Hey, Road Killers, Defend the Constitution!

The Road Kill Caucus is a group of conservative Democratic Washington State legislators who regularly vote with Republicans to block progressive legislation, especially on bills involving fiscal matters and the BIAW.

Because of the recession and because of the passage of Tim Eyman’s regressive I-1053, which requires a 2/3 super-majority vote for legislators to raise taxes or eliminate tax exemptions, Washington State is in a dire situation, with multi-billion dollar deficits. Education and social services are being slashed. Yet the rich continue to get richer, and corporations and wealthy individuals enjoy all sorts of taxbreaks and subsidies. (If this is news to you, what rock have you been hiding under?)

Luckily, I-1053 is manifestly unconstitutional, since the State Constitution is clear that a majority of legislators can decide which bills become law and since the state constitution cannot be amended by initiative.

Here’s the immediate problem.

Governor Gregoire has asked the legislature to hold a special session, which will begin on Tuesday, April 26. One bill that will be considered is HB 2078, which would raise revenue by overturning certain taxbreaks for wealthy corporations.  In order for HB 2078 to become law, EITHER (1) 2/3 of representatives and senators will need to approve it (highly unlikely, since 17 senators would have a veto), or (2) the legislature can challenge the constitutionality of I-1053 by voting, via a 50% majority, to approve the bill, thereby inviting a court challenge which is likely to end up in our favor. See How our legislators can overturn I-1053.  And in order for 50% of legislators to agree, the likely opposition of the Road Kill Caucus will need to be overcome.

What’s needed is strong pressure from Democratic activists, advocacy groups, and the People to ask the Road Killers to defend the Constitution and stop helping Tim Eyman drown government in a bathtub.

According to Publicola,

The [Roadkill] group includes: Sens. Steve Hobbs, Brian Hatfield, Derek Kilmer, Chris Marr, Mary Margaret Haugen, and Paull Shin and Reps. Judy Clibborn, Deb Eddy, Chris Hurst, Kelli Linville [retired], Larry Seaquist, and Larry Springer.

Here is their facebook page.   Here are the official legislative webpages  of the Road Kill Caucus members. (Let me know if there are errors or additions.) Let’s all flood their phones and inboxes with messages.

Sen. Steve Hobbs (360) 786-7686 http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/hobbs/
Sen. Derek Kilmer (360) 786-7650 http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/kilmer/
Sen. Brian Hatfield (360) 786-7636 http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/hatfield
Sen. Mary Haugen (360) 786-7618 http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/haugen/
Sen. Paull Shin (425) 673-1393
Rep. Judy Clibborn (360) 786-7926 http://www.leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/Pages/clibborn.aspx
Rep. Christopher Hurst (360) 786-7866
Rep. Deb Eddy (360) 786-7848 http://www.leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/Pages/eddy.aspx
Rep. Larry Seaquist (360) 786-7802
Rep. Larry Springer (360) 786-7822

House Speaker Frank Chopp has a mixed record of supporting progressive causes.  Former 41st LD State Senator Brian Weinstein and former Rep. Brendan Williams have spoken critically of Chopp’s defense of BIAW.  However, I have heard Chopp speak, and from his speech and from what I have read, Chopp is a master of political compromise. I am optimistic that Chopp will support efforts to overturn I-1053.

Stay tuned for action plans.

Even if we don’t succeed our message must be heard!

When religious conservatives, DeLay Republicans, and Teanaggers  took over the GOP, there were ugly fights.  If necessary, that’s what will be needed to turn the Democratic Party into what it used to be in the glory days of FDR. This will require both long term strategic coalition building and education, as well as shorter term tactical moves to win over or defeat enemies of progressive values.


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