A "Round Two" victory! —
("Round One" was winning approval in the House, on Tuesday)
Thursday, Feb. 4th – The state Senate Government Operations Committee approved a watered-down version of the Supreme Court Fair Elections bill ( SB 5912 ) late Thursday, Feb. 4th.
This means the bill can now be considered in the Senate Ways & Means Committee – but ONLY if Committee chair Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11th) agrees to add the bill to her committee agenda – by Tuesday, Feb. 9th – or else it dies in the Senate.
ALERT: We need Sen. Prentice to hear from ALL of us! – including WPC supporters in her 11th Legislative District. (contact info below).
In the House, companion bill HB 1738 is similarly "parked" outside the doorstep of the House Ways & Means Committee. It is up to Committee Chair Rep. Kelli Linville (D-42nd) to decide whether to add it to her committee’s agenda – and as of late today, she had not yet agreed. Her committee meets Saturday.
ALERT: We need Rep. Linville to hear from ALL of us, asking that our bill be added to the committee agenda – urgently!! (contact info below).
We want Sen. Prentice and Rep. Linville to decide IMMEDIATELY to add these bills to their committee agendas. February 9th is the "cut-off" date set by the full legislature, for bills to emerge from the fiscal (Ways ‘n Means) committees.
Remember: Bills that are approved by Ways & Means committees by Feb. 9th go the Rules Committees in each (Senate and House). Bills that don’t get heard by then are dead.
More about the Senate action on Thursday, Feb. 4th:
Today was the last day the Senate Government Operations Committee could act – Feb. 5th is cutoff day for them to act, and they had no more meetings after today.
Senator Don Benton (R-17th) had submitted over 15 bill-weakening amendments – perhaps hoping to delay action by running out the clock. But a few minutes before the committee had to adjourn, Sen. Eric Oemig (D-45th), as sponsor of the bill, agreed to accept ALL of Benton’s amendments in one package – thereby leaving time for the Committee to vote on the final bill (even though as weakened with amendments).
They voted, and the result was approval, 4-3. Thus the bill was "exec’d out" – meaning, moved along – to the next legislative "bus stop" – the Ways and Means Committee. It needs some repairs at the next stop, to fix some bad amendments. But … Whew, that was close! It almost died.
We think it was only because of the powerful hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, attended by dozens of WashClean supporters, and the hundreds of calls and emails sent in by supporters – and that we were watching them today as a reminder – that we were victorious today.
This is a victory! But there’s more to do; more race to run.
These Ways and Means Committees have a lot on their plate – understandable.
But our issue and proposal is important, too.
If we want to achieve public financing for state supreme court races – we simply MUST get action on the bills in at least one Ways and Means Committee (House or Senate) – by Tuesday, February 9th!
Our courts are no place for partisan rancor or ideological tugs-of-war. The top court’s function is to apply and uphold the law and the state constitution, period. We want judges, not politicians, on the bench.
This Supreme Court Fair Elections bill (public financing for supreme court campaigns) is reasonable and modest. Details here. It could maintain citizen confidence that the court is not for sale, prevent polarization of the court along partisan or ideology lines, for years to come. We need to do it.
The bill requires no appropriation from the general fund, no tax increase, and this year requires only authorization of a special fund (Judicial Election Reform Act fund), which would collect funds each year from a $3 surcharge on filing and other court fees, and would also be empowered to receive any voluntary contributions.
We know the Senate bill (SB 5912) was watered down in the Gov’t Ops Committee today, so may need some repairs in the Ways and Means Committee. But we can easily do that!
WPC Website documents:
Click here for key documents you can use, download and print, to help in this fight. There is a summary of the bill, a list of bill sponsors (from last year when it was filed), a handout for friends and neighbors, and more.
PLEASE contact your state lawmakers – right away; contact details below. Urge them to support this bill, AND to ask all members of the House Ways & Means Committee to hear this bill, and then to vote it forward – prior to the deadline, Tuesday, February 9th.
Most important to contact are legislative leaders , and chairs of the Ways and Means Committees.
