Democrat legislators seek to restrict citizens’ right to enact or repeal laws by limiting initiatives and referendums to just once every two years.
Shift’s Newsmaker Interview is with Representative Gina Mosbrucker (Goldendale), the Ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee and one of her party’s leaders in attempting to fix the many serious flaws in the Democrats’ 2021 “police reform” bills. The fourth-term legislator, who owns and operates a hotel and performing arts studio in Klickitat County, is leading the effort during the current legislative session to pass bills from the Republicans’ “Safe Washington” package. Representative Mosbrucker describes in our interview her reaction as Democrats hastily wrote and jammed through their reform bills and the negative impact that legislation has had on the public safety of Washington residents. The representative outlines key legislation that is part of “Safe Washington” and what her other priorities are for the 2022 legislative session. (Click to read full Newsmaker Interview)
A new Washington Policy Center report outlines former Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s opposition to the Democrats’ legislation which would severely limit citizen oversight of the legislature through the initiative and referendum process. Yesterday the Daily Briefing reported on the Democrats’ anti-democracy bill (HB 1727) to eliminate state initiatives and referendums during years that end in an odd number. The Democrats’ deceitful public reason for supporting this bill is because voter turnout is often lower in those years than in even-numbered years. The true reason is that during odd-numbered years many liberal voters can’t be bothered to fill out a ballot in the comfort of their home and return it free of postage. Thus more rational ideas are passed and some of the Democrats’ liberal ideas are repealed.
Then-Secretary Wyman testified against a similar bill which died during the 2020 legislative session. The Republican Wyman is so well respected by Democrats that President Biden selected her to head up our nation’s election security system, stated that restricting when initiatives and referendums can be conducted severely limits citizens’ rights and will also result in “voter fatigue” in even-numbered years due to the length of the ballot. The WPC report also notes that while the legislation prohibits citizen measures, it still allows governments to place tax increases on the ballot in odd-numbered years. Thus Democrats are seeking to provide governments with more election rights than the citizens. (Washington Policy Center, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and Secretary Kim Wyman’s 2020 testimony against HB 2529)
Representative Bob McCaslin (R – Spokane Valley) is seeking “to bring a measure of common sense to the governor’s decision to fire WSDOT employees” by introducing legislation to allow former state Department of Transportation workers, who had previously been infected with COVID, to return to work. Senator McCaslin stated that since these individuals already have a high immunity to the virus, they should be allowed to return to work, especially if they are able to prevent another unprecedented closure of all four of Washington’s mountain passes. This is yet another example of a legitimate proposal which is not implemented due to the governor’s refusal to end his 685 days (and counting) of undemocratic one-man rule of the state. Representative McCaslin’s bill (HB 1963) has many Republican co-sponsors and has been sent to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee. We will see if Democrat Committee Chair Representative Eileen Cody (West Seattle) is willing to demonstrate enough independence from her party bosses to allow a public hearing on such common-sense legislation. (House Republican Caucus media release and Washington Legislature Bill Summary)
After literally thousands of citizen complaints, and much of the park being placed off-limits to youth activities due to unsafe conditions, the slow-acting City of Seattle has finally made the large homeless encampment in Upper Woodlawn Park (just south of Green Lake) a “high priority.” This means city officials have been getting together “once a week” to talk about it. (Which leads to the obvious questions, “Why has it taken so long for city officials to begin regularly talking about an encampment which has been a serious neighborhood safety issue for a couple of years?” and “Is talking about the problem once a week enough action to call this a ‘high priority?’”).
City Councilmember Dan Strauss, who regularly ducks accountability and regularly refuses to discuss with the public and the media the multiple large encampments in his Ballard/Fremont/Wallingford/Green Lake council district, stated that “shelter expansion” is necessary for the city to do anything about the problem. Thus the city’s plan to reduce homelessness is based on raising taxes even higher so an even larger city government can purchase and permanently run more public housing.
