WORKERS VOICE CONCERNS ON UNIONS 4
at Woodward is in a state of shock. The 64-yearold resident of Olympia was recently fired from her job as a financial analyst for the Washington State Department of Licensing. “I was unable to believe the threat of termination. I knew I was a good employee, respectful and polite to my coworkers. All my evaluations were good. I have received many awards and recognitions over the 22 years I worked in state government.” The reason Pat was fired? She refused to give a percentage of her paycheck to a union in order to keep her job. “I decided not to join the union because it would violate my religious and ethical beliefs,” she said. Fifty-three thousand general government workers are covered by recent collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the state and public employee unions. The contract went into effect July 1, 2005, and requires these workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Almost immediately, hundreds of state employees voiced their opposition to the forced union dues. Many felt they had been misled by the union; they were told no one would be forced to join. Others objected to the collective bargaining agreements because they were never informed of the details of the contract or of their right to approve or deny it. “I felt the vote was held in a biased manner,” Pat said. “This vote was held by a very small group to dictate to the majority that they must pay dues. We were not told the truth about what the vote was for, and we were told no one would be forced to join the union.” Pat’s experience has been a wake-up call to many state employees still refusing to join the union. The threats of termination are real. The quality of your work won’t matter, and neither will your seniority or experience. If you refuse to pay union dues, you will be fired.
2006 ELECTION LEGISLATION 6
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION EFF DEDICATIONS AND OPEN HOUSE 8
Still, a number of employees are holding out. Debbie Koepp, a nine-year employee with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), has refused to let a union “bully me into giving up my freedom.” A two-
“This vote was held by a very small group to dictate to the majority that they must pay dues. We were not told the truth about what the vote was for, and we were told no one would be forced to join the union.” time DSHS Outstanding Employee of the Year (among several other awards) and once a representative on the Statewide Labor Council of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) union, she gave up her membership after realizing the union supported causes she opposes based on her religious beliefs. Though threatened multiple times with termination, she
Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 Address service requested
continues to fight for her job and refuses to give up hope that the union and the state will allow her to keep it. After thirteen years of working for the state, Laurie Bell is also fighting to save her job, ironically, with the Employment Security Department. “I do not agree with the union’s tactics,” said Laurie. “I do not support the union’s politics. I was never notified of the contract ratification by the union and neither were any of my co-workers. I believe unions once might have served a purpose, but I don’t see where unions are needed in these days.” Her job has been threatened, but she has not yet been fired. A longtime union supporter and eleven-year employee with the Department of Labor and Industries, Cheryl Conn resigned from the union just as the collective bargaining contracts were implemented in July. “I quit the union because compulsory union membership is wrong to impose on state employees. An organization should have to earn its supporters by providing ongoing excellent service. What exists now is pure extortion, and the antithesis of my vision of being a citizen of this state and country.” Continued on page 4
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
OLYMPIA, WA PERMIT #462
Justice Delayed 608 days and counting W
illiam Gladstone said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” We have now waited over twenty months for a ruling from the Washington Supreme Court in two cases brought against the Washington Education Association (WEA). (Of the 127 cases presented to the Supreme Court in 2004, only seven have yet to receive a decision.) The WEA was charged with illegally using nonmember teacher dues to contribute to political campaigns without obtaining permission from teachers. Non-member teachers must pay a fee for the collective bargaining the union does on their behalf, but the union is not permitted to use their dues for political purposes. In July 2001, the Thurston County Superior Court fined the WEA $400,000 for its illegal actions. The
WEA appealed the decision to the Appeals Court; the appeals panel ruled 2-1 that the main law in the case was unconstitutional. The Attorney General requested a state supreme court review and in May 2004, the Supreme Court reviewed that case and a class-action lawsuit filed by EFF on behalf of the non-member teachers in order to force the WEA to return the illegally spent dues. We have yet to receive final decisions from the Supreme Court. The longer justice is delayed, the longer justice is denied. The WEA should be held accountable for its actions, pay the fines and return to teachers the money that is rightly theirs.
. . . . .. . . . . . . . .................... ..................................... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
of the month
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” – George Washington (1732 - 1799)
VOLUME 16, Issue 2 EFF’s mission is to advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government.
Editors: Lynn Harsh Marsha Richards
Publisher: Joel Sorrell
Evergreen Freedom Foundation PO Box 552 Olympia, WA 98507 (360) 956-3482 Fax (360) 352-1874 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.effwa.org Living Liberty is a publication of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Nothing in this publication should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or ballot measure.
3 4 5 6
3 LETTER FROM LYNN “SQUEAL LIKE A STUCK PIG, HONEY”
4 STATE WORKER POLL WORKERS VOICE CONCERNS ON UNIONS
5 MAKING PROGRESS ON UNION DISCLOSURE 6 ELECTION LEGISLATION 2006 THE GOOD AND THE BAD
EFF LEADS THE WAY TOWARD ELECTION REFORM
7 8 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
7 SEC. OF STATE SAM REED SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO IRAQI ELECTIONS 8 DEDICATIONS & OPEN HOUSE MARK ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR EFF 10 SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET TESTS STATE’S COMMITMENT TO SPENDING LIMIT 11 GOVERNOR GREGOIRE’S PLAN FOR FIXING WA STATE HEALTH CARE 12 OLYMPIA WIRE UPDATES FROM YOUR SOURCE IN OLYMPIA
13 BILLS WOULD ALLOW PUBLIC FUNDING OF CAMPAIGNS 14 “COMPETITION” IS SUCH A DIRTY WORD LEAVING A LEGACY 15 “COMPETITION” IS SUCH A DIRTY WORD 16 CONGRATULATIONS TO MARSHA & KERRY
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
LetterLET fromTER Lynn FROM LY NN by Lynn Harsh
“Squeal like a stuck pig, honey!”
his month I’m going to meddle. It’s because of how we “conservatives” behave when nobody’s looking…or maybe when we haven’t really thought about the role of government when it comes to making personal choices. I’m thinking about the Olympia contractor who complains about government being too big, but who actively supports more construction for “the state” because it’s good for his business. It’s one thing for him to bid for the work when a project has already been approved. It’s another to lobby for its approval to begin with. Sure, I understand his conflict, but where does his buck stop? Then there was the conversation from a few Sunday afternoons ago, when an affluent young couple—selfdescribed conservatives—said they would be very happy if “the state” provided universal pre-school. After all, they opined, children need to learn, and parents aren’t teachers. Besides, they both work, and it would be better for their kids and cheaper than day care. (I tried to be polite, and gentle, and soft-spoken. Alas… .) Try this one on for size: A married couple (again self-described conservatives) reared four children, two of whom still live at home. One became pregnant outof-wedlock. They are financially secure; still the girl’s parents decided they would let “the state” pay for this pregnancy, even though their daughter lives comfortably under their roof. I have since learned that this decision is pretty routine for financially solvent parents with pregnant daughters. So, just who is “the state” everyone keeps talking about? Taxpayers, is the correct answer. You and I will help pay for this girl’s medical care through the time of her delivery. Nobody asked us to do this. We are required to contribute, even though many people who will help foot her bill make far less money than does this girl’s family. We will help pay for the new or remodeled state office buildings that will benefit the contractor. And we will pay for child care for the affluent young couple, should universal pre-school become law. Many of the people who will help pay these bills struggle themselves to make ends meet. The family who turned their daughter’s health care over to the state has discovered that strings are attached to the deal, and some of those strings confound their deeply held Christian beliefs. They are unhappy about the state-imposed requirements, but they are happy to take the state’s financial assistance, nonetheless. They asked for my help in loosening the strings. I have no power to do that, but as you might imagine, we did
talk about who should pay for the personal choices—and sometimes the mistakes—we all make. Family, church and charity are the places we are to turn. Rarely should government be involved. To some, this sounds tough, but it really is the most compassionate response we can make. Government is impersonal and large. Families, churches or charity are personal. By its nature, government dispenses thirdparty compassion. Families, churches and charity provide first and second-party compassion. When we personally touch the deepest needs of a fellow human being, our giving becomes life-changing, usually for both the giver and the receiver.