Ask them for an answer: Will they grant a Ways & Means Committee hearing on HB 1738 (House) or SB 5912 (Senate), public financing for supreme court campaigns.
At minimum, Call the Legislative Hotline – 1-800-562-6000 – where operators will help you leave a message for your district lawmakers, and for statewide legislative leaders.
Even better, send emails to these legislators and legislative leaders. Let them know there is widespread citizen support for this bill and for keeping elections in voters’ hands – rather than bought by special-interest campaign cash.
House Ways & Means Committee members:
* denotes co-sponsors of HB 1738 when it was filed in 2009
Kelli Linville, (D-42), Chair , [email protected] – 360-786-7854
Mark Ericks, (D-1st), Vice Chair, [email protected] – 360-786-7900
Pat Sullivan, (D-47th), Vice Chair – [email protected] 360-786-7858
Gary Alexander, (R-20th) – [email protected] 360-786-7990
Barbara Bailey, (R-10th) [email protected] – 360-786-7914
Bruce Dammeier, (R-25th) [email protected] 360-786-7948
Bruce Chandler, (R-15th) [email protected] 360-786-7960
* Eileen Cody, (D-34th), [email protected] 360-786-7978
Steve Conway, (D-29th), [email protected] 360-786-7906
* Jeannie Darneille, (D-27th) [email protected] 360-786-7974
Kathy Haigh, (D-35th), [email protected].gov 360-786-7966
Bill Hinkle, (R-13th), [email protected] 360-786-7808
* Sam Hunt, (D-22nd), [email protected] 360-786-7992
Ross Hunter, (D-48th), [email protected] 360-786-7936
* Ruth Kagi, (D-32nd), [email protected] 360-786-7910
* Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, (D-46th), [email protected] 360-786-7818
Lynn Kessler, (D-24th), [email protected] – 360-786-7904
* Eric Pettigrew, (D-37th), [email protected] 360-786-7838
Skip Priest, (R-30th), [email protected] 360-786-7830
Charles Ross, (R-14th), [email protected] 360-786-7856
Joe Schmick, (R-9th), [email protected] 360-786-7844
Larry Seaquist, (D-26th), [email protected] 360-786-7802
Majority Leader Lisa Brown, [email protected] 360-786-7604
Floor Leader Tracey Eide, [email protected] 360-786-7658
Senate Ways & Means Committee members:
* denotes co-sponsors of SB 5912 when it was filed in 2009
Margarita Prentice, (D-11th), Chair – [email protected] – 360-786- 7616
Karen Fraser, (D-22nd), Vice Chair – [email protected] – 360-786- 7642
Rodney Tom, (D-48th), Vice Chair, Operating Budget – [email protected] – 360-786- 7694
Zarelli, Joseph, (R-18th), (ranking minority member) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7634
Dale Brandland, (R-42nd) – brandland.dale @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7682
Mike Carrell, (R-28th) – carrell.michael @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7654
Darlene Fairley, (D-32nd) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7662
Mike Hewitt, (R-16th) – hewitt.mike @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7630
Steve Hobbs, (D-44th) – hobbs.steve @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7686
Jim Honeyford, (R-15th) – honeyford.jim @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7684
Karen Keiser, (D-33rd) – keiser.karen @leg.wa.gov – 360-786-7664
* Adam Kline, (D-37th) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7688
* Jeanne Kohl-Welles, (D-36th) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7670
* Joe McDermott, (D-34th) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7667
Ed Murray, (D-43rd) – [email protected] – 360-786- 7628
* Eric Oemig, (D-45th) – oemig.eric @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7672
Linda Evans Parlette, (R-12th) – parlette.linda @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7622
Cheryl Pflug, (R-5th) – pflug.cheryl @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7608
* Craig Pridemore, (D-49th) – pridemore.craig @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7696
Debbie Regala, (D-27th) – regala.debbie @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7652
Phil Rockefeller, (D-23rd) – rockefeller.phil @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7644
Mark Schoesler, (R-9th) – schoesler.mark @leg.wa.gov – 360-786- 7620
Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000
Thanks for all you do! We’re making history!