Parrish, from Page 24
other) who jumped ship and forced the last-minute Senate adoption of a Republican-sponsored budget that sharply cut social services and education spending (among many other things).
Now, Republicans will have a full session to pick apart Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed budget.
However, the issue is far larger. The biggest impact in Olympia will be Republican control of all the Senate committees that initially hear and pass bills. To see how this will operate, look at the similar situation the modern GOP has left the U. S. Congress in.
Remember the famous “Do-Nothing Congress” of 1947-48, which Harry Truman successfully ridiculed in his upset win for reelection? That Congress held the record for decades for having passed the least amount of legislation ever — until the 2011-12 Congress, which passed fewer than one-fifth as many bills as the Do-Nothings did.
That’s what happens when you have a party controlled by people not only ideologically committed to the abolition of government, but apparently genetically incapable of compromise. At the committee level, that’s who will run the state Senate this year.
Want tougher laws on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines? A lot of people do, after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. But the Senate Law and Justice Committee will now be controlled by Spokane Valley’s Republican Sen. Mike Padden, rated A+ by the National Rifle Association in his reelection bid last fall. The chances of any such bill even getting a hearing in his committee are nil.
Ditto for any bill looking to help those in need (aka “takers”) in a struggling economy or anyone who, like the state Supreme Court, thinks the Legislature needs to do a much better job of supporting public education, or, say, anyone looking to interfere with the coal industry’s God-given right to roast the planet.
Or any of hundreds of other issues.
There will be no compromise between legislative houses, because they won’t even consider remotely similar bills. About all that’s likely to pass this year are the things Olympia legally must pass — like the budget — and that’s going to be a long, ugly battle.
The amazing thing is, nobody voted for this. Voters understood that we could change control of the Senate (or, less likely, the House) by voting in more Republicans in November, and we chose not to do so.
We could have elected a guy widely (and wrongly) perceived as a moderate Republican as our governor, and we didn’t.
Tom is laughably telling his Eastside constituents that he’s helped form a “bipartisan majority,” as if that majority will reflect the will of both parties. He and Sheldon — two people — decided, all on their own, to hand half of the state Legislature over to a pack of radicals. The results will be...interesting.
They should not, however, be confused with anything resembling democracy.
GEOV PARRISH is cofounder of Eat the State! He also reviews news of the week on “Mind Over Matters” on KEXP 90.3 FM. To comment on this column, write to