Haters Gonna Hate: Washington Republicans' 6 hateful billsFebruary 4, 2016
Washington is a proudly progressive state. We were the third state to legalize abortion and the first to do it by a vote of the people. We were also one of the first three states to approve same-sex marriage by a vote of the people. But you wouldn't know our history by the bills Republican legislators are tossing around this session.
Instead of coming together to find solutions, Republicans in our state legislature are focusing on #EverythingButEducation. No distraction is too undignified if it helps them avoid prioritizing Washington's schools. If only the Supreme Court had ordered the legislature to discriminate against LGBT people and pregnant women, then Republicans would be right on track (and not racking up court-mandated fines for the Washington tax payers).
Where is all this hate coming from? Emotional hangover from the Seahawks loss? Retribution for getting picked last for kickball in second grade? We don't get it. Although maybe it's a clue that nearly every sponsor of these bills is a straight white man who brings a lifetime of privilege to the legislature - and won't be affected by the legalized discrimination that they're advocating for.
Addressing the crisis of education that is occurring in Washington schools would be hard. Unfortunately for LGBT people, pregnant women, and other members of our communities, targeting them is easy. And it gets you on the news. Even more unfortunately, the bills that legislators are using to procrastinate on education will cause long-lasting damage to these communities.
Instead of finding solutions for students, here are a few other ideas Republicans are working on.
1. Bathroom discrimination: Sen. Doug Ericksen and the recently-resigned Rep. Graham Hunt have introduced a bill that would discriminate against transgender people and take away their basic right to use the bathroom consistent with the gender they live as and know themselves to be. Here's our idea: close the Senate GOP restroom for "maintenance" for the next few weeks and we'll see how important Ericksen thinks bathroom access is then.
What do you mean the caucus room is out of Haterade??
2. Making abortion illegal: Republican Rep. Elizabeth Scott and her supporters want to be your gynecologist. Instead of just letting you go to your doctor, her cohorts in the House introduced a bill that would eliminate those pesky "choices" that women can make about their own healthcare and take women back to the days of unsafe back alley abortions. Quite the shift away from a belief in small government!
3. An Indiana-like "religious freedom restoration" bill: Remember the furor that erupted over an Indiana law that would have given businesses the right to refuse service to gay people? Republican Rep. Graham Hunt thought it was such a good idea he's introduced it here in Washington. But we get it. If we had just been caught faking military service and building a political career on the backs of actual members of the U.S. Marine Corps, we'd be looking to deflect attention too.
I always come prepared. You never know when it might start raining men.
4. Defund Planned Parenthood: The sleazebags who fabricated those awful Planned Parenthood videos might be going to prison, but that doesn't mean that Republicans have to stop trying to get between Washington women and their health care providers. Republican Rep. David Taylor introduced yet another bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Well done, sir, fantastic use of time. But we think that the women in Washington who trust Planned Parenthood for life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, well-women exams, STD testing, and abortion services might take issue with your proposal.
5. Ban gay pride flags: Education is the pressing issue on residents' minds across the state, but what is Republican Rep. Brad Klippert more worried about? Gay pride flags flying on Washington state ferries. He introduced a bill to ban state ferries from flying anything but state flags because he didn't want them flying the pride flag. Yes, that's what's more important than Washington's schools. Next session, perhaps Rep. Klippert will step it up a notch and just ban rainbows.
At least 26 Washington state ferries sank last year after flying the pride flag.
6. Parental notification: Republican Sen. Mike Padden may not have a medical degree, but he knows better than your doctor. He's definitely not aware of this (since he's not a qualified healthcare provider), but a majority of pregnant teens already talk to their parents when they are seeking an abortion. But for the ones who can't or won't, politicians can't force communication, push kids into the courtroom, or insert themselves into family issues. And many of us would like to keep it that way.