Saturday, February 24, 2018

SB6617 and the Art of the Legislative Lie: Sen. Jaime Pedersen, Chair of Senate Judiciary

By now, the blowback from the insidious SB 6617, which exempted everything the legislature does from public inspection, has been ferocious and obvious.

As a result, the sheep that have voted for this in many instances are merely cutting and pasting the suggested response to the bipartisan anger (bipartisan for the most part, many local leftist sheep would be OK with the democrats if they re-instituted slavery) that has resulted from this scam produced by one Sen. Jaime Pedersen (D-Seattle) who is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Here is that response in its entirety, jam-packed with lies and half-truths all the way up to its brown eyeballs.  It's full of it, actually.

The author of this crap thinks us stupid.  The pity here is that while many of us were born on a Saturday, we weren't born LAST Saturday, and this clown thinks we were.

This is what's known as a Legislative SNR, or a "Sincere Non-Response."  God Knows while I was up there working for Boldt, *I* wrote enough of them to know one when I see one. 

My comments to each paragraph are boldfaced and italicized.

Thanks for your message and for sharing your concerns regarding ESB 6617, the Legislative Public Records Act. I support ESB 6617 and voted for it this afternoon when it passed the Senate by a vote of 41-7. The House also voted to approve the bill this afternoon by a vote of 83-14. My understanding is that Governor Inslee intends to let the bill go into effect without his signature, so it will become law next week. I apologize in advance for a long response but wanted you to understand my position, since I think that the bill has been widely misunderstood.

(Inslee's actions here show him to be the same kind of coward as the Legislators who passed this shithole.  He should veto it and send them back to the drawing board or he should have the guts to sign it.  His cowardice has been noted before.)

Since the Public Records Act passed in 1972, the legislature has consistently maintained that the legislature is an independent branch of government, not an “agency”. We have therefore made our own rules about what documents are public. The judicial branch also takes the position that it is not subject to the Public Records Act and has adopted its own rules. About a year ago, various media organizations sued, claiming that the Public Records Act should be interpreted to cover the legislature. Just over four weeks ago, a Thurston County superior court judge ruled that although the legislature is not an agency, individual legislators’ offices are agencies and are subject to the Public Records Act.

(What the Legislature has "maintained" is meaningless.  The Legislature has been and frequently is flat out wrong.  And isn't it amazing that as an "independent branch of government," they had zero problem bending us over and raping our wallets for multiple billions of dollars because some OTHER branch of government TOLD them to do so?

Many other Legislatures in our country have maintained a great many things in error.  For example, many democrat-controlled Legislatures maintained slavery was legal. We had to show them the error of their ways.)

This ruling overturns settled law from the last 45 years in this area and produces absurd and unworkable results. For example: I have one full-time staff person. If Judge Lanese’s opinion stood, I would have to appoint my own public records officer; adopt rules for public disclosure in my office through the Washington Administrative Code; and be available at least 30 hours a week year-round for public inspection of records.

(Utter nonsense.  Total lies.

When I was a legislative assistant, we were constantly warned: Anything we wrote, anything we received?  Subject to public disclosure. I went to work up in that Den of Inequity in 95.  Was that 45 years ago?

Here's the thing: had this issue merely involved "constituent privacy," then this bill would have only addressed that.  But it went far beyond that issue and Peterson's lies don't change that.

Even during the interim, when the Legislature isn't in session, he has a full time staffer.  Had this insidious garbage merely addressed the matter of constituent privacy, then issues concerning constituents could easily have been declared non-public record.

Further, like the way these same clowns kowtowed to the Supreme Court on McCleary, they easily could have put together a clearing house for all such requests, precisely like they did (and Petersen acknowledges this since that, in effect, is what they did do ANYWAY) in this legislation anyway for the slop they ARE allowing us to see
. (see below))

So the legislature has done exactly what Attorney General Ferguson said we should do: change the law to clarify how legislative records should be treated. The bill does not merely codify the legislature’s current interpretation of the Public Records Act. It also adds substantial new categories of records (including legislators’ calendars and letters and e-mails from lobbyists) that will be subject to public disclosure. These documents have never been public before. The legislature will also create a new public records office and has funded several positions in the supplemental budget to staff it. I view these changes as a significant step toward transparency.

