“Title Only” bills game the system in Olympia

“Title Only” bills game the system in Olympia

What’s in a title?

The legislative session in Olympia is over for now, but not without its passage of some late-night bills about which few knew anything.

How could this be? How could the public process about bills to be passed into law circumvent public review and comment?

The Democrat-controlled everything (House, Senate and Governor) used a trick called the “title-only bill”, which in effect bypasses the State Constitution and leaves the public out in the cold. So much for “representative” government!

According to an article in the Seattle Times, here’s how it works:

“At least a couple of weeks before the end of the session, lawmakers file a bunch of title-only bills on different topics. This year there were about two dozen. Each one has a generic title and one sentence body like, “The legislature intends to enact legislation concerning tax revenue.” Then, if lawmakers decide to rush something through at the end of the session, they can cut that sentence and replace it whatever they want.

At least lawmakers are transparent about their secrecy. They define “title-only bill” in their legislative glossary and post a list of the ones for the session online.”

This little deceitful trick gets around Article 2, Section 36 of the State Constitution requiring that any bill must be introduced at least 10 days before the end of the session. (A 2/3 vote can override that requirement, if needed.)

So what are the Democrats to do, if they can’t get a 2/3 majority? Could we use the word “cheat”? Anything goes to achieve the goals of a predetermined agenda, it seems.

One of the “title-only” bills that saw daylight after passing in the dead of night while taxpayers slept, was HB 2167. It targeted out-of-state banks by nearly doubling the B&O (business and occupation) tax on those with at least $1 billion in profits worldwide.

Some of the other “title only” bills included:

Here are some of the other Title Only bills that were under consideration in Olympia:

HB 2140 (Relating to K-12 education funding) was also introduced as a Title Only bill but was given real text after an April 1 public hearing.

We hear Democrats talk about the importance of “transparency”.  I guess that means only when it suits their purposes.  “Title Only” bills should be banned, in favor of true transparency of submitted bills that become laws and affect all our lives in one way or another.

Let your “representative” know what you think about this system of “gaming” the system – and think long and hard next voting season about whether your representative was involved in this kind of “non-representative” activity.

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