“Excuse me ma’am” the guy said, tapping my shoulder. “Which Representative are you?” I love anyone who says “ma’am.” So I smiled sweetly and chirped, “Eleanor of Aquitaine.”
The conversation took place in the hallway of the Cherberg Building at the state capitol during a break in this afternoon’s public hearings. On like a bazillion bills winding their way through the legislative process this session. We attended public hearings on labor reform legislation before the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee:
- SB 6410 – Requiring periodic certification elections for labor unions representing public employees. (Guess who testified against during today’s hearings, claiming the legislation is “unnecessary,” “divisive” and “not worth the legislators’ time.”)
- SB 5226 – Protecting public sector workers’ rights through public disclosure of public sector unions’ finances (Guess who’s seeing red on this puppy).
- SB 5552: Accommodating the civil rights of religious objectors to mandatory payments to labor organizations. (The usual suspects screaming bloody murder.)
Also heard some pretty interesting stuff on SB 6087, which proposes a minimum hourly wage hike to $12.00/hour over four years + SB 6578. SEIU and NAACP reps opposed, saying “It’s too little, too late.”
Tip: Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) chairs the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee. You better be quick. You also better know what you’re talking about. You get 90 seconds to make your point. Less if they’re running behind schedule.
Oh, yeah. The Senate Committee on Law & Justice also held a public hearing today on SB 6548, allowing the use of gender-segregated facilities. About 8 million people showed up for that. (Well, okay. Maybe not 8 million. Maybe only 7…)
Not gonna regurgitate the hearings here. If you want that, check out TVW.
Other tip: If you wish to incur an Excedrin moment in record time, attend several hearings on the same day. Especially if one’s on the fifth draft of a bill that was in its third draft a few hours prior. Talk about hitting a moving target.
A couple other updates and small victories that may be of interest, via the Family Policy Institute:
Last week, several bills to repeal the Human Rights Commission’s open-bathroom rule made progress in the Washington Senate.
SB 6548 by Sen. Judy Warnick: Bill clarifies that the Washington Civil Rights Act did not intend to require businesses and schools to open up their bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower facilities based on gender identity or gender expression.
SB 6443 by Sen. Doug Ericksen: Requires full repeal of WAC 162-32-060, and restricts the Human Rights Commission from making further rulings that pertain to bathroom policies.
Update: Passed Senate Commerce and Labor Committee; Hearing in Rules Committee this week.
House Bill Introduced; Hearing Not Scheduled: HB 2589 was introduced, but House Judiciary Chair Rep. Laurie Jinkins continues to decline to give the bill a hearing.*
* = The bill must be heard and passed from the Judiciary Committee by Friday, Feb. 5th in order to stay alive.
There was also that interesting wrinkle regarding commercial recreation fees for access to designated forest land at this afternoon’s GH county commission meeting. Yowza.
Oh, yeah. That “Eleanor of Aquitaine” thing. Don’t worry. Before the hearing re-convened, I clued the nice fella in on the fact that Eleanor passed away awhile back. Like 900 years ago. He seemed to take it in stride.
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.