor’s bud­get office.

… for gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

Once the mon­ey starts flow­ing in from a tax increase, the Leg­is­la­ture is with­in its pow­er (and 99% of the time does) divert the mon­ey to what­ev­er pet project or pro­grams they want.

Famously/infamously, the vot­ers passed a tobac­co tax increase to fund cer­tain gov­ern­ment pro­grams. But with­in a cou­ple of months, the Leg­is­la­ture declared “an emer­gency” and they and Demo­c­rat Gov­er­nor Gary Locke divert­ed that mon­ey toward oth­er things.

So the word­ing in a Tax Advi­so­ry Vote (” … for gov­ern­ment spend­ing.”) is the only thing the vot­er knows for sure will hap­pen to the mon­ey from a tax increase.

This isn’t “loaded” lan­guage — its word­ing reflects exact­ly how tax increas­es and Olympia works.

To our team’s knowl­edge, this is the first time that Tim Eyman has devot­ed this many words to a defense of the word­ing of his push polls, at least in one of his email mis­sives. It fig­ures that he would claim the word­ing is “100% accu­rate,” but it’s inter­est­ing that he felt the need to elab­o­rate and com­ment on each part of the for­mu­la that he cre­at­ed many years ago for these push polls at this juncture.

We pub­lished our first break­down of the word­ing of Eyman’s push polls a decade ago. Today, I’m once again going to offer a detailed cri­tique of Eyman’s push polls as well as an expla­na­tion of how legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research is con­duct­ed. I’ll show you why Eyman’s push polls are defec­tive by design and thus inca­pable of serv­ing as mech­a­nisms for feed­back in which peo­ple can express an opinion.

Let’s start with a dis­cus­sion of how pub­lic opin­ion research dif­fers from elec­tions, and define a few terms that will appear repeat­ed­ly lat­er in my analysis.

Elections & public opinion research: Two complementary, different aspects of a functioning democracy

An elec­tion is an event in which the peo­ple make deci­sions about who should rep­re­sent them or what laws their soci­ety should have (or both). The bal­lot is the mech­a­nism by which the qual­i­fied elec­tors of the soci­ety record their votes. It is the way in which a vot­er par­tic­i­pates in the elec­tion, in oth­er words.

Our team at NPI con­sid­ers the bal­lot a sacred space. Our research strong­ly sug­gests Wash­ing­to­ni­ans of all dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions share this view.

Research by polit­i­cal sci­en­tists has found that the design, con­tents, and com­plex­i­ty of a bal­lot are of great impor­tance. Unnec­es­sar­i­ly com­plex bal­lots can lead to unwant­ed con­se­quences, as Patrick Schoettmer, a Seat­tle Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor, has explained to the Leg­is­la­ture in tes­ti­mo­ny for our legislation:

“We find that when bal­lots are unnec­es­sar­i­ly com­plex, that dis­cour­ages par­tic­i­pa­tion. Bowler, Dono­van, & Happ find that bal­lot com­plex­i­ty increas­es infor­ma­tion­al costs, which increas­es vot­er fatigue. Fatigue has lots of con­se­quences, includ­ing roll-off (which means vot­ers stop vot­ing on issues) inat­ten­tion (vot­ers engage ran­dom­ly instead of delib­er­ate­ly) and dropout (they decide not to vote at all).”

— Elec­tion admin­is­tra­tion researcher Patrick L. Schoettmer, PhD, of Seat­tle Uni­ver­si­ty, tes­ti­fy­ing in sup­port of Sen­ate Bill 5182 on Jan­u­ary 20th, 2021

Putting any­thing on the bal­lot that is not a can­di­date elec­tion or a real bal­lot mea­sure is a vio­la­tion of a sacred space. It can lead to con­fu­sion and cyn­i­cism and hin­der vot­ing. That is why legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research is not done through the bal­lot, but sep­a­rate­ly, through sur­vey instru­ments. The bal­lot just isn’t an appro­pri­ate place for polling, adver­tis­ing, or cam­paign-style messaging.

The goal of legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research is to find out what peo­ple think about a top­ic. The top­ic could be an issue, a cur­rent event, or some­body’s idea, or… an upcom­ing elec­tion! Cred­i­ble elec­toral polling is espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar and inter­est­ing to many peo­ple because it pro­vides data to help peo­ple dis­cern which poten­tial out­comes could be more prob­a­ble than others.

Legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research also helps elect­ed offi­cials take the pulse of the peo­ple in between elec­tions. Elect­ed offi­cials can be more respon­sive to their con­stituents’ needs and wish­es if they have access to cred­i­ble polling.

The key to legitimate public opinion research: Neutral questions asked of representative samples

It’s pos­si­ble to attempt to sur­vey an entire uni­verse of peo­ple (like the adult pop­u­la­tion or qual­i­fied elec­tors of a giv­en juris­dic­tion), but it’s expen­sive, which is why pret­ty much every firm that does pub­lic opin­ion research relies on samples.

For a poll to return sound data, the respon­dents in the sam­ple must col­lec­tive­ly be a rep­re­sen­ta­tive group. They must look like the uni­verse they’re from, in oth­er words. And the ques­tions the respon­dents are asked must be neu­tral­ly word­ed. Ask­ing loaded ques­tions or fail­ing to recruit a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple will skew the results of the sur­vey instru­ment, yield­ing worth­less data.

Any­one or any orga­ni­za­tion that’s gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed in what peo­ple think can car­ry out legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research. It isn’t nec­es­sary for the com­mis­sion­ing enti­ty to be “non­par­ti­san” — sub­jec­tive orga­ni­za­tions such as NPI are per­fect­ly capa­ble of under­tak­ing objec­tive research, and do so regularly.