Councilman Strauss fails to mention, as even the article describes, that many residents of targeted encampments refuse housing (due to prohibitions against substance abuse and illegal activities) and simply move to another encampment within the city. At what point does the city finally use the threat of criminal penalties to encourage people to either obtain help for their addictions and/or mental illness, or move elsewhere? As millions of people who are in recovery well know, “tough love” has been instrumental in ending their misery of addiction. (PubliCola)
The president of the King County Corrections Guild is calling for the immediate shutdown of the King County Jail and a two-week quarantine of all inmates due to the high number of COVID-infected staff members and prisoners. Currently there are 1,383 inmates and just over a third of them have tested positive for COVID. Also 40 staff members have tested positive. A statement from the county’s Office of Adult and Juvenile Detention said it is not possible to close the facility and they will look into improving safety measures (perhaps this should have already been done?). The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said they would consider moving more people into electronic home detention. (Seattle Times)
A two-hour virtual town meeting with local and state elected officials and law enforcement representatives was held by a group of Vancouver area citizens concerned over the recent significant increase in crime. Law enforcement officials stated that the Democrats’ 2021 “police reform” package is a major reason for the continued increase in crime. Since the Democrats’ hastily passed their pro-criminal legislation, car thefts have soared 62% and vehicle prowls have grown 34% in Vancouver. Also, aggravated assaults have increased 26% and rapes by 15%. Officials also stated COVID-related health guidelines have resulted in less available space at local detention facilities and thus more lawbreakers are free to commit more crimes. (Vancouver Columbian)
Journalist Brandi Kruse interviewed Kittitas County officials regarding the Washington State Department of Transportation’s refusal to accept assistance from the county to clear snow from I-90, which forced the mountain pass to remain closed. The reason WSDOT officials gave for their refusal was that Kittitas County workers were not subject to a vaccine mandate. Director of Kittitas County Public Works Mark Cook said it was obvious that WSDOT staff wanted the assistance, but that “it was a management decision” (i.e., the state’s one-man ruler over all things COVID, Governor Inslee). Kittitas County Councilmember Laura Osiadacz said, “It is the policy makers (again, Governor Inslee) that has (sic) created this real tragedy.”
The failure of WSDOT to clear snow from mountain passes, in part due to a reduced workforce after the governor’s unilaterally imposed vaccine mandate to keep your job, forced an unprecedented closure of all four major cross-state highways. Freight was backed up on both sides of the passes, students couldn’t return to colleges, and thousands of other travelers were stranded. ([un]Divided Twitter)
Spokane City officials state that due to previous federal court decisions they are currently unable to remove a homeless encampment on Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) property near I-90 in East Spokane, even though the state has requested it. The city was recently forced to close down its “warming center” at the Spokane Convention Center due to approximately $100,000 in damages caused by previous temporary residents. Thus the city no longer has enough beds available to house those who are currently on WSDOT property, and under federal court rules they are prevented from closing the encampment. Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward and the city council are working to find additional temporary housing. (KREM2 News)
Democrat Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (Burien) has once again created controversy with his use of Twitter. Representative Fitzgibbon first made national headlines in December 2013, when he blasted out a hate-filled and bigoted tweet in which he asserted that Arizona is “a racist wasteland.” This tweet was posted after the Seattle Seahawks lost a game to the Arizona Cardinals, so he was obviously very upset.
Last Tuesday morning (the second day of the 2022 legislative session), the liberal chair of the House Environment and Energy Committee posted a tweet stating his displeasure in having to listen to public testimony during committee meetings. He wrote, “DID YOU KNOW that the single best way for you, a testifier in a #waleg committee, to endear yourself to a #waleg committee chair, is to use less than your allotted time in your testimony?” Instantly, members of the public responded to the tweet by expressing their outrage over Representative Fitzgibbon’s elitist attitudes towards the public’s view on legislation which his party is forcing on Washington residents. (Click to read full Shift Article)
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