“...we did talk about who should pay for the personal choices—and sometimes the mistakes—we all make. Family, church and charity are the places we are to turn. Rarely should government be involved.” Besides, why should we force people who play no direct role in our lives to pay for the consequences of our freely made choices? This is precisely what we do when we elect legislators who feel it is their duty to forcibly redistribute income from some people to other people to pay for the consequences of our choices. If you haven’t faced this kind of difficult decision, it’s likely you will. I know I have. It tests what we really believe when we face grave reversals of our own. Then there was the lovely silver-haired woman who, with a handful of sentences, gave a cluster of teenage girls something deep to consider. And I got to listen in. We were waiting in a long line, and about in the middle were the silver-haired woman, three girls, and then me. One of the girls complained that, since she had dropped out of school, her father had put a limit on how much money she could spend on his credit card,
and he wanted her to get a job, too. But at 17, she was busy, and working was out of the question. (Apparently shopping was not.) Her two friends agreed, and they groaned about how hard their life is. The lovely silver-haired woman turned, looked intently into the faces of each girl and told them in a firm voice that her 18-year old granddaughter had recently succumbed to a two-year battle with cancer. Then she related how she, as a 17-year old, had to work while going to school or her family would have gone hungry many a day. Those things, she stated, are hard. Getting a job and having a credit card limit are not. The woman asked the young girl who had dropped out of school how she planned to support herself. She didn’t know. The lovely lady quietly told her she should get out of the habit of expecting someone else to support her personal choices, especially when they were bad choices. I nearly cheered when she told the girls they need to be grateful every day for being alive—for being born in this country with so many opportunities for those who want to work hard and take responsibility for their own lives. Two of the girls looked sober and a bit shaken. The third blurted out something about the expectations being different today than the “old days,” and that teenagers today shouldn’t be expected to do as much. That’s when the woman told her to “Stop squealing like a stuck pig, honey, and do what you know is right.” In addition to feeling admiration for this complete stranger, I agonized over the growing notion that, when we want something—young or old—we act as if it is our birthright to have it. When we lose a job, or our house floods, or we want cheaper pharmaceuticals, we insist that somebody—usually government—restore what we have lost. It’s bad enough when this attitude exists inside the walls of our homes, but it is blight when it spills out into our expectations of government. This is why government is so big. Most Americans want government to give them one or two or fifty things—as long as they don’t have to pay for all of it. Furthermore, we want “somebody else” to pay attention to preserving liberty while they just enjoy its benefits. It doesn’t work that way for very long. We need to lift our faces from the trough long enough to think this through a bit deeper. We conservatives should not be pointing our fingers at big spenders in government, all the while squealing like stuck pigs ourselves. American citizenship is both a somber and noble obligation, and it begins with self-governance.
We thank you! by Lynn Harsh
Thank You! B
ob Williams and I, and the rest of our staff, will never be able to adequately express the gratitude we feel for the outpouring of support we receive from EFF members. Notes of encouragement are regularly tucked into envelopes with checks or credit card donations. We read all of them. Our office Christmas tree in 2005 (and my personal tree) came from the Hubert’s beautiful Christmas tree farm in Kitsap County. They are EFF members, and we
thought of them often as we enjoyed the tree. Then there were the hundreds of notes and more than 100 Christmas cards many of you sent to us last December. Some of you included pictures of your family and updates on where they are and what they are doing. We loved it! Some things will always amaze and move me, no matter how many years I live. The generosity, encouragement and wisdom of our members provide that in spades. Thank you!
State Worker Poll: Workers Voice Concerns on Unions by Ryan Bedford
If you are a union member, why did you join the union?
12% 8% 69% 90%
Should employees have a choice whether to pay dues or fees or not?
1774 answers in total
hat happens when 90 percent of public sector employees believe they should have the right to work without paying a union for the privilege? While most parents teach even their toddlers to respect others, in Washington state, the union ignores the very workers they are paid to represent and fires those who refuse to compromise. Fifty-three thousand general government workers in Washington are covered by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the state and public employee unions. The contract that went into effect July 1, 2005, requires these workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation recently gave state workers a chance to voice their opinions about their new unions through an online survey—an option unions themselves have yet to provide. More than 1,750 state workers responded over a five-day period and their responses shed light on why so many believe forced union membership is not a step forward, but a step backward. Most state workers did not join their union voluntarily. An astounding 69 percent joined because they were required to in order to keep their jobs. In short, the unions made state workers choose whether to pay the union and continuing feeding their families or be fired in time for Christmas. As a whole, state workers view their unions negatively. Eighty-one percent of state workers say their union does not represent them effectively in their workplace. Another 59 percent of workers say their union “ignores” and even “intimidates/harasses” them for suggesting ways to improve its representation. These sentiments
Should your union ask your permission before spending your dues on politics?
A. I was required to join to keep my job. (69%) B. I value the union’s workplace representation. (8%) C. I liked the professional opportunities and benefits (12%) D. B & C. (5%) E. Other (6%)
1765 answers in total
1831 answers in total
indicate unions are distant and even unreceptive to workers’ concerns. Those who try to exercise their federal rights to opt out of the union are met with delay and denial. The unions have failed to respond to workers claiming a religious exemption from membership within the 60 day period required by federal law. Instead, they have ignored these workers for up to four months before wrongfully denying their requests. The only option for the majority of state workers who disagree with forced representation is to embrace the very organization they believe oppresses them. The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE), the largest of the state employee unions, has repeatedly said the one way workers can truly improve working conditions, including forced unionization, is to join the union and participate in the collective bargaining process. Yet for many workers, joining requires financially supporting political and social causes with which they fundamentally disagree. Given that the union intimidates and even harasses its members, it is not surprising that 96 percent have decided not to become involved with their union. Only four percent participate in their union “very often” or “more often than not.” The remaining employees range from “in the middle” (9 percent), to “not often” (25 percent), to “not at all” (63 percent). State workers do not believe their unions should be in the business of influencing politics. Only one percent believe political activity should be among their union’s top three priorities. Furthermore, when unions engage in politicking, almost all workers agree with the concept of paycheck
protection. When asked, “Should your union ask your permission before spending your dues on politics?” 93 percent of respondents agreed. The majority also said their union should be an “unbiased information source” as opposed to contributing to candidates and ballot measures, organizing campaign activities, or telling members which candidates to vote for. The poll also asked state workers whether they believe their union represents them effectively in its political activities. Eighty-four percent said “no.” This is despite the fact most workers are not fully aware of how their union spends their money on political and social causes. Washington state’s financial disclosure requirements for public sector unions fall far short of the standards the federal government requires for public sector unions. If Washington required similar details of state public sector unions, it would empower state workers to hold union officials accountable to truly reflect the will of members. Since the new contracts were implemented unions have claimed overwhelming victory and worker satisfaction. Yet this poll paints a vastly different picture. Simply put, state workers overwhelmingly agree the unions do not serve their best interest and would not have joined if given the option. In the contorted world of unions, this means victory. But for any other organization, similar member antipathy and distrust would indicate failure. The poll, which was sent to 20,000 state workers on Friday, December 9, 2005, can be viewed online at http:// www.effwa.org/pollvault/main/thankyou.php?id=62.
More Perfect Union continued from page 1. . . In September 2005, Cheryl founded Free Conscience. She describes it as “a grassroots effort to give state employees who oppose compulsory unionism an opportunity to join forces.” According to its website, FreeConscience.org is “provided as a reference and organizing point for Washington state employees interested in restoring/retaining their freedom to choose where money from their paycheck goes, and what types of activities they want to support.” Pat Woodward was one of the first to be fired, but she won’t be the last. Debbie Koepp, Laurie Bell, Cheryl Conn and other public employees, through Free Conscience and other organizations, continue to struggle against the union to keep their jobs. Freedom of association and freedom of religion have become their rallying cry. Unions have portrayed themselves as defenders of civil rights; to these workers, the unions have become the chief violators of these rights.
