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2022 Shit Show

By March 3, 2022March 11th, 2022Blog

Friends —

We passed yet another short-session hurdle: The deadline where all bills have to be through all their opposite-Chamber’s Committees (otherwise known as February Twenty-Eighth—I mean, who does she think she is? The gall).

Legislators are out-of-pocket, scapegoating short session and elections 😒

The main narrative we’re hearing from lawmakers this session? Life-sustaining and -preserving bills are “too confusing,” “too complicated,” or “too risky” to pass “in a short session” or otherwise while they wring their hands over their looming campaign trail odds.

In so many words, we’ve been routinely told “we’ll do it after this session and elections end.” Infuriating to know where their priorities lie. Both Chambers, the Secretary of State, and the Governor are “controlled” by the Democratic Party (meaning, have majority Dems). We wouldn’t harp on them so much if they didn’t utterly waste their power.

This is the same exact stunt that the nation saw Republicans pull when Obama tried to nominate Merrick Garland. Cool, cool. They’re really Merrick Garland-ing some of this session’s most crucial bills.

But it seems we have $2.4 to $2.5B to hand over to the Department of Corrections; twice the amount of the budgets’ investments into economic security. The DoC even had the audacity to say they agree with ending solitary confinement morally, but can’t because it would apparently require an additional $115M to make enough space and hire even more prison staff if we stop allowing them to put people in solitary and stay there.

Not to mention the police accountability rollbacks that legislators feverishly pushed past every deadline to enact during this short session. All in the name of, what they perceive to be, electability. Yes, SB 5919 and HB 2037 are positioned to become law. No, families pleading with legislators to stop these bills apparently didn’t make a difference. Legislators are too wrapped up in the same public safety and crime sensationalism that conservatives are.

But wait, there’s more. Some genius randomly—no, really, it was overnight—came up with self-proclaimed election-saving ideas (zero polling even involved with these ones) to subsidize this year’s state fair and make 2022 Discovery Passes free. While this sounds cool on its face, it’s a massive logistical nightmare for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and would actively put their underpaid on-the-ground workers in more harm’s way than they already have been during the pandemic. Of course, this was cemented without even consulting DNR. The price tags themselves, which us taxpayers pay, are $30M for free Discovery Passes and $20M for fairs. The park passes alone are literally three times as much as it would’ve cost to put cash in people’s hands through the Guaranteed Basic Income pilot. Subsidizing the state fair (which certainly won’t go toward its workers’ paychecks) is twice as much.

Weird, how these one-off, temporary fixes keep coming up instead of actually solving systemic issues long-term through the bills community bring forward.

Worse yet, after out-of-state Republicans and even Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown (a Democrat) collectively yelled at the legislature for trying to add a tax to our fossil fuel exports, legislators made like jellyfish and lost their spines. No climate crisis here!

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Over 80% of legislators are up for reelection. Apparently that matters more to them than saving lives.

But, hey, at least they support ending legal financial obligations for children?

What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance. Keep up with the action and opportunities to get involved with our legislative newsletter The Tally.