(Oh.  So we just did what we were told?  SO much for that "independent branch of government garbage; they gave that up when they became an adjunct to the judiciary branch on McCleary.  That a leftist like Sideshow Bob told them it's OK to provide themselves with cover from transparency and they went ahead and did it does nothing.

Providing blanket exemptions for everything before 1 July of this year is no triumph of transparency like this liar would suggest: this is the ABSOLUTE example of peeing on our legs and telling us it's raining.  This is a proof that this scumbag thinks were idiots.

He's feeding us a crap sandwich that doesn't even have any bread, and then he's telling us it's delicious.

As I mentioned above, he's also confirming that they've set up a new office to handle this, PRECISELY like they could have WITHOUT restricting our right to see what the hell these people are doing.)

The bill does continue to protect certain categories of documents, such as constituent correspondence and the location of meetings on our calendars. I think that these exceptions are balanced and appropriate. I receive 10,000-12,000 e-mails each session from constituents. Many are form e-mails from advocacy groups. Should a marketing firm be allowed to do a records request to my office for everyone who has e-mailed me about gun safety? Others share very personal information and seek my help in resolving their problems. These range from government benefit issues to sensitive health information to challenging family situations. If constituents knew that their correspondence could wind up on the front page of the Seattle Times, I believe that it would have a significantly chilling effect on the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances. With respect to the location of meetings, women legislators have shared concerning stories of being stalked. That would obviously be much earlier if anyone could find our locations at particular times well in advance.

(Again, pure garbage.  If the concern was merely constituent correspondence? 

Then pass a specific bill LIMITED to "constituent correspondence."  Include in the bill a requirement that no commercial enterprise be granted such a request.  The "personal information" nonsense is addressed by limiting this wall TO "constituent correspondence."  In regards to "calendars," I'm not interested in protecting female legislators any more than I am in protecting male legislators.

After all, they demand gender equity, don't they?  If they get stalked, they can do what any other victim of stalking does.  This, then excuses nothing.

Or, in the alternative, redact the locations if Peterson is so damned concerned over this non-problem.)

I am very skeptical of the claim that lobbyists will “de-register” to avoid disclosure of their correspondence. Our laws regarding lobbying disclosure are thorough and would pick up people who are making regular contacts with us on behalf of employers. We can monitor this and see whether any significant numbers of lobbyist employers stop paying lobbyists. I am not a betting person, but I would be willing to bet that a year from now there are no fewer lobbyists or lobbyist employers than there are now. Remember also that NONE of these records have been previously disclosable, so although this change may not go as far as some open government advocates want, it is a substantial move toward transparency.

(So, throwing us the lobbyist bone is supposed to be some sort of improvement?  That's supposed to be better than the Judge's Ruling that provided for total transparency?  And how is it that Peterson didn't bother to mention that it doesn't apply to correspondence BEFORE 1 July.  What are they hiding from these same people that came in BEFORE July 1? 

Professional courtesy?  Sharks taking care of sharks?  It's a "substantial move," alright.  A "substantial move" towards covering their asses.)

Another concern I have heard is that ESB 6617 does not permit judicial review. The legislature is a separate branch of government with its own unique issues related to records. The judicial branch made its own rules for what would be disclosable under GR 31 and GR 31.1 and that branch supervises itself. No fees or penalties of any sort are available. The House Executive Rules Committee and the Senate Facilities & Operations Committee are well-positioned to administer this process and handle appeals quickly and efficiently.

(More self-delusion.  If I'm a judge and I want to look at any of this, I'm going to look at it.

But knock off this "separate branch of government" garbage.  After screwing us sideways on McCleary, as if you couldn't have told the Supreme Court to go pound sand, you're no longer a separate branch of anything.  You are, in fact, the Court's bitch.  And my guess is this garbage heap is going to get tossed; or at a minimum, only apply from 1 July forward.)

Some people have suggested that internal complaints should be public as soon as they have been filed. I have been a member of the Legislative Ethics Board for more than 10 years and have seen how people try to abuse that process to gain points in political campaigns. The basic protection that the Ethics Board has created is that complaints do not become public until the Board has made a determination that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of the Ethics in Public Service Act has occurred or has dismissed or otherwise resolved the case. Similarly under ESB 6617, every allegation will result in a final report, once all of the facts have been uncovered. But while the complaint is in process, I believe that it is appropriate to keep the records confidential. I should also note that although the Senate has made these records available previously, the House has not. This is a significant change.