Thus far, the Washington Legislature has protected the unions’ power to compel state employees to pay up or be fired. Isn’t it time they protected the rights of Washington’s workers instead?
“Though threatened multiple times with termination, Debbie Koepp continues to fight for her job and refuses to give up hope that the union and the state will allow her to keep it.”
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
How does the union respond to your suggestions?
40% 27% 60%
The only option for the majority of state workers who disagree with forced representation
is to embrace the very organization they believe
Public employee strikes are illegal in Washington state. Should public sector unions use the threat of strikes to influence contract negotiations?
956 answers in total
Solicits/encourages Accepts/tolerates Ignores Intimidates/harasses
(14%) (27%) (47%) (12%)
1284 answers in total
Making progress on union disclosure by S. Alex Bohler, J.D.
n a recent decision that gave hope to advocates of worker freedom, the U.S. Court of Appeals has recently upheld the U.S. Department of Labor’s increased union financial reporting requirements. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation helped develop and promote increased reporting requirements, which expand union transparency and accountability. What makes this decision even more exciting is that this is the first substantive change to these requirements since 1959. Desperate to stave off this common-sense scrutiny, union attorneys predictably challenged the expanded disclosure requirements in AFL-CIO v. Chao, alleging Secretary Chao had exceeded her statutory authority under the 1959 Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The court ruled unanimously that the DOL’s actions were within its authority. So what did we learn from this first round of union disclosure reports? Quite a bit, actually. A January 3, 2006, OpinionJournal.com piece titled “Teachers’ Pet” detailed how the National Education Association (NEA) gave “more than $65 million last year to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Amnesty International, AIDS Walk Washington, and dozens of other groups.” The NEA also gave $5,000 to an outfit calling itself the National Women’s Law Center, a group that has viciously attacked Supreme Court nominee Samual Alito, President Bush’s pick to replace retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Even the hard-left People for the American Way (already well-funded by liberal Hollywood types like Norman Lear and Ed Asner) received $45,000 from the teacher union machine. Essentially, the NEA has been acting like a leftist umbrella fund, doling out member dues money to radical groups (much of it taken from the pockets of conservative teachers). For years, union officials got away with it because few teachers knew. Not any more. Unfortunately, there are no requirements at the state level for public-sector unions to disclose important financial information to their members. Every public sector union member should have the right to inspect the union’s financial records in a timely manner so they can make informed judgments about the union’s managerial decisions, financial practices, and political and lobbying strategies. Transparency in union finances is important for three reasons: (1) It encourages union officials to spend member dues on legitimate bargaining and grievance
issues, member services and education activities; (2) it safeguards members’ dues against embezzlement by union officials (as has occurred in Washington and across the country); and (3) it empowers union members themselves to have a greater say over how union officials spend their dues. One need only read the daily newspaper headlines to see a long series of state level union corruption scandals (most recently in Miami and Washington, D.C.), in which millions of dollars of union member’s dues were embezzled or illegally spent. In Florida, legendary teacher union boss Pat Tornillo (considered the “Godfather” of Florida Democratic politics) recently pleaded guilty to spending millions of dollars in member dues to support a lavish lifestyle that included round-the-world cruises for him and his wife, personal servants, a world-class art-collection, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable restaurant bills to wine-and-dine politicians and other lobbyists. Tornillo not only used tax-exempt member dues to finance his lavish lifestyle, he also cut sweetheart “contracting” deals with friends and relatives and
invested in disastrous real estate schemes. It is doubtful such abuses of member dues would have occurred if Florida public-sector union members (or reporters, for that matter) had access to the unions’ financial records in a timely and user-friendly manner. The Washington Education Association (WEA) and affiliated organizations have a long track-record of abuses themselves. They have been ordered to pay over $500,000 in fines for illegal political activities since 1998, and they were also required to return more then $300,000 wrongfully collected dollars to individual employees. Union officials even stole member dues money through the union bank account. (Lake Washington Education Support Personnel treasurer Debra Joyce Hill pled guilty in September 1999 to eight counts of first-degree theft for embezzling over $188,000 in school district funds.) These and other examples occur, in part, because Washington’s public-sector unions, unlike their federal counterparts, have no obligation to report where they spend their money. It often requires extensive litigation and years of investigation by watch-dog groups like EFF to unearth Continued on page 6
NEWS Get the latest news about our battle against the union monopoly over teachers and state workers by signing up for the Labor Policy Center’s Union Accountability News, a free e-newsletter. Twice a month we send updates about our projects, policy papers, and other state and national labor issues. If you would like to receive these updates, go to our website, click on “Receive Updates,” and click on “Labor Policy Center’s Mailing List.”
Sign up today!
2006 Election legislation: The good and the bad by Jonathan Bechtle
n January 2005, EFF distributed to Washington state legislators a long list of election reform recommendations, such as a complete re-registration of voters, a requirement for photo ID at the polls, and new security controls for ballot processing. Unfortunately, most of these recommendations were ignored by the leadership of the state House and Senate. A few legislators on both sides of the aisle, however, recognized the lack of integrity in our election system, and introduced bills that reflect EFF’s recommendations. Now that the 2006 legislative session is in full swing, many of these same legislators have renewed their commitment to election integrity by introducing common-sense reform bills. It remains to be seen if the legislature will acknowledge the sorry state of our elections by passing these bills, or continue to cover up the problems with flawed reforms. Requiring all voters to update their registration file has been a top priority of EFF, as it is impossible to run a clean election without a clean registration file. This is especially true in a vote-by-mail system, where there is no personal interaction with the voter to verify identity. In early January, Senator Pam Roach (R-31st District) filed Senate Bill 6499 with this in mind. The bill would: • Place all voters on an inactive status. Voters would be required to update their registration by mail or in person in order to vote a regular ballot in the next election. Anyone failing to do so would be able to vote a provisional ballot. • Require voters to provide proof of citizenship and show photo ID in order to activate their registration. These requirements would also apply for new registrations. • Strengthen the current voter ID law and require photo ID to be shown when voting. • Clarify and strengthen a county auditor’s duty to verify information on a registration form (like a residential address). The effect of this bill would be to ensure all voters on our registration rolls are living residents of Washington and U.S. citizens. It would also help maintain this accuracy standard by requiring proof of identification when voting and by making it harder for incomplete registration forms to slip through the system. This reform is made even more vital by the establishment of the new statewide voter database in January. While it appears workable, the current system
is operating from inaccurate data, with no access to citizenship information and limited access to felon records. Updating the registration rolls and requiring proof of citizenship and identity will allow the new system to function with accurate information. As important as a clean registration roll is, it’s not the only reform needed. A less obvious fix is found in House Bill 2525, sponsored by Representative Toby Nixon (R-45th District), which would reduce possible special election dates from four times to two times a year, and clarify that bond and levy elections are not emergencies (although they would be allowed in response to a natural disaster). This reform is vital, because currently our state has too many elections. County governments can call for a special election “if an emergency exists” up to four times a year (not counting the primary and general election). In practice, bond and levy elections are somehow always an emergency, resulting in up to six elections a year in some counties. County election departments are thus always going from one election to the next, compounding the existing problems. Unfortunately, some of the election-related bills filed this session continue last year’s trend of weakening the remaining safeguards and opening up new avenues of possible fraud or mismanagement. Senate Bill 6134, sponsored by Senator Karen Keiser (D-33rd District), deals with the voter challenge system, giving a county canvassing board power to fine a citizen challenger (up to $250) if the challenger uses inaccurate information, does not have personal knowledge of the challenged voter, or is using the challenge system to discriminate against or harass a voter. This bill would put canvassing boards in the position of having to arbitrarily determine a person’s motives. Also, since challenges are often a criticism of the accuracy of the county’s elections office, the bill gives the canvassing board the power to fine its critics. We have seen a lack of interest by election officials in cleaning up registration rolls, many saying that they rely on citizens to keep the information updated. Yet SB 6134 would suppress one of the few methods by which citizens can help maintain our registration rolls. Now is the time for our legislature to act and restore integrity to our election system. EFF will monitor the legislature’s actions carefully, and we encourage all concerned citizens to do the same. Let elected officials know that strong action is still needed to restore our shattered confidence in the election process.
