What’s the deal with the Rules committee?

Wocka wocka wocka

Wocka wocka wocka

As you know, the Bus is supporting a set of bills in Olympia. Our crop of foci (like a flock of seagulls) is winding its way through the legislative process, and we’re watching like hawks as they jump from committee to vote to passage. There’s one committee in particular that pops up again and again in the saga of legislation, and that is the Rules Committee.

You may be asking yourself, “Self, I know that the Higher Education Committee deals with bills relating to college, and the Transportaion Committee works with transportation issues, duh, but what exactly does a rules bill look like?”

You, my friend, are a genius. Because there is no such thing as a “rules” bill. Or rather, every single bill that exists is, in fact, a rules bill. Eh wha? Let’s delve:

Before any bill heads to the floor of its respective house (Senate or House o’ Reps), it has to be passed by the Rules Committee. That means that for any and all bills, Rules is the final gatekeeper before an actual vote.

The effect of this is to concentrate decision-making power about which bills actually get voted on in the hands of the folks who chair the Rules committees.

Why do we care? Well, at the very least it’s an interesting foible of the political process, but even more imporantly would you believe that every single one of the Bus’s bills are in the Rules Committee of their respective houses? That means that every single one of the Bus’s bills are waiting, WAITING, hoping and praying to be passed out of committee and placed on the floor for a vote.

Let’s review: In the House, Rules has the opportunity to spur the development of green technology, energy-efficient homes, and comprehensive sex ed. In the Senate, the Rules committee is itching for the chance to restore voting rights to a huge swath of Washington citizens, make homes more efficient, and give college students some help on cutting down on textbook costs.

All good things, right? Exactly. You can call the chairs of the Rules committee and see if you can move these bills. They’re super key, and right now, they’re swimming in the Rules Committee grey area.

For the Senate, call Senator Lisa Brown and Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen (he’s a knight! Seriously…) at (360) 786-7550 and tell them to pass the Bus bills.

For the House, call Representative Frank Chopp at (360) 786-7920 and tell you’re ready for some action on the Bus bills.

You rule! Ah ha…


1 Response to “What’s the deal with the Rules committee?”

  1. 1 asiangoddez
    April 9, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Awesome update. Thank you!

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