NPI is a leader in pub­lic opin­ion research in the Pacif­ic North­west, with a strong track record of excel­lence in polling that dates back a decade.

Neutrality is nonnegotiable

Neu­tral­i­ty in ques­tion word­ing is not a lux­u­ry, it’s a necessity.

You can’t find out what peo­ple think if you’ve told them what to think first. This is a mantra that the NPI staff and I have been repeat­ing to Repub­li­can law­mak­ers, right wing media com­men­ta­tors, and Tim Eyman fans a lot recently.

It is telling that in their attempts to amend our leg­is­la­tion to keep Eyman’s push polls, Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors did not pro­pose replace­ment word­ing that would remote­ly qual­i­fy as neu­tral. The fur­thest that Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors want­ed to go was engag­ing in a lit­tle bit of tin­ker­ing around the edges.

How­ev­er, when some­thing is defec­tive by design, tin­ker­ing is not a solution.

If neutrality is lacking, a poll can easily become a push poll

Push polls got their name because they attempt to influ­ence pub­lic opin­ion rather than mea­sur­ing it. They look like polls, yet they are not legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research sur­veys. They improp­er­ly push peo­ple towards a cer­tain point of view, fre­quent­ly with mis­in­for­ma­tion or dis­in­for­ma­tion. William Safire char­ac­ter­izes them in his indis­pens­able Polit­i­cal Dic­tio­nary as a form of dirty trick:

A push poll is a nefar­i­ous tele­mar­ket­ing tech­nique designed to spread neg­a­tive infor­ma­tion about an oppo­si­tion can­di­date. Dur­ing the South Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry of 2000, a caller from the George W. Bush cam­paign asked 300 poten­tial voters:

John McCain calls the cam­paign finance sys­tem cor­rupt, but as chair­man of the Sen­ate Com­merce Com­mit­tee, he rais­es mon­ey and trav­els on the pri­vate jets of cor­po­ra­tions with leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als before his com­mit­tee. In view of this, are you much more like­ly to vote for him… or much more like­ly to vote against him? 

A push poll is not a legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion sur­vey because its pur­pose is not to obtain an opin­ion but to influ­ence it, which qual­i­fies the device as a dirty trick.

— From the Dirty Tricks entry of Safire’s Polit­i­cal Dic­tio­nary, 2008 edi­tion (Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press | New York, New York)

Legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research fol­lows a core set of prin­ci­ples for achiev­ing neu­tral­i­ty, prin­ci­ples that are dis­cussed in David Har­ris’ book The Com­plete Guide To Writ­ing Ques­tion­naires (which is worth a read if you’re inter­est­ed in polling):

  1. First Guide­line: Do not intro­duce ideas or opin­ions that will influ­ence responses.
  2. Sec­ond Guide­line: Make sure that no answer choice is more loaded than any other.
  3. Third Guide­line: Make clear that either a pos­i­tive or a neg­a­tive answer is equal­ly acceptable.

— David F. Har­ris: The Com­plete Guide to Writ­ing Ques­tion­naires, Chap­ter 9 (I&M Press | Durham, North Carolina)

What Tim Eyman calls “tax advi­so­ry votes” are in real­i­ty push polls, since the ques­tions are pur­pose­ly word­ed to sug­gest their own answers. Even the answer dichoto­my is arranged so as to invite peo­ple to respond in the way Eyman wants.

Let’s take a look at each ele­ment of Eyman’s push poll formula.

Breaking apart Eyman’s push polls

Breaking down Tim Eyman's "advisory votes"

Break­ing down Tim Eyman’s “advi­so­ry votes”: A slide from NPI’s deck explain­ing why push polls don’t belong on our ballots

Above, I’ve includ­ed a slide from the deck we first made back in 2019 to make the case for our bill. This deck made a big impres­sion on the State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate: all three of the com­mit­tee’s Repub­li­can mem­bers vot­ed for the bil­l’s 2019 ver­sion after hear­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, which just goes to show that there are some Repub­li­cans who get it. 

The first ele­ment is the open­ing phrase:

“The leg­is­la­ture imposed, with­out a vote of the people…”

Eyman char­ac­ter­izes this as “absolute­ly cor­rect.” But it’s not enough for a ques­tion to con­tain word­ing that is cor­rect. The word­ing must also be neu­tral.

If I say, “Tim Eyman, the admit­ted chair thief…,” I am mak­ing an “absolute­ly cor­rect” state­ment: Eyman plead­ed guilty to a mis­de­meanor after he stole an office chair from the Lacey Office Depot in 2019. It’s a fact.

But it’s also prejudicial.

Prej­u­di­cial state­ments are fine in com­men­tary, like this blog post, but not in offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tions of leg­is­la­tion shown to vot­ers on a bal­lot, and not in sur­vey ques­tions unless bal­anced out by a coun­ter­vail­ing view­point for neutrality.

The state­ment “The leg­is­la­ture imposed, with­out a vote of the peo­ple” invokes an anti-rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cy frame, which is total­ly inappropriate.

It’s actu­al­ly the Leg­is­la­ture’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to make deci­sions on the peo­ple’s behalf. It’s what we elect our rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors to do.

The peo­ple have reserved to them­selves the right of ini­tia­tive and ref­er­en­dum (the lat­ter being a right Eyman con­tends has been sab­o­taged through the use of the emer­gency clause) but the Leg­is­la­ture remains pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for leg­is­lat­ing. It is nor­mal for bud­gets to be approved with­out a vote of the peo­ple and it is nor­mal for rev­enue to be raised with­out a vote of the people.