EFF leads the way toward election reform by Victor Joecks
hough it should have never been necessary, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation has emerged as a national expert on election reform. After Washington’s embarrassing and mistake-ridden 2004 general election, EFF took the initiative to begin compiling election “best practices” from around the country into a report titled, “A Blueprint for Change.” Best practices are election laws shown by experience to best produce free and fair elections. Our efforts spanned the entire spectrum of election policy, including voter registration, identification, voting machines, and registration by mail. In addition to policy recommendations, the report includes legislation from the states that have already adopted best practices. In December, EFF President Bob Williams spoke to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) about the election process and the need for reform. ALEC is a non-profit organization that brings conservative state legislators together to share and replicate freemarket ideas. In response to Williams’ speech, ALEC formed a full task force on elections. This task force will work with two state legislators from every state
to enact election reform legislation based on EFF’s recommendations. Recognizing the insights previous work on this subject can offer, EFF contacted the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), headed by Washington’s Sam Reed, and asked if they had best practices on election reform. NASS staff replied that they did not have any written best practices. Seeking additional input, EFF sent the report to every secretary of state or comparable chief elections officer in the union and requested comments. EFF is currently collecting responses and several states have returned suggestions and encouragement. Hawaii’s response, however, highlighted the need for what EFF is doing. They replied, “[T]he State of Hawaii has no election best practices at this time.” In “A Blueprint for Change,” EFF provides best practices for Hawaii and other states with inadequate standards. Following these nationally replicable best practices will help protect every election from fraud, willful negligence or ignorance and help achieve the goal of free and fair elections.
Union Disclosure continued from page 5. . . spending practices that should have been public in the first place. Comprehensive reporting requirements increase financial accountability and establish an effective deterrent against abuses. Logic dictates, if union officials know their actions will be routinely scrutinized by workers, legislators, and taxpayers, they are less likely to engage in abuses. Without comprehensive state reporting requirements, graft, inefficiency and illegal political spending schemes are an inevitable temptation for union bosses. There’s just too much money on the table. The Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) alone is projected to rake in an additional $20 million windfall after its new collective bargaining contract with the state of Washington is fully implemented. You can bet a sizable portion of this money will be used to fund local left-wing groups that help liberal candidates and causes. Instituting comprehensive new state reporting requirements that mirror Secretary Chao’s LM-2 formswould go a long way towards cleaning up the current system. For new reporting requirements to be effective, Washington public-sector unions should disclose: • union income and expenditures, • amount of union dues spent on so-called “member communication” efforts, • amount of union dues spent on actual contract negotiations, union salaries and benefits, • number of employees “loaned” to other groups for political advocacy during election seasons, • possible conflicts of interests, like the employment of family members and spouses in union or unioncontrolled entities, • union contributions or in-kind donations to other advocacy groups. • amount and description of workplace complaints within the union itself. These disclosure reforms would greatly add to the public dialogue between the union rank-and-file and their leadership. It would significantly add to the public discourse between taxpayers (who ultimately pay the salaries of state workers). Teachers shouldn’t have to subsidize state level political or ideological causes that are not their own, any more than they should be forced to subsidize the NEA’s network of radical grant recipients. Increasing disclosure, by instituting state level reporting requirements, will go a long way towards increasing accountability.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
“Maybe Secretary Reed, and others overseeing our elections, can learn a lesson from Iraq, which conducted its third successful election in one year last December...”
Sec. of State Sam Reed should pay attention to Iraqi elections by Booker T. Stallworth
The following piece was originally published in Human Events Online. It has been updated for February 2006.
hen Secretary of State Sam Reed recently announced his 2006 election reform package, he focused primarily on moving up the primary and instituting online voter registration. Unfortunately, more than a year after the Rossi-Gregoire race exposed serious flaws in Washington’s election process, Secretary Reed and other state officials are still struggling to “get it right” on election reform. According to election officials in our state: 1) We have sufficient ballot security, even though ballots are routinely lost, unaccounted for, or turn up months after the fact; 2) a utility bill is an adequate form of identification; and 3) having a check-box on the voter registration form is the only necessary verification for citizenship. Vote-by-mail, which has been called the “tool of choice for those who want to steal elections,” is not only permitted, but considered a welcome change. Maybe Secretary Reed, and others overseeing our elections, can learn a lesson from Iraq, which conducted its third successful election in one year last December. Restoring Voter Confidence by Investigating Fraud Shortly after the election in December, the Iraqi government received almost 2,000 complaints of fraud or other forms of election misconduct. Unlike in Washington state, the Independent Electoral Commission in Iraq did not issue premature press releases, but actually took all allegations seriously—thoroughly investigating all claims of fraud. On January 16, the international team assessing the fairness of the voting process released its final report that, once again, found that the Iraqi election was fair, free and conducted without substantial fraud.
Ballot Reconciliation What fraud was committed in Iraq was handled much differently than similar problems identified in Washington. During the Gregoire-Rossi trial, election officials admitted, under oath, to falsifying reconciliation reports. In other words, the number of voters and the number of votes cast did not match. Instead of investigating further, King County simply fudged the numbers until they matched. By contrast, Iraq’s electoral commission found that out of the 2,000 claims of fraud, only 58 had the potential to impact the outcome of the election. Of those 58, the commission found that there were “various irregularities, including fake ballots and more ballots than
registered voters.” Iraq’s answer to this was to throw out votes from 227 unsecure ballot boxes, less than one percent of the total vote. Iraqi officials heard many of the same trite complaints from Sunni political leaders that we would hear from the left in this country. According to a Knight Ridder report, Saleh al-Mutlaq, leader of one Sunni group, said the move was unfair because it would “penalize [some] voters and candidates that played by the rules.” Iraqi officials, however, were not persuaded by that argument, claiming that those votes had to be annulled because the security of the ballot boxes could not be confirmed. Lack of Confidence in Washington Elections More than a year after the Gregoire-Rossi debacle, the people of Washington are still deeply divided over the election. A recent survey of public opinion found that many still believe that Gregoire was not legitimately elected.
“Democracies require that citizens trade their bullets for ballots, and put faith in the power of a system of laws to fairly decide policy.” Had Washington state officials, like the Iraqi commission, thoroughly investigated the election irregularities identified by citizens and groups like the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, voter confidence in election results may not have been so greatly diminished. Stemming Fraud and Conducting Fair Elections The lessons our state officials could learn from Iraq go much deeper than just investigating after the fact. How was Iraq able to conduct three successful elections, without experiencing all the problems faced by Washington? Last year, Iraqi nationals lined up at polling places all around the world, including locations in six U.S. cities. In order to vote, these Iraqis were required to show two documents that prove identity, age, and nationality, one of which had to have a current photo. Both of these documents were required to contain matching personal identifiers like name or birth date. There were no pro-
visions for vote-by-mail; even those as far away from Baghdad as London and Detroit had to vote at a physical polling location, where identity could be verified. After voting, the now-famous “purple ink” was used to prevent double voting. This is the way voting looks when accuracy, security of the ballot box, and integrity of the elections process are taken seriously. This is why the Iraqi Election Information Network (EIN)—the umbrella non-governmental organization overseeing elections—has consistently found that Iraq’s new democracy has conducted elections “without systematic flaws and in accordance with basic international standards.” Washington is no Iraq... and in this case, that is a very bad thing. The same cannot be said of Washington state. While Iraq received praise for its elections process last year, the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) Legislative Fund identified Seattle as the number three election fraud “hot spot” in America. The report, “Vote Fraud, Intimidation & Suppression in the 2004 Presidential Election,” is the most comprehensive and authoritative review of the facts surrounding allegations of vote fraud, intimidation and suppression made during the 2004 election. The report lists the top five election fraud “hot spots” in the country based on its findings and the cities’ documented history of fraud and intimidation. ACVR Legislative Fund called for immediate attention to these areas. In the election contest trial that followed Washington’s 2004 gubernatorial race, Judge John Bridges found that at least 1,678 illegal votes were cast in the election. He also hinted that he agreed with those who believe states have gone overboard in their efforts to make voting as easy as possible without adequate safeguards. Judge Bridges said, “Extraordinary efforts are in place to make it easier to vote. But unfortunately I fear that it will be much more difficult to account for those votes in the future.” Democracies require that citizens trade their bullets for ballots, and put faith in the power of a system of laws to fairly decide policy. In order for a people to accept this, they must have faith that their voice will be heard, and not canceled out by a ballot that is fraudulent or otherwise unlawful. Iraqi and coalition forces understand this; however, “leaders” here in the U.S. (particularly in states like Washington) have apparently forgotten the importance of elections. Maybe it’s time for our election officials to start learning from the Iraqis about how to protect a democracy. Elections are the foundation of liberty and democracy; they must be secure.
