All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indict, Try, Punish

Senate Bill 6843 completely eliminates I-960's 2/3's vote requirement, cost projections, Sunshine on legislators' sponsorship and voting records on tax-hiking bills, and other transparency provisions. This excerpt comes from last week's hearing.

"Thank you very much, Madam Chair, members of the committee, I appreciate you calling on me. It's unusual to have one of your colleagues testify on a bill that's not sponsored by them so I'll be breaking away from protocol today.

"Madame Chair, for the record I am Senator Don Benton from the 17th District and I am here to speak in strong opposition to Senate Bill 6843 not only on behalf of my district but also on behalf of all citizens of the state of Washington as well.

"As a person who had a strong involvement in drafting this initiative, especially its sunshine provisions, I must ask you, ladies and gentlemen, what does the phrase “Will of the people” mean to you?

"I know what it means to me.

"What it means to me is that the people of this state have spoken and as their elected representatives we must listen.

"Why do we fear the will of the people in this state so much? Does I-960 make raising taxes more difficult? No question, of course it does. But who ever said that the job of governing should be or is easy? We all know that it is not.

"As one of those who worked hard in developing I-960, I remind this committee that there is much more to 6843 than simply removing the two-thirds vote requirement. And this is a big concern to me.

"I said back in 2007, on the day this initiative as filed, and here is my quote from that day 'Too many of our citizens find the legislative process a mystery. And too often, legislators hear more from the lobbyists and the special interest groups than from average citizens. The sunshine provisions in the Taxpayer Protection Initiative will aim a needed spotlight on Olympia and will provide valuable information in a user-friendly format to my fellow representatives, the public, and the press. They promise increased dialogue between the people and their representatives. I'm proud of my contribution to the drafting of this important initiative and sincerely hope the voters will support it this year.'

"Well, they did support it, Madam Chair, as you well know.

"This bill removes functions and systems that enhance transparency and improve upon the ability for the people to know what we are doing and why we are doing it. Why would the legislature of this state again hide its deliberations? Why does public knowledge frighten so many here?

"Why are we having a hearing on this bill so soon after it was dropped? How is that “transparent?”

"The issue of transparency is not limited to what our government at the federal level is doing. That concept must apply to all levels of government, including ours. Any effort to ignore the expressed will of the people should be given the due process necessary to allow those same people to study this effort and weigh in on our deliberations before we throw this particular baby out with the bath water.

"I implore you, ladies and gentlemen. Do not follow the example that has been recently set at the federal level that has done so very much to alienate the people from their government, causing such widespread dissatisfaction and consternation among the people we govern.

"I would ask this body: do not take this course to again eliminate the people's voice from what we do. To do so is to disenfranchise the hundreds of thousands of people who assigned us this requirement. To do so, in my opinion, is to laugh in the face of a recent, state-wide vote where the people considered all sides of this issue and voted their conscience and their desires for how our government should operate.

"In closing, I like to remind you, my colleagues in the senate, that our judgment does not supersede those we would govern. Thank you for your time."

State Senator Don Benton, in Olympia, 1/3/10

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The Olympia Democrats should listen to Don Benton, and th epeople of Washington State. But the Democrats are no longer about Democracy, but doing what they want. Their response to the people has been, 'screw you, we are going to rule you.' These criminals far exceed the bounds of lawful government.

Indict, Try, Punish.

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-- Joseph Stalin