Tim Eyman hap­pens to dis­like tax­es as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­ra­cy, so when the Leg­is­la­ture votes to raise rev­enue, he gets very, very upset. It’s like a dou­ble wham­my for him. So that’s why this word­ing is part of his push poll for­mu­la. It is a delib­er­ate choice. Eyman is try­ing to acti­vate his fram­ing in vot­ers’ heads, rather than giv­ing them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to “express their opinion.”

The sec­ond ele­ment is a fill-in-the-blank:

” … [iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of tax and descrip­tion of increase] …”

This part has to be sup­plied by the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office.

The third ele­ment is a ten year cost estimate:

” … cost­ing (most up-to-date ten-year cost projection)] …”

This is extreme­ly misleading.

Eyman states: “The cost of the tax increase is deter­mined by the Gov­er­nor’s bud­get office,” mean­ing, the Office of Finan­cial Management.

But he fails to admit that the ten-year peri­od was dic­tat­ed by him to make the num­bers big­ger. It’s an exam­ple of decep­tion through manip­u­lat­ed sta­tis­tics: Any­thing sounds more impres­sive when you take it out over ten years.

Eyman knows that gov­ern­ments don’t bud­get in decade-long incre­ments and rev­enue fore­casts decline in accu­ra­cy and use­ful­ness beyond a cou­ple of bien­ni­ums. It is dif­fi­cult to know what even the short-term future holds.

Eyman likes to bring up that many tax increas­es are indef­i­nite or open-end­ed, mean­ing they don’t have an expi­ra­tion date.

How­ev­er, by that log­ic, there could be a twen­ty-year pro­jec­tion or a hun­dred-year one that’s even more use­less. Nobody knows what state rev­enue is going to look like in the long term. Rev­enue pro­jec­tions shown to the pub­lic should not devi­ate from accept­ed best prac­tices, but in Eyman’s push polls, they do.

The fourth ele­ment is anoth­er prej­u­di­cial statement:

“… for gov­ern­ment spending.”

When­ev­er the Leg­is­la­ture pass­es a rev­enue increase, it’s always for a rea­son and a pur­pose. Eyman’s push polls delib­er­ate­ly omit what that rea­son and pur­pose is, because he wants to acti­vate a right wing frame about tax­es in vot­ers’ minds.

To jus­ti­fy this, Eyman argues:

“Once the mon­ey starts flow­ing in from a tax increase, the Leg­is­la­ture is with­in its pow­er (and 99% of the time does) divert the mon­ey to what­ev­er pet project or pro­grams they want.… So the word­ing in a Tax Advi­so­ry Vote… is the only thing the vot­er knows for sure will hap­pen to the mon­ey from a tax increase.”

Wrong. When the Leg­is­la­ture rais­es rev­enue, it spec­i­fies where that rev­enue should go by enact­ing a law, and vot­ers deserve to know this infor­ma­tion. With­hold­ing essen­tial details about what a law says and does is unacceptable.

Eyman’s push polls appeared on gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lots after the Leg­is­la­ture had adjourned Sine Die for the year. Changes to rev­enue bills rarely occur in between Sine Die and a gen­er­al elec­tions since the Leg­is­la­ture is out of ses­sion. There was nev­er even a fig­ment of a good excuse for fail­ing to con­nect the dots.

A future Leg­is­la­ture might change the law, but that does­n’t change the fact that the rev­enue was pre­vi­ous­ly raised for a declared rea­son and a pur­pose that was set forth in our body of laws — which is some­thing we can be sure of. Even on occa­sions when ded­i­cat­ed fund­ing is lat­er “divert­ed,” the mon­ey is still ben­e­fit­ing one or more pub­lic goods, and we can see which ones by look­ing at our RCWs.

For exam­ple, here is a law that says where mon­ey in the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust account must go. This is the account that pro­ceeds from our new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy are deposit­ed into. RCW 83.100.230:

Edu­ca­tion lega­cy trust account.
The edu­ca­tion lega­cy trust account is cre­at­ed in the state trea­sury. Mon­ey in the account may be spent only after appro­pri­a­tion. Expen­di­tures from the account may be used only for sup­port of the com­mon schools, and for expand­ing access to high­er edu­ca­tion through fund­ing for new enroll­ments and finan­cial aid, ear­ly learn­ing and child care pro­grams, and oth­er edu­ca­tion­al improve­ment efforts.

The law that cre­at­ed our new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy, Engrossed Sub­sti­tute Sen­ate Bill 5096, was sub­ject­ed to an Eyman push poll in 2021.

The push poll did not explain who would pay the cap­i­tal gains tax, what the ratio­nale for it was, or what the rev­enue would benefit.

This is the lan­guage vot­ers saw:

The leg­is­la­ture imposed, with­out a vote of the peo­ple, a 7% tax on cap­i­tal gains in excess of $250,000, with excep­tions, cost­ing $5,736,000,000 in its first ten years, for gov­ern­ment spending.

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans have gone around crow­ing that most peo­ple vot­ed “Repealed” in response to this Eyman push poll, wav­ing the fig­ures around as if they meant some­thing. For the record, the fig­ures don’t mean any­thing. They’re worth­less. They can­not inform us how Wash­ing­to­ni­ans feel about the cap­i­tal gains tax.

The peo­ple were not asked a neu­tral ques­tion and there­fore were deprived of an oppor­tu­ni­ty to give feed­back to their elect­ed representatives.

Con­trast that with our legit­i­mate pub­lic opin­ion research. 