DEDICATIONS & OPEN HOUSE by Matthew Cole
anuary marked another milestone for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Generous gifts from EFF Chairman Bill Conner and former Chairman Harry James, a founding member of the organization, were officially recognized with the dedications of the Bill and Marilyn Conner Freedom Center and the Harry and Beryl Anne James Conference Room. The building was paid off and necessary renovations were made as a result of those donations. But for the two men and their families, the week reflected their larger vision of preserving individual liberty. “It’s marvelous to see people who use their freedom to create opportunity for others,” said EFF’s Senior Vice President Lynn Harsh. EFF’s building represents the organization’s continuous mission to “advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government,” and honors two longtime members for their commitment to that mission by giving the building their namesake. Two ceremonies were held separately in the week, one on January 10 and the other on January 13. For veteran members of EFF, it was a time of reflection; for EFF newcomers, like me, it was a chance to be captivated by both Conner’s and James’ vision of freedom. The Harry and Beryl Anne James Conference Room The week’s festivities were kicked off with the dedication of the Harry and Beryl Anne James Conference Room, named for the longtime Chairman of EFF’s Board. James has long been an inspiration of the Foundation’s themes of liberty. “I was under the impression that we would be small and of interest to a limited number of people,” James wrote in his prepared remarks for the occasion. “How wrong I was about our size and who would be interested in what we were doing.” EFF President Bob Williams likes to say that James doesn’t often get “misty,” but there are two exceptions, his late wife, Beryl Anne and the subject of Freedom.
James’ sentiments toward freedom long preceded his involvement with EFF. Prior to EFF’s creation in 1991, both James and Williams served together in the State House of Representatives. “I had the privilege of chairing a committee with Harry,” remarked Williams at the James’ dedication. He went on to say, “In the legislature, no one misunderstood Harry’s philosophy: It was all about individual liberty.” The Conner Freedom Center On January 13, EFF celebrated its fifteen year legacy by holding a dedication and open house. Special guests included State Auditor Brian Sonntag, Greg Overstreet (Special Assistant for Government Accountability to Attorney General Rob McKenna), Executive Director of Building and Industries Association of Washington Tom McCabe, EFF Trustees, as well as Bill and Marilyn Conner and their son Chuck Conner. Conner’s idea of good government goes back a long way. “My mother used to sit on the local election board where we lived,” recalled Conner. “She was my first introduction to politics. Mostly she did it because she saw a need to make our community better.” That principle is a driving force for Conner to remain an active part in enabling EFF’s mission. Like many of his generation, he works and gives quietly, without expecting to receive credit for his contribution. “Bill doesn’t want this sort of recognition. He wants freedom, but he has allowed us to honor him anyway,” said Williams. For Williams, this was an especially high moment. He and Conner are longtime friends. “What you see in Bill is what you get, and that’s freedom and integrity,” Williams said. January also marks the Foundation’s 15th anniversary. “In those early days when I was getting involved, I went to our previous building to meet with Bob and Lynn,” Conner recalled. The offices were first located in Harsh’s residence. When the organization grew beyond what her home could provide, EFF moved their offices to the top
View more pictures from EFF’s dedication events online at:
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
MARK ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR floor of Capitol City Stove and Fan. “They had boxes for partitions and the place was just a hazard!” Conner laughed, “I knew we couldn’t stay there forever, so I helped make a down payment for this building.” Following Conner’s dedication ceremony, EFF held an open house and invited members to join them in the celebration. Many of EFF’s members came to see the building for the first time. “I think Bob Williams’ work is a testament to the great principles of liberty. And thanks to Bill Conner, this message will live on,” said EFF member Linda Matson. “It takes courage, and
“[EFF] is founded and supported by people who really care about good government. EFF has long been recognized as an influential voice for free market thinking and accountable government.” – State Auditor Brian Sonntag you can’t grow courage. That’s what this building is all about: The courage to defend freedom.” The Conner Freedom Center, which has housed EFF’s operations since 2001, received several aesthetic improvements as well. The building has been given fresh coats of paint as well as décor commemorating the Foundation’s fifteen-year legacy. The Conner Freedom Center’s foyer now greets visitors with EFF’s signature motto in raised letters, “…Because Freedom Matters!” The stairs leading to the upper office area are also adorned with framed prints of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Windows and walls now bear the names of Conner and James in raised lettering as well. “I really appreciate the work all have done to make this happen. We have a wonderful group of people here working hard to advance our liberty,” said Conner.
Supplemental budget tests state’s commitment to spending limit by Jason Mercier
“...a $250 million ‘merry-go-round’...”
ith a $1.45 billion budget ending fund balance projected for the remainder of the 2005-07 budget biennium, Governor Christine Gregoire is proposing $503 million in new spending in her 2006 supplemental budget request. If adopted, the supplemental would add more than 500 new state workers to the payroll. Approximately $900 million of the budget request is earmarked for savings. “My goal is to sock away a good amount in savings. Any family would do that, and that’s what I’m asking the Legislature to do as well,” Gregoire told the Seattle Times. “I don’t want to make draconian cuts in one year. I don’t want to have to look at taxes in one year. I want to keep the economy growing and make sure we’re paying the bills.” Democrats in the legislature sounded positive about Gregoire’s supplemental proposal. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Sen. Margarita Prentice (D) told the Seattle Times, “Overall, I’m very supportive of it.” Despite the projected surplus, the Governor’s proposed spending exceeds forecasted revenue by nearly $120 million (not including $591 million in appropriations to new accounts). The projected carryforward costs of this spending resulted in the state’s Office of Financial Management projecting a $1.7 billion deficit by the 2009-11 biennium. Some in the business community believe the projected surplus should be used to repeal last year’s adoption of a new stand-alone estate tax (death tax). Washington previously had a “pick-up” death tax tied to the federal tax code. “We’re discouraged that the Governor’s supplemental budget continues the unnecessary death tax passed last year, which can kill small business growth and survival upon the death of the owner,” said Carolyn Logue, Washington State director for the National Federation of Independent Business. The supplemental budget departs from Priorities of Government (POG) budget reform Although the Governor proclaimed, “This budget represents me. It represents my values, my principals [SIC] and my priorities,” the budget proposal calls into question Gregoire’s commitment to Washington’s priority-based budget reform. Initiated by former Governor Gary Locke, Priorities of Government budgeting means budgets are built within forecasted revenue based on a priority “buy” list of state activities. Each activity is measured with quantifiable performance indicators and is ranked high, medium or low. To avoid labeling everything a high priority, one-third of each agency’s activities (including program costs) must be labeled high; one-third medium and one-third low. For any new priorities added to the buy list,
the rankings would change to reflect the additions, with offsets and tradeoffs. Every imaginable expenditure is a priority to someone. That’s why under a POG budget, all these priorities are weighed against each other to create a buy list of activities to purchase within forecasted revenue. This means that as new priorities are added to the buy list, others fall off. The very fact that the governor’s proposal exceeds forecasted revenue by $120 million is proof enough POG wasn’t followed.
the $250 million in fund shifts, the state is claiming executive and legislative privilege to deny disclosure. These two privileges have not been previously recognized in Washington State. If state officials truly believe their disregard for I-601 reflects the will of the people, they should have nothing to hide and release the requested records. The I-601 legal challenge is expected to be heard in Superior Court sometime in March.