(Fine.  But this is no justification for failing to enable the public to gain access to ALL non-constituent communications.

This is a judgment call, to be sure.  Criminal cases keep information under wraps, though most all of this comes out during the trial.  So tailor the bill to address "constituent communication" AND this issue.

This isn't hard.  It's not Legislative Rocket Science.)

I have also heard concern that the changes to the law will apply only prospectively. ESB 6617 effects a substantial change in the law about what records may become public. It is appropriate to have its effect be prospective only so that people who are communicating with the legislature know what to expect about how their records will be handled. Legislators can also adjust their calendar practices if necessary.

(Of COURSE it's only "going apply only prospectively."  How else can we cover our asses?

The problem?  On the surface, this appears to be a Constitutional violation. Article 1 Section 10 Clause 1
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
Since this bill is "prospective" from July 1 of this year, the argument is that anything up UNTIL that date is still under the Judge's decision and can still be considered a "Public Record" for purposes of the Act.
"It is appropriate to have its effect be prospective only so that people who are communicating with the legislature know what to expect about how their records will be handled."
Let me decode this: "We need the people who own us to know that what they write us in the future will be subject to public examination, but they also have to know that the REST of the corruption they've engaged in is still safe.  We wrote it that way on purpose.")

Finally, I must say that I regret that the bill did not have time to go through the regular committee process. That is driven mostly by the fact that Judge Lanese ruled in the middle of the legislative session and refused to stay his decision. By the time our counsel had drafted the bill and had it ready to introduce, we were already past the time when the bill could have been heard in the regular process. If the ruling had come in October, we could have done this differently. But of course this law – like any other – can be amended at any time and I think it is likely that future legislatures will make revisions to it as we gain more experience with how the new process works.

(That's just another outright lie.

The Legislature has the ability to suspend just about ANY rule.

If the scum behind this had WANTED it to go through the committee process... you know... so they could get public input on this criminality?

They damned sure COULD have done it that way.

The decision to skip committee hearings was driven by one factor and one factor only.  These scum did NOT want public input.  They are covering the asses and by going this route, they didn't need to hear witness after witness testify that they were and are full of crap.

I've seen counsel draft bills in hours.  The Lanese decision took place WEEKS ago.  This doesn't even meet the standard of a LAME excuse.
"...past the time when the bill could have been heard in the regular process...
There are lies, damned lies and THIS lie.

As I pointed out, these people can suspend ANY rule.  They can change ANY agenda.  They can do damned near anything they want.

And that INCLUDES holding hearings on this crap fest.

If the ruling had come last WEDNESDAY, they STILL could have held hearings on this tripe...

... rest assured, there were no hearings because they didn't WANT hearings.)

I strongly encourage you to read the bill’s intent section, which is I think a very crisp and thoughtful statement about why it is appropriate to have a statute crafted specifically for the legislative branch.…/B…/Senate%20Bills/6617.E.pdf

(By all means, read it.  It's as senseless and self-serving as the bill itself.  It justifies nothing and explains nothing that reflects the reality behind this bill.)

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or comments.

(No, Senator, I'm not going to bother.  My guess is your server is already melting down and you are so terribly corrupt and you think us so terribly stupid... what would be the point?  You'd just ignore us anyway.)

Best wishes, Jamie

Senator Jamie Pedersen
43rd Legislative District
Olympia Office
JAC 235
P.O. Box 40643
Olympia, WA 98504-0643
(360) 786-7628
Legislative assistant
Penka Jane Culevski


So, there you have it.

A bunch of self-serving pap from a Legislator who wants to cover his own ass along with that of his colleagues.

This is NOT an exercise in increasing transparency... in fact, it's just the opposite.

It's an effort to build the walls between those arrogant enough to govern us and those they would govern.  It's a dramatic increase in the already horrific lack of accountability these scum are screwing us with.

It's disgusting.  It's despicable.  And it's legislators being legislators.

Leftist apologists will be out in force, to be sure.  No one who voted for this will suffer for it.

Although God Knows, they make US suffer for it.

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