Posted by: sweeneyblog | January 21, 2012

Legislative Junkie: Cold Weather, Hot Bills

Note from the Political Junkie: This article was turned in Weds, so the snow has probably melted and one of the undecideds has come out for Marriage equality. No word from Ericksen.

Guest Column: The Legislative Junkie

The light snow that has dusted the capitol this week has slowed down action on the hill. Legislators, staff, and lobbyists are walking and driving delicately, and meetings and hearings are being cancelled or rescheduled all over the place. The legislative calendar waits for no one, however, and so we hurdle forward boldly into the bleak unknown. With the cold weather has come some hot bills, including introduction of the marriage equality bill and hearings on bills to expand medical marijuana and create charter schools. Hearings for bills like this would normally be packed, but the weather is keeping citizens away.

On the marriage equality bill:

If you haven’t been following it, here’s what you need to know: The bill was requested by Governor Gregoire, and has (limited) bipartisan support. It is clear that the bill’s supporters have the votes they need in the House of Representatives. The Senate is another matter (generally, the Senate is where good bills go to die). The fabulous people at The Stranger’s blog “Slog” have a running count of senators who have voiced their support and those who are sitting on the fence. By their count, out of 49 senators, 23 are on the record as supporting marriage equality. Six are fence-sitters*. Twenty-five votes are needed to pass the bill. Where are Bellingham’s senators on the issue? Senator Ranker (D-40) is a co-sponsor of the bill. Senator Ericksen (R-Slytherin) is harder to pin down. Slog has him listed as a no vote, while the Bellingham Herald says he has “no opinion.” If you think that your senator should have an opinion on the single biggest civil rights issue of the moment, you should call him in Olympia at (360) 786-7682 or e-mail him at doug.Ericksen@leg.WA.gov.

* Not a euphemism for gay sex**

** That I’m aware of.

Note from Riley Sweeney: If Doug Ericksen finds it within himself to support marriage equality, I promise that I will never again remind people about his attempts to arrest citizen journalists, or his attacks on working people. I will give him a reprieve. So please, Doug, do the right thing.


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