“Stashing money in new accounts with responsible-sounding names is not the same as ‘accountability’...” -Rep. Gary Alexander (R-20)
Supplemental versus spending limit In 1993, Washington’s voters approved I-601 to control the growth of state spending and taxes. The legislature’s commitment to this spending cap in recent years, however, has only been lip service. Though promising to create a “more meaningful spending limit,” state officials all but eliminated I-601 last year. This enabled nearly a half a billion dollars in tax increases to occur. Notwithstanding the more than $1 billion legislative increase in the I-601 spending limit last session, the Governor’s supplemental budget hopes to increase the I-601 spending limit once again. Her changes aim to allow the state to spend an additional $914 million above the current limit. Republicans are critical of the ongoing budget shell games. “Are the Democrats incapable of putting together a straightforward, transparent, gimmick-free budget?” asked Rep. Gary Alexander (R20), ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. “Stashing money in new accounts with responsiblesounding names is not the same as ‘accountability.’ This supplemental budget just adds more shells to the shell game represented by the original budget signed this spring.”
up for W n g i S as
I-601 lawsuit pending In response to last session’s changes to I-601, a coalition was formed to challenge the legislature’s spending limit actions. Consisting of the Washington Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Washington State Grange, the Building Industry Association of Washington, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, and the Washington Association of Realtors, the “Saving I-601” Coalition filed a lawsuit to have the artificial increases in the spending limit invalidated. One of the issues being challenged is the effect a $250 million “merry-go-round” fund transfer between three state accounts had on the spending limit. The state contends the transfers increased the limit, while the Coalition argues the transfers had no effect since each account had the same balance as before the transfer occurred. Adding to the drama, in response to a Coalition request for copies of state documents concerning
chers Upda t a W te e t
SIGN UP FOR WASTE WATCHERS UPDATE Taxpayers expect and deserve a government that operates efficiently, effectively and economically. These are the critical underpinnings of government accountability. So how are Washington’s elected officials doing? To help answer this question, we’ve launched a new website and will be releasing periodic “diet tips” for government, which highlight questionable uses of our tax dollars. When appropriate, we will also be sharing examples of elected officials who cut wasteful spending or otherwise save taxpayers money. If you would like to receive our Waste Watchers e-mail update, please sign up at: http://www.effwa.org/main/page.php?number=1 All Waste Watchers e-mail updates will also be posted on this page: http://www.effwa.org/wastewatchers
Be informed about how your hardearned tax dollars are being spent! Sign up today!
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Governor Gregoire’s plan for fixing WA State health care by Nathan Johnson
"An increasingly sterile environment for competition in this state has created a health care system that does not meet basic performance criteria and shortchanges nearly every stakeholder involved."
overnor Christine Gregoire has just introduced her new five-point plan to help fix Washington’s health care system. It is called “Taking Charge of Our Health.” Her office estimates savings in the current 2005-07 biennium of $18 million, which they propose to direct toward providing health services to more people. The five points in her proposal focus on 1) evidencebased coverage, 2) promotion of disease prevention, 3) better management of chronic care, 4) transparency of the health care system, and 5) better use of information technology. As proposed, the plan requires both gubernatorial and legislative action. Point #1: Emphasize evidence-based health care. The governor’s evidence-based approach would limit state reimbursement for health care to those services that have been empirically proven to work. Advocates of this approach explain it as “a way to not spend the state’s money on treatment that does not work.” Critics of the evidence-based medicine approach express concern that this management strategy puts policy ahead of science. Indeed, it is important to ensure that new marvels of research and development are not marginalized or ignored by aggressive cost containment. A commonsense approach would eliminate medical practices and treatment options proven by good sci-
ence not to work, while keeping options open for cutting edge medical developments. The governor would also like to give DSHS new authority to investigate and stop providers engaging in medical practices that lead to treatment costs beyond the norm. Point #2: Promote prevention, healthy lifestyles and healthy choices. By increasing information on personal health choices and basic methods of disease prevention, the governor wants to limit incidents of obesity, type II diabetes, asthma and other potentially preventable conditions. Gregoire hopes wellness will be a path toward reducing state health care costs. She also plans to allow the Health Care Authority and the Department of Social and Health Services to negotiate contracts that will require providers to track the prevention of chronic illness, and thus determine at what level managed care can influence better health outcomes. Numerous medical studies indicate the enormous impact lifestyle choices have on one’s health status. Yet, we spend most of our health care dollars on traditional “after-the-fact” remedies rather than providing information on the significant impact of healthy lifestyle choices.
Public benefits from private sector model by Drew Gaut
he Attorney General’s office found a way to use the private sector to save money in the public sector. In this case, the office worked with the Department of General Administration and negotiated a new lease on an office at Fifth Avenue Plaza in Seattle. The lease was chosen from 15 proposals. According to Linda Bremer, director of General Administration, “We used a private sector model to get a terrific value for the taxpayer.” After the proposals were collected, each one was examined and renegotiated, and the best proposal was accepted. Using this process worked very well. At a cost of just over $24 per square foot, the deal includes a lot of benefits. Tenant improvements will be provided at landlord’s expense, as will utilities, maintenance, and operating costs. Parking will be discounted for state vehicles, and the landlord will be providing a generous
“The 10-year lease is expected to save taxpayers approximately $105,000 per month.” cash allowance. The lease doesn’t begin until July 2007, but the Attorney General’s 300-person staff will be allowed to move into the office in August 2006 at no extra cost. “The 10-year lease is expected to save taxpayers approximately $105,000 per month.” Negotiations like this are standard in the private sector, and it paid off for the public. Perhaps the rest of the state can learn a thing or two from the Attorney General’s Office.
Of course, the rub comes when lines are crossed between the personal lifestyle choices individuals should be able to make for themselves in a free society, regardless of consequence, versus those choices being dictated or “managed” by government. It stands to reason that the person or entity paying the bill has a justifiable stake in whatever choices are made. So, if we don’t like government managing our personal choices, we should reject the notion that it should pay for our health care. Point #3: Better manage chronic care. In Washington state, five percent of patients account for fifty percent of the costs. The governor would like to create a modeling system that could identify those with the most potential for joining that 5/50 population. Once identified, the governor’s plan would initiate preventative treatment that would help high-risk individuals avoid the onset of chronic illness. Details are limited, but each public health agency is expected to produce an action plan within one year. Point #4: Create more transparency in the health system. The governor would like to see more transparency in the cost and quality of health care delivery. Her primary focus is to help health care purchasers have access to quality and cost information and comparisons. Gregoire will first seek to apply elements of transparency to a new self-insured demonstration among state employees that, if successful, could eventually expand to the Medicaid population. The consumer-directed health care models we advocate at EFF depend on access to information relevant to users. While a multitude of consumer-oriented reports help purchasers compare quality and cost for an unlimited variety of products, few similar demonstrations exist in the health care market. We concur with the governor that this needs to change. Point #5: Make better use of information technology. The governor would like to have electronic medical records systems in every Washington hospital by the year 2012. She has also directed the Health Care Administration to spend $500,000 of existing funds to reward providers that implement new health information technology. Electronic records are easily transferable and especially important in times of crisis. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, levee breaks destroyed countless paper records. Without any digital backup, most of this critical information was permanently lost. With 21st century technology, patients and their health care providers should have access to a better and safer records-keeping system. Of course, great attention must be paid to records security. Conclusion: Governor Gregoire’s plan addresses critical issues, and some of her proposed solutions could significantly advance reform. The strategy as a whole, however, is limited by the underlying perverse incentives that lawmakers seem unwilling to face. For example, the state has little ability to influence such behavior as long as it—instead of the consumer— is the principal financial beneficiary. We consumers will make better lifestyle choices when we pay for the financial costs of our decisions. Another perverse incentive is government further regulating supply and demand, rather than letting the market handle the job. An increasingly sterile environment for competition in this state has created a health care system that does not meet basic performance criteria and shortchanges nearly every stakeholder involved. Value, in terms of cost and quality, must be decided by the free exchange of services between providers and consumers. We cannot get there overnight, but reforms should move us that direction. Until personal responsibility and the free-market are allowed breathing room in Washington state politics, the budget will remain permanently obliged to entitlement health care in its many forms.
