8 Ball In The Wind

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Historic Vote Protest Ignored By Media

For what is believed to be the first time in the modern history of the State of Washington, and entire Caucus refused to even vote on a bill in protest.  After nearly two hours of impassioned debate on the bill SB6199, the Republican Caucus stood firmly together and in protest refused to vote in what was already a foregone conclusion of a defeat that would have made passage of SB6199 seem normal and not at all irregular or out of the ordinary.  The bill passed out of the House due to every Democrat voting yes.  Yet the story of the House Republicans refusing to even vote; something of historic significance, was completely ignored by the media here in Washington State.

During the debate, legislators who mentioned this were gavelled down by the Speaker, and not allowed to continue their comments.  As can be seen by following this URL to the TVW broadcast archive of the floor debate. https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018031006  After a series of amendments by the Republicans were shouted down by voice vote in the House Chamber (beginning at the 14:00 point of the TVW video), it was soon obvious the Democrats were not going to allow anything to block the passing of this bill.  

Why was this bill so extraordinary that it resulted in such an unprecedented action by the Republican Caucus?  Several things in the bill seem rather odd.  Such as giving DSHS to "adopt any rules as it deems necessary to implement the provisions of this act."  Giving DSHS carte blanche to "adopt any rules" that it deems necessary would seem to give DSHS broad power to act independently of the legislature.  It would also set up a "directed employer program".  This program would allow DSHS to contract with an outside third-party entity to act as case managers for the independent providers.  This would be a one-time selection, and then this third-party entity would become the permanent case managing body for the independent providers in Washington.  That body would be a unionized organization requiring its employees, the independent providers, to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  It was strongly held that the SEIU, which is a powerfully influential contributor to the Democratic Party, would be that union.  

The most egregious part of this bill is buried deep within it and would require the Individual Providers (caregivers) to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  That amounts to over $900 per year.  Or roughly one and a half months pay for people, mainly family members caring for relatives, going to union dues with no ability to opt out.  But being forced to pay union dues or fees equal to those union dues.  This bill effectively forces unionization of people caring for their family members or friends.  With little benefit to them for the amount of money they would be having withheld from them.

As a result, the Republicans were left at the end of the debate with little option left except to protest the inevitable passing of this bill by boycotting the vote.  It is believed to be the first time in modern state history that an entire caucus stood together and did not vote on a bill.  Yet the only sort of news report on this was TVW's own Legislative Review program, which showed highly edited bits of the debate. As can be seen by at this URL:  https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018031001 

It seems strange that the media can widely cover the legislatures gun control measures, or the failure of the Carbon Tax, or even the legislature's actions on Atlantic Salmon.  Yet not even a whisper about the passionate debate and political protest against forced unionization and an entire caucus boycotting a vote against a bill that would cost the state tens of millions of dollars annually in perpetuity.  With the majority caucus ignoring "hundreds" of emails and letters from individual independent providers opposing the bill, and only addressing "form letters" in support it brings to mind a question about the true intent of this bill.  One that brought the gavel quickly down on several legislators who attempted to ask the question, or made the remark; was this some form of payback to the SEIU for its support in Democrat campaigns?  A question that while best left to the media, appears to be one they are unwilling to ask.

Catch you on the road sometime...

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