Government Reform

Our current situation: When I started my first term in office, I was appalled to see that all voting decisions are not made, not in open, bi-partisan debate, but in closed, single-party caucuses. And the decision on whether a bill even gets a vote is determined by whether a majority of the majority party wants it. In other words, almost three quarters of the representatives may like a bill, but it may not get a vote because barely a majority of the majority party does not like it. Our families need a legislature that functions more like the state founders intended.

My solution: Because my father was a State Senator in Montana and from asking legislators in other states, I know state governments do not operate this way across the country. In fact, it has not always been this way in Washington State. I will continue to argue that we need more open, transparent debate and less time in single party caucuses. I know even members of my own party will feel uncomfortable with this, but it will produce better legislation.

Our current situation: New rules that allow naked men in women’s locker rooms in Washington State are causing a lot of concern. Problems created by unelected panels are not unusual in Washington State. The Department of Labor and Industries (L & I) is notorious for creating rules that kill small businesses. Like the locker room rules, they are created with virtually no public input. To overturn what a group of unelected bureaucrats created, it often takes 76 elected officials to undo them (50 Representatives, 25 Senators and the Governor). And in the case of the bathroom rules, one Representative who chairs a House committee stopped that all by herself, by refusing to allow a hearing on the subject.

My solution: Regarding the locker room rules, the immediate solution will have to be a citizen’s initiative. For the long term solution, I co-sponsored legislation to provide a legislative check to agency rule-making before the rules go into effect. And I support reforms that would allow hearings and debate on controversial subjects, so we can come up with reasonable legislative solutions.