The final tallies on the 2016 Election have barely been counted, and already Republicans in the Washington state legislature are basking in Trump's red riptide with a new laundry list of awful, discriminatory bills. Their focus is supposed to be on finding $3.5 billion to fund K-12 education this budget year, but once again, the Washington state GOP is more interested in protecting their special interest donors and passing #EverythingButEducation. The Republican-controlled state Senate will be wasting time and taxpayer dollars when they bring these bills for a vote in their committees.
Here are the top 5 worst bills being proposed. This serves as a reminder that the fight for a more progressive America starts right here at home in Washington.
1. Conceal carry everwhere. This House bill wants to allow people to carry a loaded weapon onto school grounds, at your local coffee shop, or at a sports stadium. Can you imagine the consequences if some jerk with a gun gets upset about his team losing? Studies show there is no credible evidence that so-called "right to carry" laws reduce crime, but are in fact linked to an INCREASE in aggravated assault1.
2. Bathroom discrimination. This failed repeat from last year 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. This bill is irrational and ridiculous. We all have to pee. Let transgender people pee in peace. And to those Republicans who are arguing that men will start using women's bathrooms-your faux concern for women's safety would be better placed on holding actual male rapists accountable and ensuring rape kits get tested statewide. Transgender people are far more likely to be the victim of an assault in a private bathroom than to commit one.
3. Cutting abortion funding for low-income women. A right without access isn't a right at all. This bill would ensure only wealthy women can obtain abortion in our state, forcing low-income women into sketchy circumstances, including the potential for unsafe self-attempts at abortions. We're not going to let that happen to any woman, regardless of her income.
4. Re-victimizing immigrants who are victims of a crime. Immigrants are a vulnerable population. Many don't speak English, are often separated from family and friends, and may not understand the laws here in the U.S. All people, regardless of immigration or citizen status, are guaranteed basic protections in this country, including from domestic violence. But this law would force victims of a crime to provide proof of citizenship after reporting any abuse or other harm. That sets a dangerous precedent for victims and is un-American.
5. Making Eastern Washington its own state. If conservatives think they'll have it easy steamrolling people's rights and destroying the environment for their own private profit without Western Washington, they can think again. We are united as one state and we will continue the fight to make it a better place to live for all of us-from first generation families in Yakima to the loggers in Long Beach.