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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: e-mail

Labor council to Democratic leaders: Revive dead bill and vote…

The state labor council is not going quietly, when it comes to a key union prioritiy this year: a bill that would have banned companies from requiring workers to attend meetings to discuss unionization, religion or charitable giving.

The governor and the top two Democratic lawmakers declared the bill dead and called police last week after seeing an email to some lawmakers from a labor council staffer. The note urged union leaders to tell lawmakers that they’d get “not another dime from labor” until the governor signed the bill into law. The state patrol subsequently said the email wasn’t a crime.

Fast forward to today. The labor council is now calling on Gov. Gregoire, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and House Speaker Frank Chopp to revive the dead bill and bring it up for a vote.

From the labor council’s long message, (which I pasted at the “continue reading” link below):

It no longer passes the straight-face test to blame what was clearly an internal email among labor leaders — one that had inadvertently been forwarded, not to you, but to a handful of legislators who already supported the bill — for denying a vote on the Worker Privacy Act.

It is time to take a principled stand.  All we ask is for a fair vote.  If it fails, so be it.  Our elected representatives are adults.  They can explain why they voted “yes” or why they voted “no.”

At this point, maintaining what is already being criticized as a political effort to “shield” legislators from taking a tough vote only exacerbates the embarrassment to the institution of the State Legislature.

It is time for a moment of truth.

What’s really being discussed when public officials are hunched over their laptops?

Great story from the Olympian’s Matt Batcheldor recently, in which he details what council members seem to be doing on their computers during meetings: secretly working out how to vote and mocking a member of the public who showed up to testify.

The paper got the council’s email records for half a dozen meetings over several months. Among the exchanges:

During the Oct. 14 meeting, in an e-mail to (councilman Craig) Ottavelli, (councilman Jeff) Kingsbury made a derisive comment about Gerald Reilly, a member of a citizen’s group that wants to turn much of the area between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet into a park.

“Jerry Reilly can’t even look anyone in the eye. Coward,” Kingsbury wrote.

Asked about that, Kingsbury told the paper that Reilly was a friend and he wouldn’t comment on the e-mail.

The Olympia council also felt the love from the Tacoma News-Tribune, which editorialized:

We may be interlopers from outside Olympia, but the idea that a council could have what amounts to a secret meeting under the cover of an ostensibly legal and public one should be troubling to anyone concerned with ensuring that public business is done in public.



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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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