A few months before vot­ers saw that Eyman push poll, we asked this ques­tion:

QUESTION: Pro­po­nents say that Wash­ing­ton State’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy will raise about $500 mil­lion a year in cru­cial fund­ing for edu­ca­tion in Wash­ing­ton State, includ­ing ear­ly learn­ing and child­care, and will help bal­ance our upside-down tax code by requir­ing the wealth­i­est 8,000 indi­vid­u­als to step up and pay their fair share in dues to our state. Oppo­nents say that the new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy is an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and ille­gal income tax that will hurt job cre­ation and put the state at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage, hurt­ing the whole econ­o­my while fail­ing to address regres­siv­i­ty. Both sides agree that the text of the cap­i­tal gains tax law ful­ly exempts retire­ment accounts, fam­i­ly farms, and all real estate. Hav­ing heard the argu­ments for and against, do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose Washington’s new state cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy?


  • Sup­port: 57% 
    • Strong­ly: 39%
    • Some­what: 18%
  • Oppose: 40%
    • Some­what: 10%
    • Strong­ly: 30%
  • Not sure: 3%

(For method­ol­o­gy infor­ma­tion, please read the post.)

See the dif­fer­ence? Our ques­tion is bal­anced — it pro­vides argu­ments from both sides. In fact, it uti­lizes Rob McKen­na’s argu­ments against the cap­i­tal gains tax pret­ty much word-for-word. It explains who pays and where the mon­ey is going.

Here, respon­dents were giv­en con­text and informed of the clash­ing per­spec­tives. They then had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to give their opin­ion. Had we pushed them to respond one way or anoth­er, we would have deprived them of that opportunity.

There’s one final ele­ment of Eyman’s push polls to break down: the answer dichoto­my. Eyman left this out of his “belat­ed defense,” but I’m going to dis­cuss it. Eyman’s for­mu­la spec­i­fies that vot­ers be giv­en two choices:

[  ] Repealed
[  ] Maintained

The for­mu­la dic­tates that the first choice that must be shown to vot­ers is “Repealed” and the sec­ond is “Main­tained.” That is the inverse of the nor­mal dichoto­my that vot­ers expect, which would be either “Yes” or “Approved” shown first, fol­lowed by “No” or “Reject­ed” shown sec­ond. Eyman flipped the order to encour­age “Repealed” respons­es by vot­ers, and chose a word that isn’t as strong as “Repealed” to be the oth­er choice — “Main­tained.”

Talk about stack­ing the deck!

With a real bal­lot mea­sure, vot­ing Yes or Approved pass­es the law; vot­ing No or Reject­ed defeats it. With Eyman’s push polls, regard­less of how peo­ple respond­ed, the law did­n’t change. “Main­tained” was the only pos­si­ble out­come one hun­dred per­cent of the time and there was no dis­claimer stat­ing this anywhere.

The only clue that Eyman’s push polls were fake ref­er­en­da was in their head­ings, which con­tained the word “advi­so­ry.” How many peo­ple incor­rect­ly inferred from the answer options that the push polls were bind­ing, when they actu­al­ly weren’t?

Eyman’s push polls con­sti­tut­ed fak­ery in the extreme, a con against the voters.

The Eymallot

This is “The Eymal­lot”… the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot from 2019 that was packed to the brim with Tim Eyman push polls plus an Eyman ini­tia­tive and a ref­er­en­dum on an ini­tia­tive to amend an old Eyman ini­tia­tive. If our bill had passed in its first year, none of the twelve push polls would have appeared.

But not any­more, as Eyman said in bold­face in his email. At last, the Eyman push polls are hit­ting the dust­bin once Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee signs Sen­ate Bill 5082.

Eyman’s push poll scheme was also rigid and pre­scrip­tive with respect to what had to go into the voter’s pam­phlet. There were no pro and con state­ments facil­i­tat­ed by the Sec­re­tary of State and valu­able addi­tion­al con­text was not offered there either — only select­ed info that Eyman want­ed peo­ple to see.

That’s a lot of loaded lan­guage, both on the bal­lot and in the pamphlet.

Eyman’s denial of this truth is, as far as I’m con­cerned, an admis­sion of guilt.

Voters win with SB 5082; right wing operatives lose

Judg­ing by a com­men­tary that KTTH pub­lished yes­ter­day from often grumpy talk show host Jason Rantz, Eyman is not the only one who’s upset.

Right wing Repub­li­cans are tak­ing the elim­i­na­tion of Eyman’s push polls pret­ty hard. They’re already out of pow­er in Wash­ing­ton, hav­ing not won a guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion since 1980, a U.S. Sen­ate elec­tion since 1994, a state House leg­isla­tive major­i­ty since 1996, or a a state Sen­ate leg­isla­tive major­i­ty since 2016.

Con­se­quent­ly, they have become increas­ing­ly fond of Eyman’s push polls. These anti-tax ads, dressed up to look like bal­lot mea­sures, were cost­ing them noth­ing since tax­pay­ers have been foot­ing the mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar bill every year.

But now we’ve put an end to this total­ly inap­pro­pri­ate in-kind contribution.

Only one Repub­li­can broke with Eyman and the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty to vote for Sen­ate Bill 5082 in 2023: State Sen­a­tor Brad Hawkins.

How­ev­er, as I men­tioned above, is Hawkins is not the only Repub­li­can in Wash­ing­ton who sup­ports our leg­is­la­tion. He has company!

