I’m happy about what we accomplished on Friday February 22, 2019, at a Washington State Senate committee.
Our statewide coalition, Washington Against Nuclear Weapons (www.wanwcoalition.org) convinced the State Senate’s Committee on Government, Tribal Relations & Elections to pass our proposal for the Washington State Legislature to call upon Congress to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war.
In June 2018 Olympia’s Bob Zeigler suggested that we write and promote such legislation in the form of a “Memorial to Congress” that would make nuclear weapons an issue needing state legislative action and pressuring our state’s congressional delegation to know that the public and our state legislature are deeply concerned. I liked Bob’s suggestion and each of us worked on wording.
I proposed the wording to our statewide coalition, WANW, along with a plan for using this to make nuclear weapons a statewide issue and using the 2018 election season (when all 98 House positions and half of the 49 Senate positions would be filled), because during the campaign season politicians are most receptive to hearing from constituents. This would create an opportunity for nuclear weapons opponents to strike up conversations with candidates in each of the 49 legislative districts, write letters to editors of all local newspapers statewide, and do other kinds of outreach throughout the state. This would not only significantly increase visibility of nuclear weapons but would also help WANW to become more of a statewide organization and would help WANW grow significantly. Unfortunately, WANW did not take my advice for such outreach and waited until after the November election.
We did end up with a State Senate bill (SJM 8006) at this link — http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Joint%20Memorials/8006-Nuclear%20war-checks,%20balances.pdf — and a similar bill in the State House.
On Friday February 22, 2019, the State Senate committee heard testimony from a good number of us, and additional WANW members attended without testifying. Nobody testified in opposition. Immediately after the testimony, the committee voted to pass SJM 8006. Now it will go to the Senate Rules Committee, which can choose to ignore it or send it to the Senate floor for a vote of all state senators. I am not aware of any action yet on the House version of SJM 8006. I did sign up with the legislature to be notified of further progress on SJM 8006.
See the testimony I gave at the link at the end of this paragraph. I wrote a 3-minute version, and – because sometimes the legislative committee does not have time for a 3-minute testimony – I edited it down to the shorter version that would fit into the time available. The attached document starts with the longer one and is followed by the shorter one. After testifying, I gave the committee copies of the longer version. See it at this link: http://parallaxperspectives.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-02-22-HANDOUT-for-TESTIMONY-for-SJM-8006.docx
Carly Brook, WANW’s organizer did a great job of mobilizing people to participate. She also took the photo I’ve attached here: