People have lost trust in state government and our education system.
UPDATE SINCE THE END OF THE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
The trust remains broken.
Democrats failed to pass any kind of meaningful reform of Washington’s emergency executive powers during the 2022 Legislative Session. After ignoring Republicans’ repeated calls for a return to the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of Washington’s state government, Democrats proposed a do-nothing token bill — Senate Bill 5909. After multiple amendments we offered were defeated, Senate Republicans voted against the bill when it came before the Senate. Why? Because the bill would have maintained the status quo and was “reform” in name only. Although some claimed it would satisfy the need for reform, people quickly realized the bill was pointless.
Still, SB 5909 made it to the floor of the House of Representatives. After a mere 20 – 30 minutes of debate on the bill’s merits, or lack thereof, House leadership withdrew the bill and instead turned its attention to another bill that was a higher priority to them.
Shortly after the abandonment of SB 5909, a member of the House tweeted that it was a Republican filibuster that brought down SB 5909. This showed how little responsibility the majority is willing to take for the restoration of the people’s power. Republican focus on emergency power reform was not an attempt to take over or hinder state government. It’s always been about restoring the voice of the people to the decision-making process.
Unfortunately, the session ended without any emergency power reform and our state of emergency that allows one-person rule continues indefinitely.
“By killing their own do-nothing bill late in the session, and trying to pin that on Republicans, the Democrat leaders confirmed they can’t be trusted to stand up to the governor on the emergency-powers issue. We’ll never know what would have happened if any of the reforms introduced by Republicans had reached the floor of either chamber. All had bipartisan sponsorship, and we might have found enough rank-and-file Democrats to vote with us. The majority’s leaders didn’t risk that.
A KEY PRIORITY FOR THE 2022 LEGISLATIVE SESSION:
“We’re seeing an erosion of the public trust in our education system, the Employment Security Department and the Department of Corrections,” said Senate Republican Floor Leader Shelly Short, R-Addy. “Parents want school choice, but they get accused of undermining public education. They want input in what their children are learning, but they get accused of being terrorists for voicing their concerns. We need more local control of our schools and we need to empower parents to be part of our solutions.”
“Taxpayers were defrauded of hundreds of millions of dollars through the mishandling of funds that were intended to help Washingtonians feed their families and keep a roof over their heads during the shutdowns,” said Senate Republican Whip Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro Wooley. “And we’re still being ruled by an autocratic governor who refuses to relinquish his emergency powers after nearly 700 days. This isn’t how representative government is supposed to work.”
We will fight to:
- Expand local control in education (SB 5601 [Short])
- Protect school choice and parents’ rights (SB 5205 [Schoesler])
- Empower people via The Balance Act: Require all gubernatorial orders issued during a declared state of emergency to be subject to legislative approval after 30 days (SB 5039 [L. Wilson])