Friday, May 8, 2009

Ensuring success in Washington State Legislative Process: The dilemma of Environmental issues.

Why did E2SSB 5735 die in Senate on the last day of the session? I was thinking about this question after my earlier blog this morning. What I concluded (after 5 seconds and no coffee) was that regardless of my position on the climate bill, we need to build a better mousetrap in terms of determining the position of our legislatures or ensuring that a bill of interest passes. We could just look at the trend of the legislatures past voting on similar bills of the nature in consideration. If the legislature have been pro a similar issue, may be they would support the bill, if not, maybe not. The problem is we cannot be completely certain if this estimation would be true. Other things we could do as concerned citizens, is to heck, send as many emails, telephone calls/messages, snail mails, or what have you until something is done to ensure the success of your concern on the legislative floors.

Our tendency is to become dejected when critical issues of concern in form of a bill are sidetracked as they make their way through the legislative process. When Senators or House members focus their attention on killing a bill, they often fail to understand the merit of the bill. When lawmakers fail to appreciate the merits of a bill, they work themselves up to perfectly understand the demerits of the bill or minor issues surrounding it and then, they go to work: we either defeat the bill or we use session procedural maneuvers to administratively kill the bill. The will of the people is often compromised with this method. Many a politician will never agree that a method or system as this exists, but often they are used by both men and women from both parties representing you and me. When a bill is working its way through the House or Senate, we must all stay engaged, or else we lose the steam that drives it to success. This is an art lobbyist have mastered and its one that the internet and public access TV is offering many voters who are kin on participatory democracy. The failure of many bills is often because interested parties have failed to remain engaged. Being at a certain level of preparedness to stay engaged as the bill goes through the legislative process is one of the tools of democracy that was rearly used before the advent of the internet and the quizzical effort of voters to find out what is happening to deliberations of bills on CSPAN or TVW.

Voters cannot continue to believe that their representatives are aligned with their concerns in the deliberation of most bills on both house floors. Staying engaged is one way that ensures that issues of concern are driven to deliberation and voting in the Houses of Representative and Senate. Being at a proactive level of engagement through all the stages of legislation implies that as voters and concerned citizens of an issue, we are actively being represented. If a bill is never brought to the floor of the house or senate for voting, that indicates the failure of the voter or citizen to stay completely engaged with issue of their interest; and, with the people who could make it happen – their representatives. If voting on a bill fails to take place while moving through the legislative process, it is difficult to conclude whether a particular legislature is in favor or against the bill. From this perspective, we must spend time pushing our concerns through our legislatures as well as the legislative process. We must spend less time remunerating over what might have been, but more on examining the stability of the legislative deliberations and deliberators. This is just the reality.
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