While their leaders contemplate how to fix the state’s $2 billion budget problem – or whether to fix the state’s $2 billion budget problem – the rank and file members of the state House and Senate are left to mill about trying to look busy.
It’s not easy. The agenda isn’t exactly jam-packed. And a bunch of House members haven’t had private offices, because a renovation of the O’Brien Building is ongoing. So their lack of work is on public display.
Absent a Gingrichian proposal to have the relatively idle lawmakers pitch in to maintain the Capitol Campus in the face of cuts to maintenance and grounds crews (those leaves could really use raking), it might be time to suggest some activities more in keeping with their stature and expertise.
So how about they pass some bills? There are some who say this special session should do nothing but solve the budget crisis. But given the blistering pace so far, it looks as though they have chosen to do nothing. I say it is better to look busy than to look indifferent so here are some ideas to get them started:
• An act related to red-light cameras and speeding cameras: All cities cashing in on this technology must have a warning sign one half-block away so we at least have a chance to comb our hair.
• An act related to clichés: National sports broadcasts can no longer use B-roll of fish-tossers at Pike Place Market to stereotype the Seattle area. Showing ferries at sunset on Elliot Bay is not yet banned but might be if they overuse it.
• An act related to Nick Holt: No assistant football coach for a state university can make more than the president of any state university.
• An act related to Mike Leach and Steve Sarkisian: No head football coach for a state university can make more than the president of Boeing.
• An act related to abuse of American traditions and general good taste: Grocery stores are the only large retail establishment that can be open on Thanksgiving and they must close by 3 p.m. For the purposes of this law, Thanksgiving is considered to begin at 6 a.m. Thursday and end at 6 a.m. Friday.
• An act related to open government and Quentin Tarantino movies: Tacoma considered using code letters to select finalists for its city manager job but decided not to based on open meeting concerns. This proposed law would require any local governments that want to use this questionable practice in the future to not use numbers or letters to represent the finalists’ real names but instead use aliases a la “Reservoir Dogs” (Mr. White, Mr. Pink, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Brown, Mr. Orange and Mr. Blue).
• An act related to hypocrisy Part I: Hospitals that have emergency rooms and other medical facilities that are glitzier than four-star hotels are not allowed to ever again complain about reimbursements from insurance companies and governments.
• An act related to giving it a rest: Anyone who compares their political issue to the Occupy Wall Street movement must spend a week outside in a park without a tent.
• An act related to the insipid desire to avoid any and all controversy: On the same day the Legislature honors 4A high school football champ Skyline for its victory over Skyview, it should also consider a bill to ban public school districts from naming something as important as schools as though they were suburban subdivisions.
• An act related to hypocrisy Part II: Any private business that benefits from a state tax break or receives money from a government fund must, for a period not less than the length of the aforementioned benefit, refrain from complaining about the size and expense of government or the lack of some vital public service such as schools or roads.
Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657 email@example.com blog:thenewstribune.com/politics Twitter: @CallaghanPeter