Olympia Conference Call II
On Wednesday several bloggers and several Washington State Republican Representatives gathered by conference call to discuss several issues to be addressed during this year's House session. Rep. Doug Erickson from Ferndale, Rep. Bruce Chandler from Grainger, Rep. Kerry Condata, and John Rothlin were present representing the Republicans, and Jim Walker, Stephan Sharkansky, Jim McCabe, one other blogger (I didn't get his name), and I were representing the blogosphere.
The discussion on Tribal agreements with the state, and expansion of tribal gaming to off-reservation areas was particularly interesting. Presently compacts between the tribes and the governor's office do not have to go through the legislature for final approval. A new bill is proposed to require legislative approval of tribal compacts. With the legislature so heavily stacked with Democrats anyway, it's something of a moot point as they are unlikely to over-ride the Governor's tribal agreements. Still, if it was to pass, it would perhaps allow greater visibility of tribal agreements for the general public.
A good point was made about the apparent hypocracy of the Democrats to outlaw internet gambling, while allowing expansion of tribal gambling. I suggested that it probably had to do with Democratic campaign contributions from tribal groups, and on line gambling being a competition for the tribal gambling. It got kinda quiet for a few seconds, so I suspect I might have been close to the real story on this one.
We discussed campaign financing a bit, and the Governor's suggestion to limit campaign contributions for judicial races so the judges would remain impartial. There was a reference to a quote from Justice Richard Sanders comparing funding for judicial campaigns relative to the cost of the gubernatorial election on a per-vote basis. The quote can be found in a guest editorial authored by Justice Sanders that ran in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
There is also a bill under consideration to require mail in ballots be returned as undeliverable, rather than sent on to the voter's forwarding address. The idea is to stop ballots from one district being sent to voters no longer residing in the district. The down-side that I can see is that voter's who move to another location but are still within their original district will have their ballots delayed, and it will be up to the county auditor to determine their new location, then re-send the ballot. I think I trust the Post Office more that I trust the county auditors. It's already illegal to submit a ballot to a district where you no longer reside, so how about enforcing that? Just a thought.....
At the end of our conference call we were given the opportunity to bring up other bills in the works. I brought up the "Gun Show Loophole" bill, and the "Firearms Safe Storage" bill. The Dem's are pushing really hard for the gun show bill, even though the primary sponsor admits that it will have no effect on crime as criminals don't buy guns at gun shows to start with! SHEEESSSHHHH! What's the name of that reddish-blueish-purplish color again? I think it starts with an "M".........
The safe storage for firearms bill doesn't seem to have quite as much pressure behind it, but the Dem's want to push it through too. Enforcement will be a problem with this bill. I guess the plan is that they can't actually enter your home to see if everything is stored per the reg's, but if they are in your home for some other reason and they find something not stored to their satisfaction, you're busted.
It was an interesting conference call, and I have to admit that I kinda feel sorry for the Republicans in Olympia. Not only are the outnumbered roughly two to one by the Dem's, even some of the "Republicans" are RINOS and side with the Democrats when voting time rolls around.
Since any bill proposed by the Republicans is pretty much doomed anyway, perhaps rather than trying to find a watered down bill to propose that the Dem's MIGHT go along with, how about proposing some heavy duty new stuff, and propose repealing some of the legislation that really needs to go. Of course, you'll still lose (you were going to anyway) but you now have some stuff to bring up in the next election.
It couldn't hurt........