In our polling, we dis­cov­ered that many Repub­li­can vot­ers favor abol­ish­ing Eyman’s push polls because doing so saves mil­lions of dol­lars and elim­i­nates some­thing that def­i­nite­ly isn’t a core func­tion of government.

Hawkins’ for­mer col­league Hans Zeiger had this to say four years ago when he vot­ed yea on our leg­is­la­tion the first time it came up in the Senate:

Thank you, Mr Pres­i­dent. Ris­ing in sup­port of this bill… and although I add the caveat that there will be prob­a­bly a num­ber of peo­ple on this side of the aisle who oppose the bill.

But I’ll tell you why I sup­port it. Advi­so­ry votes are like polls after the Leg­is­la­ture has tak­en a vote on a tax issue, and here’s why I’m okay with remov­ing these kinds of votes from the bal­lot after we’ve had now over a decade of expe­ri­ence with these kinds of votes.

I get calls every elec­tion from peo­ple who are per­plexed by advi­so­ry votes since they have no effect on the out­come of a tax issue after the Leg­is­la­ture has already acted.

Polls cer­tain­ly have their place in our pol­i­cy process, but I believe that items that show up on the bal­lot should actu­al­ly enable vot­ers to make a dif­fer­ence in the out­come of an issue. It is the ref­er­en­dum and the ini­tia­tive enshrined in our state Con­sti­tu­tion that is the mech­a­nism by which cit­i­zens can uphold or over­turn an act of the Leg­is­la­ture on a tax issue, or any oth­er issue. That is a process that actu­al­ly ful­fills a leg­isla­tive function.

Indeed, the peo­ple of this state are just as much a part of the leg­isla­tive branch as we are. So, I hope that we’ll find new ways for peo­ple to give the Leg­is­la­ture feed­back on any num­ber of issues that we cast votes on by con­tact­ing us directly.

Face to face rela­tion­ships mat­ter great­ly in our demo­c­ra­t­ic process and the main way that I think that we’re going to rebuild trust in this process is by find­ing new ways for cit­i­zens to get per­son­al­ly involved. But for now, I think that… I don’t see that advi­so­ry votes fill that func­tion, and so ask­ing for a yes vote on the bill.

Dis­tin­guished Repub­li­cans like for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Sam Reed are also sup­port­ive. Here are Sec­re­tary Reed’s obser­va­tions from a few years ago:

The issue is about “advi­so­ry votes” on mea­sures with fees or tax increas­es. Since they are non-bind­ing and mean­ing­less, they are a total waste of mon­ey. Fis­cal­ly con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­cans object to such waste­ful spend­ing. It cost hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars for the Sec­re­tary of State’s Office to put those mea­sures on the bal­lot and in the vot­ers’ pam­phlet. They are typ­i­cal grand­stand­ing by Eyman at the tax­pay­ers’ expense.

Not to men­tion the mil­lions of dol­lars coun­ties have incurred in added bal­lot design, print­ing, and tab­u­la­tion costs every year for a decade!

We are deeply appre­cia­tive to these Repub­li­cans for mak­ing our leg­is­la­tion bipar­ti­san. SB 5082 is good for vot­ers and good for democ­ra­cy. We are look­ing for­ward to its addi­tion to the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton lat­er this year.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

With Kevin McCarthy unable to rein in his fascist faction, Republicans in Congress are increasingly battling each other

A notable exam­ple of gal­lows humor came from Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mor­ris Udall when, react­ing to the bloody 1980 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion bat­tle between incum­bent Jim­my Carter and chal­lenger Edward Kennedy, Udall observed: “When we Democ­rats form a fir­ing squad, we form it in a circle.”

“Modall” spoke those words in 1980.

Today, how­ev­er, we have a cir­cu­lar Repub­li­can fir­ing squad. The Grand Old Par­ty can­not come up with any debt ceil­ing strat­e­gy. Its inves­ti­ga­tions are slow off the ground and look­ing at ground­less alle­ga­tions. Its House and Sen­ate cau­cus­es are split on whether the U.S. should con­tin­ue to assist or aban­don Ukraine.

A trio of short­com­ings have been exposed for the Amer­i­can peo­ple to wit­ness. House Speak­er Kevin McCarthy is unable to con­trol a frac­tious cau­cus, in con­trast to Demo­c­ra­t­ic pre­de­ces­sor Nan­cy Pelosi.

In the words of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bren­dan Boyle, D‑Pennsylvania, rank­ing Demo­c­rat on the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee, “Kevin McCarthy promised the sun, moon and stars to get elect­ed Speak­er. Now, he can’t even pro­duce a GOP budget.”

A sec­ond short­com­ing, unfo­cused inves­ti­ga­tions of wack­os’ scan­dal alle­ga­tions, and pur­suit of con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries.. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, grand­stand­ing chair­man of the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, is bring­ing a pan­el to New York next Mon­day to alleged­ly expose how the “pro-crime, anti-vic­tim poli­cies” of Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Attor­ney Alvin Bragg “led to an increase in vio­lent crime.” The truth is, vio­lent crime in the city is down. The hear­ing is obvi­ous ret­ri­bu­tion for Bragg bring­ing crim­i­nal charges against Trump.

The third short­com­ing has an angle in this Washington.

A big chunk of the House Repub­li­can Cau­cus sim­ply despise all gov­ern­ment. They are not wor­ried, in Sen­a­tor Mitt Romney’s words, “if we have a col­lapse of the Unit­ed States and world economies with­out rais­ing the debt ceil­ing.” They are being egged on by right wing media, notably Fox and talk radio.

