[ WEEK IN REVIEW ]
SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION, INTERNET PRIVACY, & TRUMP'CaRE'
Courtesy of Skagit County Democrats
1. Special legislative session begins
Sunday was the last day of the regular legislative session, and the legislature still had not passed a budget or a school funding plan, so they started a special legislative session resulting in another 30 days to get their jobs done.
It's no surprise that they haven't finalized their budget yet - Republicans are refusing to even negotiate with Democrats! Until Republicans are willing to join Democrats in negotiations, there's no way the legislature can get to a budget deal that can pass both the Republican Senate and the Democratic House.
While Republicans aren't ready to negotiate the budget, they did find time this week to hold a hearing about the lawn at the Capitol building - apparently there are too many dandelions on the lawn for the liking of the Republicans:
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said he was "absolutely embarrassed" after a recent walk he took around the campus. "I've never seen weeds in the Capitol lawns worse, a lack of mowing, I've never seen the bulbs planted less properly, mold growing off of our buildings," Schoesler said. "I've never seen this campus look so bad in 25 years."
After that, Republican senator after Republican senator piled on. "In all the years I've been here I've never seen so many dandelions all over," Sen. Mike Padden said. "Is it your policy not to treat dandelions?"
Apparently Senate Republicans think the state of the Capitol lawn is a bigger problem than the legislature's inability to pass a budget or fund our schools. They'd rather complain about dandelions than get to work on the job we pay them to do! (And while they're complaining - let's note that the Legislature cut the budget for the Capitol grounds by 26% during the recession. Maybe they should just stop cutting funding and jobs for the hardworking union members who work for our state and approve the collective bargaining agreements negotiated this year?)
2. Internet Privacy Approved In WA House!
Many of were shocked when Congress passed legislation last month allowing internet service providers to sell our browsing histories to the highest bidder. But here in Washington, Democratic legislators listened to us and got to work.
This week, the House passed HB 2200, a bill that prevents service providers from selling your personal data without your consent or displaying ads based on your personal data without your consent. While Congress may be out of touch with the privacy concerns of Washingtonians, at least Democrats in the legislature are willing to listen.
But despite broad bipartisan support for the bill in the House, Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler may not allow a vote in the Senate on the bill. If the Senate won't vote on the bill, this is just another example of how important it is that we retake our state Senate for Democrats this year.
3. Trumpcare Back?
Democrats blocked a vote once on the Trumpcare proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take health care away from millions, but Republicans haven't stopped working and neither can we. Reports are coming out from Washington D.C. that Republicans are trying to rush a vote to destroy healthcare as soon as possible so that Trump can brag about it as an accomplishment in the first 100 days of his presidency.
Republicans are trying to pull a fast one by masking, in the form of waivers, some of their most egregious efforts to gut the ACA:
- The latest Trumpcare deal still allows Republicans to take away essential health benefits from Americans by allowing the states to waive those protections.
- The latest Trumpcare deal lets insurers jack up premiums for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to waive the ACA's "community rating" provision.
- The latest Trumpcare deal would cause even more Americans to lose coverage than the last Trumpcare bill. Insurance would become so unaffordable for people with pre-existing conditions that it would likely push people off coverage entirely.
- This new deal preserves the AHCA's phase-out the ACA's Medicaid expansion, leaving 14 million fewer people on the program, while also saying nothing of the bill's massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
4. Special Elections Show Democratic Momentum
Voters in Georgia's 6th Congressional District voted this week to send Democrat Jon Ossoff into a June runoff election with strong momentum and a 30 point lead over the Republican he'll be facing. Jon - an investigative journalist who has uncovered wrongdoing by corrupt politicians, organized crime, military contractors, and foreign governments - put up a strong performance in a district that's voted Republican for decades despite being solidly outspent by Republicans, and is well-positioned to win in June.
And in Virginia, Democratic Jacqueline Smith won a critical county local election, beating a Republican who had advantages in name identification, campaigning fundraising, and the underlying district profile.
These local races show the energy and momentum that Democrats have going into the 2017 and 2018 elections. Our base is fired up to fight back and resist the Trump agenda, and we're going to transfer this grassroots energy into victories for Democrats up and down the ballot and across our state.