OLYMPIA X EMERGENCY CLAUSE REFORM PROPOSED
egislators have introduced two bills this session to protect the people’s right of referendum from abuse of the emergency clause. An emergency clause is a legislative tool reserved for acts that are “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions.” It serves two purposes: 1) Bills adopted take effect immediately, and 2) the people are denied their right of referendum. Last session, it was used on 98 pieces of legislation that were enacted. HJR 4216, a constitutional amendment, would require an emergency clause on policy bills to receive two-thirds approval of the legislature. Appropriation bills, however, would be exempt from the two-thirds vote requirement, allowing budgets to take effect immediately. SB 6318, a statutory change, would require any bill enacted with an emergency clause to receive two-thirds support of legislators. HJR 4216 sponsors: Representatives Nixon, Ericksen, Dunn, Anderson, Rodne, Woods, McCune, Holmquist and Talcott. SB 6318 sponsors: Senators Stevens, Pflug, Roach, Mulliken, Benson, Benton, Carrell, Parlette, Oke, Deccio, Delvin, Esser, Honeyford, Hewitt and Sheldon.
X EFF STAFF MEET WITH GOVERNOR GREGOIRE
ast month, EFF President Bob Williams and Senior Budget Analyst Jason Mercier met with Governor Christine Gregoire to discuss the Priorities of Government (POG) budget model. Bob and Jason left the meeting feeling cautiously optimistic about working with the governor to implement fundamental performance-based budgeting reform. GOV. Gregoire In response to Gregoire’s question about EFF’s criticism of her 2006 supplemental budget (see article on page 10), Bob sent her a letter
describing how EFF views POG and offering to work with her administration to enhance the effectiveness of her Government Management, Accountability and Performance (GMAP) reform. In moving forward with the governor on this effort, EFF will keep in mind Ronald Reagan’s wise strategy of “trust but verify.” We’re hopeful she’ll do the same.
X PROPERTY RIGHTS ADVOCATES FIND AUDIENCE IN OLYMPIA
n response to last year’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning eminent domain, multiple bills have been proposed this session to protect private property rights. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the taking of private property by the government unless it is for a public use and the owner receives just compensation. Prior to last year, the term “public use” referred to projects such as public roads, schools, etc. Kelo v. City of New London changed that. It permits governments to seize private property for private development even when that property is not “put into use for the general public.” Defending our fundamental property rights will be a key duty of legislators this session.
establishing an Office of Inspector General (OIG) and implementing a False Claims Act (FCA). IMAGE An OIG bill was introduced last session by Rep. Bill Hinkle (R-13) (HB 1909), but was not adopted. An Inspector General would conduct, supervise, and coordinate fraud investigations. Rather than being subject to oversight by agency policy officials, fraud complaints would be set to an independent authority. A False Claims Act (FCA) would empower and encourage whistleblowers, private citizens with unique knowledge and evidence of fraud against the government, to sue on the taxpayer’s behalf. Those who knowingly submit or cause another to submit false claims for payment of government funds, commit fraud under a FCA. If convicted, offending companies are required to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to $10,000, treble damages, and costs. Whistleblowers collect 15 to 50 percent of damages. FCAs also include protections for whistleblowers—many of whom work for the offending company. Since 1986, federal and state governments with FCAs have recovered over $12 billion using the fraud-busting tool.
X SUPPORT FOR WASHINGTON SAME SEX MARRIAGE CONTINUES TO ERODE
X INSPECTOR GENERAL AND FALSE CLAIMS ACT NEEDED TO FIGHT FRAUD
ashingtonians demand for a more accountable state government has resulted in Governor Gregoire’s Government Management, Accountability, and Performance (GMAP) sessions and I-900’s performance audits. Lawmakers could continue to address this need by
he Washington State Supreme Court is considering its ruling on the constitutionality of Washington’s
Continued on page 13
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but very few voters think the court should be the final arbiter, according to a new poll. According to a new public opinion survey of Washington state adults, only 14 percent of respondents thought the state Supreme Court should have the final word on gay marriage. Even among same sex marriage supporters, only 26 percent believe the court should have a final say on the issue. Fully 60 percent of all respondents think the issue should be decided by the voters; 49 percent of respondents think a Supreme Court decision is the least acceptable solution. Fifty-four percent of people said they would be more likely to vote against incumbents who voted to overturn DOMA, including 41 percent who said they would be “much less likely” to vote for a justice who overturned DOMA. The complete Elway Poll and an analysis by Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is available at www.faithandfreedom.us.
X LT. GOVERNOR ASKS THE LEGISLATURE TO DECLARE A FUNDRAISING EMERGENCY
ieutenant Governor Brad Owen says he wants to use Washington’s emergency clause to help the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He is not offering finan-
cial or technological assistance, but says he is willing to host the annual conference of the National Lieutenant Governors’ Association (NLGA), which was originally scheduled for New Orleans. Legislative consent is not needed to approve a convention, but it is necessary to amend state ethics laws, which Lt. Gov. Owens wants changed so elected officials and staff can fundraise for the event. To make matters worse, his bill (HB 2419) also contains an emergency clause, which allows legislation to take effect immediately and exempts the people’s right of referendum. The irony is that Hurricane Katrina epitomized a true emergency, and yet even when dealing with its aftermath, Washington’s emergency clause is used solely for the convenience of public officials. Besides, there is no better way for the NLGA to support New Orleans than by holding the event elsewhere in Louisiana.
Bills would allow public funding of local campaigns by Michael Reitz
hould taxpayer money be used to finance political campaigns? Two bills before the legislature do just that—allowing public funding of campaigns for nearly all of the state’s 7,500 elected offices. State law currently prohibits the use of public funds for state and local political campaigns. House Bill 1436 and Senate Bill 6221, however, eliminate the prohibition for local campaigns. What the legislation doesn’t say is that local offices (county, city, town, school district, port district offices, etc.) comprise nearly 98 percent of the elected offices in Washington state. Of the thousands of elected positions in Washington, only 156 (legislative seats and statewide offices) would be prohibited from using public funds in their campaigns. During a January 10 hearing before the House State Government Operations & Accountability Committee, HB 1436 sponsor Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34th District) said the bill would reduce candidates’ reliance on special interests. He described it as a “local option” for local jurisdictions to implement public financing structures. Testifying on behalf of HB 1436, John King with Washington Public Campaigns said the bill would level the playing field between candidates running for office, reduce time spent for fundraising, and diminish conflicts of interest. “Elections—including reasonable campaign costs—are a public trust, both within the capacity and in the interest of the public to pay,” he said. Also in favor of the bill, Chris Chamberlin of the League of Women Voters of Washington discussed the City of Seattle’s partial public financing program, created in 1978, and said the program encouraged “wider participation” of the public in the electoral process. Between 1979 and 1991, she said, more women and minorities were elected to the Seattle City Council than ever before. Although proponents describe these bills as “enabling legislation” that give local governing bodies the option to implement public financing programs, the bills—as written—do not accomplish this. HB 1436 and SB
6221 provide no regulatory guidance for how funds should be disbursed, and do not limit the use of funds to local money. Furthermore, it is unclear whether public funds would be available for candidates for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. As a citizen of Thurston County pointed out during the January 10 committee hearing, the legislation could be construed to undermine the prohibition on using public facilities (mail systems, computers, buildings, etc.) for campaigns, addressed in a different section of the law. Apart from the fundamental question of whether taxpayers should finance political campaigns, HB 1436 and SB 6221 could create a system of flagrant misuse of public money. Without any parameters on how public monies can be used, it would be open season on taxpayer funds. The legislature continues its assault on Initiative 134 with HB 1436 and SB 6221. The measure, passed in 1992 by 72 percent of the voters, was designed to give individuals more influence in the electoral process. Citizens can already influence local elections through private, voluntary contributions, and do not need a public financing structure to supplement local races. Funding local campaigns is a first step. What’s next? It could open the floodgates for public funding of state office campaigns and ballot measures. Advocates of freedom should be concerned. Creating a public “welfare” system for political campaigns will grow government and discourage individual enterprise. Washington taxpayers do not want to be left holding the bill.