The U.S. Export Import Bank guar­an­tees bor­row­ing by for­eign coun­tries that pur­chase U.S. prod­ucts. It anchors Boeing’s jet sales abroad. Eight years ago, the bank’s autho­riza­tion was due to run out. The far-right chair­man of the House Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee refused to hold a hear­ing or move reau­tho­riza­tion leg­is­la­tion. The bipar­ti­san duo of U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dave Reichert and Den­ny Heck, and oth­ers, had to resort to a dis­charge peti­tion, signed by a major­i­ty of House mem­bers, to force the leg­is­la­tion to the floor. It passed easily.

“House Repub­li­cans are keep­ing their com­mit­ment to Amer­i­cans,” Speak­er McCarthy declared in a pompous tweet on Monday.

Only when it comes to keep­ing the coun­try polar­ized and hold­ing up the Nielsen rat­ings of those who sac­ri­fice the truth for profit.

Which brings us to a third short­com­ing, a pan­der­ing to extremists.

House Speak­er John Boehn­er, a man of far greater abil­i­ty than McCarthy, could not con­trol his cau­cus. The Repub­li­can cau­cus today has a high­er quo­tient of ultra MAGA neo­fas­cists and increased fear of being “pri­maried” by a chal­lenger. The result, as seen in McCarthy’s behav­ior, is def­er­ence to extrem­ism, fear­mon­ger­ing, firearm fetishiz­ing, more timid­i­ty and Don­ald Trump.

This is cou­pled with kow­tow­ing to right wing media, which has rede­fined domes­tic pol­i­tics as war. I get news from the “Kari Lake War Room” as it asks for mon­ey and claims the Ari­zona governor’s office was stolen. Jim Jor­dan and Newt Gin­grich are almost dai­ly war­riors on Rupert Mur­doch’s FNC. A prod­uct of war is fear… fear to act. In the words of Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Boyle, “Repub­li­cans took rais­ing the debt lim­it hostage and yet have no idea what ran­som they want for it.”

It’s because McCarthy and com­pa­ny fear their own fol­low­ers and inter­est groups. No won­der, for instance, that almost the entire Repub­li­can cau­cus in Washington’s Leg­is­la­ture vot­ed against tighter vac­cine require­ments for school children.

The coun­try has expe­ri­enced more than one hun­dred mul­ti­ple shoot­ings already this year. Polls show about six­ty per­cent of Amer­i­cans in favor of a ban on semi-auto­mat­ic rifles, such as the AR-15 used in Ken­tucky and Ten­nessee killings.

Yet, Repub­li­cans in Ten­nessee chose to expel two African-Amer­i­can leg­is­la­tors in their twen­ties just for vocal­ly adver­tis­ing the cause of gun safe­ty on the House floor. A third Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­er, who is white, bare­ly escaped expulsion.

And all of this on top of some more tra­di­tion­al con­gres­sion­al frictions.

Appar­ent­ly, there’s lit­tle love lost between McCarthy and House Major­i­ty Leader Steve Scalise. The House Repub­li­can lead­er­ship tried to block infra­struc­ture leg­is­la­tion backed by Sen­ate Repub­li­can leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has become a dev­il fig­ure to House crazies.

McConnell and most Repub­li­cans in Con­gress have sup­port­ed U.S. arms aid to Ukraine in its resis­tance to Russ­ian aggres­sion. But not Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Matt Gaetz and Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene, egged on by Tuck­er Carl­son on Fox.

It’s a tra­di­tion­al iso­la­tion­ist vs. inter­ven­tion­ist split in the par­ty, under­writ­ten by those who see tele­vi­sion rat­ings in pub­lic acrimony.

Who are the losers? Dead school­child­ren, to start out with. And liv­ing chil­dren who must face con­se­quences of cli­mate change dur­ing their lifetimes.

And investors who will see a stock mar­ket freefall if the coun­try can­not pay its bills. And the poor if America’s already-weak­ened social con­tract is dam­aged fur­ther, as the price of get­ting a high­er debt ceil­ing through Congress.

Kevin McCarthy is being a pan­der bear to the extremes in his par­ty. He is get­ting no respect. Rather, he keeps fac­ing more and more demands from extrem­ists who per­form on tele­vi­sion and treat pol­i­tics as war. They’ve for­got­ten or nev­er learned that the abil­i­ty to gov­ern is the acid test of pol­i­tics — the acid final test.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

It’s Chicago: 2024 Democratic National Convention to be held in the Windy City

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty has cho­sen a host city for its next qua­dren­ni­al meet­ing. Chica­go, the Windy City, will serve as the gath­er­ing place for the 2024 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, which will be held from August 19th-22nd, 2024, about a month after the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion takes place in Milwaukee.

(Typ­i­cal­ly, the par­ty that holds the White House sched­ules its con­ven­tion to fol­low that of the par­ty that is con­tend­ing for the presidency.)

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion is return­ing to the Mid­west, a crit­i­cal Demo­c­ra­t­ic strong­hold: Illi­nois along with Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan, and Min­neso­ta – part of the ‘blue wall’ – were cru­cial to the 2020 vic­to­ry of Pres­i­dent Biden and Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris and to Democ­rats’ suc­cess in the 2022 midterm elec­tions,” the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee said in a statement. 

“Chicago’s con­ven­tion bid was sup­port­ed by a wide range of mid­west­ern Democ­rats who rep­re­sent the diver­si­ty of the par­ty, demon­strat­ing the for­mi­da­ble coali­tion that will help re-elect Pres­i­dent Biden and Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris, and elect Democ­rats up-and-down the tick­et,” the state­ment went on to say.

