Bad news for gun-rights advocates hoping President Donald Trump would step in and block Initiative 1639, the new state law restricting sales of semiautomatic rifles and requiring safe storage of firearms at home.
Wasn’t likely to happen, but now it definitely won’t.
Loyal readers may recall that former congressional candidate Jered Bonneau had posted a petition on the White House We The People website seeking online signatures on a request that “our great president and our public servants step in and abolish such laws” as I-1639.
This probably surprised more than a few, considering Bonneau campaigned as someone who was a strong supporter of the Constitution, and nowhere in that founding document is there an enumerated power for a president to reach into a state and rip up a law that was approved by voters. But desperate times call for desperate measures and gun-rights activists like Bonneau, who once sported a Romanian-made AK-47 at a Second Amendment rally in Olympia, may be pretty desperate after I-1639 passed in November and went into law 10 days ago.
The White House petition operation has its standards, however, and one is that to get serious consideration – which may include having someone who passed Constitutional Law 101 to review it – it had to collect 100,000 signatures in a month.
Tough standard, you say? Actually pretty weak when you consider those can come from any of the nation’s 325 million residents (or at least the vast majority of them on the internet) and I-1639 had to get nearly three times that from Washington’s 4.3 million voters.
Oh sure, I-1639 had six months, but it had to get actual signatures on paper.
The petition “timed out” on Thursday with 41,088 signatures and was placed in the White House archives, which sounds like the cyberspace version of the place that crate is sent at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Inslee to run for president? Can’t bet on it
Gov. Jay Inslee has traveled around the country a fair amount in recent months on political missions as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. Some of his stops, like Iowa and New Hampshire, are prompting speculation of a possible White House run.
Republican readers can pause here until they either stop laughing or cursing.
He’s been somewhat coy about such a run, telling Spokesman-Review editors last week that it’s all hypothetical and even though he’s set up a political action committee, it’s just to gauge support; he hasn’t made a decision.
The speculation doesn’t seem to have made much impression on oddsmakers. An online gambling site is taking “bets” on whether 20 people will announce a run by next September. The list includes the usual suspects like Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Oprah, along with some “say whats?” like former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Only Northwest politician on it is Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.
Early bird legislation
Speaking of Inslee peregrinations, one Republican legislator wants to dock his budget for some of the costs of those trips.
Inslee’s travel expenses are covered either by the governor’s association or a political action committee he set up. But a governor’s security, around the Capitol Campus or on the road, is supplied by the Washington State Patrol, which is reporting higher than budgeted overtime expenses for accompanying him on those trips.
Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, took advantage of legislative rules that allow lawmakers to “prefile” bills the month before the session starts to require the governor’s office to cut its budget to cover those costs.
Other prefiled bills so far include such topics as allowing schools to authorize employees to carry guns; clarifying that extreme risk protection orders could be used for minors in danger of hurting themselves or others; banning the killing of wolves by the Department of Fish and Wildlife; forbidding cities and counties from banning certain breeds of dogs; outlawing the raising and slaughtering of horses for meat; ensuring that initiatives use the same format as the legislative bills when showing how they would change a law.
That last one was the subject of a court battle of I-1639 which briefly got the proposal bounced off the ballot.
Prefiling a bill doesn’t necessarily improve its chances for passage, but it can show what’s on the mind of different legislators.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.