“‘Advocates of freedom should be concerned. Creating a public ‘welfare’ system for political campaigns will grow government and discourage individual enterprise. Washington state taxpayers do not want to be left holding the bill.”’
“Competition” is such a dirty word! by Marsha Richards
pparently I sometimes say shocking things out loud. Such as: “I think all schools should compete for parents’ business.” And: “I think teachers should be paid based on their ability to teach.” Of course, if you are a regular reader of EFF’s freemarket newsletter, you probably don’t find these ideas shocking. In fact, you might even say they make perfect sense. But some people would disagree with you. When I made these statements recently at a community meeting in the South Puget Sound, a few in the audience bristled. In particular, a newly hired elementary school principal. And so began an all-too-familiar exchange that usually goes something like this: Status Quo: “You can talk about competition and paying teachers based on performance, and maybe it sounds nice, but it’s a bad idea.” EFF: “Please do go on.” Status Quo: “It’s important for teachers to work together, to build community in their schools, to share a common goal. If they’re competing with each other to earn a higher salary, they won’t do that. The children will be hurt.” EFF: “Really? I thought teachers were adult professionals. It seems to me most other adult professionals are capable of working together civilly and collaboratively to achieve a common goal, even while they earn salaries based on their performance. Are teachers different?” Status Quo: “It’s important to build a respectful, team-spirited environment. Teachers shouldn’t have to compete with each other. They should be free to focus on the children.”
"...I’d say the system as a whole is failing when a large majority of the students in every grade that gets tested score less than proficient in reading, writing or math.” EFF: “Why would they be competing with each other? It seems to me they’d be competing to meet high academic standards so parents would want to send children to their school. The result would be a better school. How is that bad for kids?” Continued on page 15
A project of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Av No ai w la bl e!
An introduction to American government The Crossroads curriculum is a resource for teachers seeking an innovative civics unit. The course, which highlights America’s founding principles and their significance for citizens today, includes a two DVD set and workbook. It is most suitable for high school students. By the end of the course students will understand the core principles of democracy as established in foundational documents, including the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. They will be able to analyze the purposes and organization of government and law. Students will be aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens of the United States and the principles of democratic civil involvement.
Only $25.00 per DVD set!
For more information or to order the Crossroads curriculum, please contact us at: email@example.com Crossroads: Choosing Liberty 360.956.3482 PO Box 552 www.effwa.org/crossroads Olympia, WA 98507
Le aving a legac y By Lynn Harsh
y the close of 2005, eighteen individuals and families made EFF part of their estate planning. They are the backbone of our Legacy Club, deliberately named to convey the purpose of such giving. Nineteen other individuals and families are considering doing the same, perhaps this year. These people have made a serious commitment to us, because they believe we are providing a necessary service now, and that we will continue to do so in the future. For those of you who have already made—or who are thinking about making—a future commitment to EFF, our Board of Trustees and our staff believe we owe you the following: • a healthy organization that remains centered on delivering our stated mission; • safeguards built into our by-laws to ensure adherence to our mission in future years, when the founders are gone; • good succession planning so EFF thrives when the founders are gone; and • continued commitment to good financial management and frugality. If you believe the work of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation merits ongoing support, and you would like to consider designating EFF as a recipient of part of the fruit of your labors, this can be done fairly simply. Your estate planning can include an investment in EFF now or later or both; providing you with significant tax breaks. Such giving includes: • Appreciated securities • Bequests (will or revocable trust) • Retirement plan with designated beneficiaries • Charitable Remainder Trust • Real estate • Life insurance with designated beneficiaries. EFF staff do not offer counseling on estate planning issues, because we are unqualified to do so. But we have interviewed and investigated the track records and approaches of experts in this field. If you need a recommendation, we are happy to provide a few names to you. Because these matters are personal and the people we recommend are professionals, no personal details are discussed with us unless you direct your advisors otherwise. We will introduce you to some Legacy Club members in future editions of Living Liberty. If you are interested in talking with one of them or in obtaining more information from us, please let us know. We will sponsor at least six seminars this year for those who are interested in giving to EFF. Please tell us if you would like to receive an invitation.
A PUBLICATION OF THE EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION
WANT TO INVEST IN THE
EVERGREEN FREEDOM FOUNDATION.
Dear Friend of EFF, While we welcome every gift, our greatest need is reliable monthly support. It is imperative for reaching our goals. Please consider monthly giving as a way to invest in the cause of freedom. Our secure e-Giving System ensures that more of your contribution goes directly to our work. Cordially,
Please mail or fax in this form (fax 360-352-1874) or call 360-956-3482. We will send you a confirmation letter for your records. Bank Debit/Credit Card Donation Authorization I request my bank or credit card company to transfer funds in the amount of $ each month until further notice. I understand that I am in full control of my donation, and that I can decide to make any changes or discontinue the service at any time by calling 360-956-3482 or writing to EFF. Please indicate your preferred withdrawal date:
I would like to give a one time gift of $ Signature
...BECAUSE FREEDOM M ATTERS!
Date (required for bank and credit card donations)
Checking Account–e-Giving Systems (Attach a voided check) Savings Account–e-Giving Systems (Attach a voided deposit slip) VISA
Credit card #
Expiration date: Personal Information Name
City, State, Zip
Your Donations to EFF are Tax Deductible!
Competition continued from page 14. . . Status Quo: “Some people have a hard time working together when they know the focus is on how they perform individually, instead of on their ability to be a team.” EFF: “Well…forgive me, but those people aren’t thinking like professionals.” Status Quo: “Besides, competition doesn’t always work. Just compare American car companies with Japanese car companies. American companies are really focused on competing with each other, while Japanese companies are focused on working together to provide a better product.” EFF: “Of course Japanese car companies compete! And even if they weren’t competing with each other, they’re certainly competing with American car companies. And guess who benefits? That’s right, you, the consumer. You get to choose among dozens of automobiles. You get to shop and find the highest value for your dollar. Why would you want to deny the same array of choices to parents and students seeking the best education possible?” Status Quo: “Even if that’s true, our public schools are getting better and better without competition.” EFF: “No, actually, they’re not. In fact, I’d say the system as a whole is failing when a large majority of the
students in every grade that gets tested score less than proficient in reading, writing or math.” Status Quo: “That’s because we’re not serious yet about spending enough money on education.” EFF: “No, it’s because our public school system is a monopoly. It’s because parents don’t get to take their business to the schools that are doing the best job. Instead they have to keep paying for the schools that are not performing well. I’m sure the manufacturers of the Pinto would have loved such a system.” Status Quo: “That’s simplistic and unkind.” EFF: “Frankly, I think it’s simplistic to put the blame on what you say is inadequate spending. And it’s unkind to sentence children to a mediocre education because the adults operating our schools would rather not feel the healthy pressures associated with accountability.” “The status quo won’t fix the system, partly because it serves them well and partly because they are afraid of the alternatives. We need to be far more afraid of what will happen to a nation full of under-educated citizens. We must empower parents and unhobble extraordinary teachers. If we do this, our country will once again be the land of opportunity it was destined to be.”