“The region will show­case Pres­i­dent Biden’s eco­nom­ic agen­da that is rebuild­ing our roads and bridges, unleash­ing a man­u­fac­tur­ing boom, and cre­at­ing good-pay­ing mid­dle-class jobs. Chica­go has already felt the impact of Biden’s [Infra­struc­ture Invest­ment and Jobs Act], includ­ing $144 mil­lion to reha­bil­i­tate the four Illi­nois Inter­na­tion­al Port Calumet Riv­er Bridges, with bil­lions in invest­ments to expand eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty around the region.”

“Chica­go is a great choice to host the 2024 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion,” said Pres­i­dent Joe Biden. “Democ­rats will gath­er to show­case our his­toric progress includ­ing build­ing an econ­o­my from the mid­dle out and bot­tom up, not from the top down. From repair­ing our roads and bridges, to unleash­ing a man­u­fac­tur­ing boom, and cre­at­ing over 12.5 mil­lion new good-pay­ing jobs, we’ve already deliv­ered so much for hard work­ing Amer­i­cans – now it’s time to fin­ish the job.”

The 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee was sup­posed to have been held in near­by Mil­wau­kee, but the par­ty ulti­mate­ly con­vert­ed the con­ven­tion to a most­ly remote for­mat due to the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and the city only end­ed up host­ing a small con­tin­gent of Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­ers and DNC staff.

The last in-per­son con­ven­tion was held in Philadel­phia in 2016. Pre­vi­ous host cities were Char­lotte (2012), Den­ver (2008), Boston (2004), and Los Ange­les (2000). Chica­go last host­ed the 1996 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, at which Bill Clin­ton and Al Gore were renom­i­nat­ed for new four-year terms.

The oth­er can­di­date cities for 2024, New York and Atlanta, had last host­ed the con­ven­tion in the two cycles that pre­ced­ed 1996. New York host­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in 1992, while Atlanta host­ed the par­ty in 1988.

With Mil­wau­kee hav­ing land­ed the RNC, it was not a can­di­date city for the 2024 DNC. Chica­go, how­ev­er, is close to Mil­wau­kee, and the Mil­wau­kee area could ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cal­ly from the con­ven­tion, which will have a large footprint.

“I am thrilled that Democ­rats will take the stage in Chica­go to share our party’s vision and val­ues,” said DNC Chair Jaime Har­ri­son. “The Mid­west reflects Amer­i­ca and will give Democ­rats an oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case some of Pres­i­dent Biden and Vice Pres­i­dent Harris’s most sig­nif­i­cant accom­plish­ments for Amer­i­can fam­i­lies. I’m grate­ful to the lead­er­ship of Chicago’s bid for being great part­ners, as well as to the oth­er cities for putting for­ward such strong bids.”

“Chica­go is a world-class city that looks like Amer­i­ca and demon­strates the val­ues of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty,” said May­or-elect Bran­don John­son of Chica­go, whose vic­to­ry last week gave pro­gres­sives a big elec­toral vic­to­ry at a crit­i­cal time.

“We are unmatched when it comes to host­ing events of this scale. I look for­ward to work­ing close­ly with the DNC to facil­i­tate a spec­tac­u­lar con­ven­tion that show­cas­es Chicago’s diverse cul­ture, our beau­ti­ful lake­front, our renowned hos­pi­tal­i­ty sec­tor, and our best asset: our amaz­ing people.”

John­son’s vic­to­ry could have been a fac­tor in the site selec­tion, the Chica­go Tri­bune report­ed, explain­ing: “After Gov. J.B. Pritzk­er and John­son held a pri­vate meet­ing in the governor’s office on Fri­day, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor said he thought Johnson’s elec­tion as may­or enhanced the city’s appeal to the DNC.”

Atlanta’s bid was report­ed­ly hob­bled by the labor move­men­t’s desire for the DNC to pick a host city that isn’t locat­ed in a state with laws that are hos­tile to work­ers’ pow­er to col­lec­tive­ly bar­gain for bet­ter wages and work­ing conditions.

Geor­gia also has a Leg­is­la­ture and a gov­er­nor hos­tile to LGBTQ+ rights, where­as Illi­nois is a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled state that is LGBTQ+ friendly.

“Chica­go was select­ed at the con­clu­sion of a rig­or­ous site selec­tion process, which was led by DNC Direc­tor of Con­ven­tion Plan­ning Alex Horn­brook and includ­ed a Tech­ni­cal Advi­so­ry Group of vet­er­ans who have worked sev­er­al cycles of con­ven­tions and are experts in the areas of hous­ing, trans­porta­tion, infra­struc­ture, secu­ri­ty, acces­si­bil­i­ty, and are­na and pro­duc­tion logis­tics,” the DNC said. “These experts trav­eled to Atlanta, Chica­go, Hous­ton, and New York. Late last year, the DNC entered into con­tract nego­ti­a­tions with a final set of cities before select­ing Chica­go as the host to the 2024 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Convention.”

The Unit­ed Cen­ter — where the Chica­go Bulls and Chica­go Black­hawks play their home games — will be the prin­ci­pal con­ven­tion venue.

“With a capac­i­ty of near­ly 21,000, the Unit­ed Cen­ter is the largest are­na by capac­i­ty in the NBA, and sec­ond largest are­na by capac­i­ty in the NHL. It also has a seat­ing capac­i­ty of 23,500 for con­certs,” its Wikipedia arti­cle notes.

