Learn a new skill and support a good bill–it’ll just take a few minutes
The Washington State Legislature is in session and actively considering bills in committees. Committee approval is a necessary step toward bringing a bill to the floor and voting on it.
Did you know that you can usefully register your opinion of a bill—or submit written testimony—or sign up to testify remotely or in person? Like all things governmental it is a little confusing at first, but once learned it’s easy—and it gives you a voice.
Here’s a case in point by way of illustration. HB 2079 – 2023-24 is this year’s numbering for a Washington House bill that a friend of mine, Bob West, has been promoting for years. It is up for committee consideration in the House tomorrow, so the time is ripe to weigh in. The bill concerns the safety of those, like sports referees, helping out in elementary and secondary schools. It would broaden those who are protected against threats of violence or actual violence and increase the penalties. Mr. West’s advocacy for this bill stems from an incident he details in his story pasted below. Read through Bob’s post and then continue below to follow the steps you can use to support a bill that is up for consideration like this one.
My name is Bob West. I was the wrestling referee that was headbutted by a wrestler and knocked unconscious, back in 1996, in Colville, WA. Since that time I have been an advocate at a local and national level in promoting sportsmanship issues and helping get legislation passed that makes those that assault sports officials accountable. I have been to Olympia over the years and have been unsuccessful so far, but have gotten a resolution passed out of the house. I am asking to take a few minutes and click on the link above, register, and please sign up “pro” for this bill. It is imperative that we get as many as possible to show the Safety and Justice Committee that this is a problem, that assaults continue to increase, and that we are losing sports officials to call our games.
I maintain a webpage at www.ur-safe.org (Umpires and Referees Stopping Assaults For Ever) and have authored a book called (Rage on the Field, the Decline of Sportsmanship in Sports Today) www.rageonthefield.com. This link shows the vicious assault I incurred, along with ending my officiating career, and 4 neck surgeries later.
For additional information you can contact your state legislator or reach me at:
Your help is greatly appreciated along with testifying, written testimony, or voting “pro” in support of.
Thank you so much for your immediate attention to this.
Here’s how to register what you think
Click HB 2079 – 2023-24 for an overview. Click Original Bill under “Documents” on that page to see the three page text of the bill. On that same HB 2079 – 2023-24 webpage there a link near the top that looks like this:
Clicking that link will take you to a page “House Committee Sign In” with the Committee, Meeting Date, and the Bill you wish to comment on already selected. You then click how you wish to express yourself from the short list in the next section.
If you’re not prepared to submit a written comment or to sign up to testify (in person or electronically) you can still register your “Pro” or “Con” view of the legislation for the record by simply clicking “I would like my position noted for the legislative record” and filling in your information on the page that appears. I understand that the numbers of people who take the time to weigh in with a simple “Pro” or “Con” really do get considered and can make a difference to whether or not a bill moves forward.
HB 2079 – 2023-24 has bipartisan sponsors. It’s a good bill, but, like so much we wish the legislature would take up, it competes for attention with many bills—and the way the help it move forward is to support it. So if you agree with what Bob’s bill proposes take a few minutes to register your opinion. This is how representative democracy works.
One More Thing—A Ranked Choice Voting Bill
Now reinforce what you just learned by going through the same exercise with HB 2250 – 2023-24, a bill to be heard THIS AFTERNOON in Committee. HB 2250 further opens the door to adopting ranked choice voting by ensuring the Washington Administrative Code provides clear and consistent standards for implementing ranked-choice voting in Washington and streamlines the process for doing so. If you would like more information, here is a link.
If HB 2250 – 2023-24 makes sense to you they way it does to me, click and follow the same process as I outlined above for Bob’s bill to register “Pro” for this one.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. I’ve been told that the method I outlined above for citizens to comment on legislation this conveniently is quite new. At least parts of it have been available only as a result of Covid—one of very few good things that Covid brought any of us. Either way, having this ability to comment without the considerable investment of time, energy, and expense necessary to travel to Olympia to testify is a considerable boon for those of us relatively isolated on the eastern side of the state. Let’s use it!