“Open­ing in 1994, the Unit­ed Cen­ter replaced the Chica­go Sta­di­um, which was locat­ed across the street. The first event held at the are­na was WWF Sum­mer­Slam. Due to the lock­out, the Black­hawks did not move in until Jan­u­ary 1995. In 1996, the Unit­ed Cen­ter host­ed the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, where it first intro­duced a new style four-screen speech prompt­ing sys­tem for speak­ers con­sist­ing of two glass teleprompters, accom­pa­nied by an inset lectern mon­i­tor, and for the first time, a large under-cam­era con­fi­dence monitor.”

Near­ly thir­ty years lat­er, the Windy City’s Unit­ed Cen­ter will once again wel­come Demo­c­ra­t­ic del­e­gates from all over the coun­try as well as thou­sands of media rep­re­sen­ta­tives and many par­ty lead­ers and spe­cial guests.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

Washington State House of Representatives amends and approves police pursuit bill

A bipar­ti­san major­i­ty of the Wash­ing­ton State House has endorsed updates to the law gov­ern­ing police pur­suits, low­er­ing the stan­dard for police offi­cers to insti­gate a chase from prob­a­ble cause to rea­son­able sus­pi­cion while attach­ing a num­ber of new con­di­tions to police depart­ments’ use of that pur­suit authority.

The House con­sid­ered and then made minor changes to a Sen­ate bill that had appeared a month ago to be dead until it was sud­den­ly revived, replaced with new lan­guage, and sud­den­ly vot­ed out with Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can votes.

Sen­ate Bill 5352, prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor John Lovick (D‑44th Dis­trict: Sno­homish Coun­ty), now returns to its cham­ber of ori­gin for a con­cur­rence vote.

As in the Sen­ate, the bill split the Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can cau­cus­es to a sig­nif­i­cant extent and was basi­cal­ly the inverse of a par­ty line vote.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
ESB 5352
Vehic­u­lar pursuits
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the House

Yeas: 57; Nays: 40; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Barnard, Berg, Bergquist, Bronoske, Callan, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cortes, Davis, Dent, Don­aghy, Duerr, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Goehn­er, Good­man, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klick­er, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Low, McClin­tock, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Ramel, Ramos, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Springer, Stearns, Steele, Stonier, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Waters, Wylie, Ybar­ra, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Alvara­do, Barkis, Bate­man, Berry, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chopp, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Doglio, Dye, Enten­man, Fari­var, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Kretz, Macri, May­cum­ber, McEn­tire, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Pol­let, Reed, Robert­son, Rude, San­tos, Slat­ter, Stokes­bary, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ortiz-Self

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 39 Democ­rats vot­ed yea for the bill
  • 19 Democ­rats vot­ed nay against the bill
  • 18 Repub­li­cans vot­ed yea for the bill
  • 21 Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay against the bill
Democ­rats who opposed the bill were:
  1. Emi­ly Alvarado
  2. Jes­si­ca Bateman
  3. Liz Berry
  4. Frank Chopp
  5. Beth Doglio
  6. Debra Enten­man
  7. Darya Fari­var
  8. Mia Gregerson
  9. Nicole Macri
  10. Sharlett Mena
  11. Melanie Mor­gan
  12. Timm Orms­by
  13. Ger­ry Pollet
  14. Julia Reed
  15. Sharon Tomiko Santos
  16. Van­dana Slatter
  17. Chipa­lo Street
  18. Jami­la Taylor
  19. My-Linh Thai
Repub­li­cans who opposed the bill were:
  1. Peter Abbarno
  2. Andrew Barkis
  3. Michelle Caldier
  4. Kel­ly Chambers
  5. Chris Cor­ry
  6. Travis Cou­ture
  7. Mary Dye
  8. Jen­ny Graham
  9. Dan Grif­fey
  10. Paul Har­ris
  11. Spencer Hutchins
  12. Cyn­dy Jacobsen
  13. Joel Kretz
  14. Jacquelin May­cum­ber
  15. Joel McEn­tire
  16. Eric Robert­son
  17. Skyler Rude
  18. Drew Stokes­bary
  19. Mike Volz
  20. Jim Walsh
  21. J.T. Wilcox

There were pro­gres­sive state rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides of the vote, although most pro­gres­sives were nays. Major­i­ty Leader Joe Fitzgib­bon was a yes vote, as was Speak­er Pro Tem Tina Orwall and ris­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic star Tar­ra Simmons.

“The law on vehic­u­lar pur­suits has saved lives — few­er bystanders, offi­cers, pas­sen­gers, and dri­vers are los­ing their lives as a result of hot pur­suits,” said the Wash­ing­ton Coali­tion for Police Account­abil­i­ty in a state­ment sev­er­al hours before the vote. “We hope the Leg­is­la­ture is very care­ful in their con­sid­er­a­tion of whether it should be changed. Because lives are at stake.”

The strik­ing amend­ment from the Com­mu­ni­ty Safe­ty, Jus­tice, & Reen­try Com­mit­tee was described by non­par­ti­san staff as mak­ing the fol­low­ing changes:

EFFECT: Requires a pur­su­ing offi­cer in a juris­dic­tion with few­er than 15, rather than 10, com­mis­sioned offi­cers to request the on-call super­vi­sor be noti­fied of the pur­suit. Pro­vides that the emer­gency vehi­cle oper­a­tor train­ing required for pur­su­ing offi­cers must include train­ing on per­form­ing the risk assess­ment analy­sis of whether a per­son being pur­sued pos­es a seri­ous risk of harm to oth­ers and the safe­ty risks of fail­ing to appre­hend or iden­ti­fy the per­son are con­sid­ered greater than the safe­ty risks of the pursuit.

Assum­ing that these changes are accept­able to a major­i­ty of the Sen­ate, the bill could be sent to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in a few days.

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