Editor’s note: Today’s editorials originally appeared in The (Kennewick) Tri-City Herald and Tacoma News Tribune. Editorial content from other publications and authors is provided to give readers a sampling of regional and national opinion and does not necessarily reflect positions endorsed by the Editorial Board of The Daily News.
Governor Jay Inslee’s office has been bombarded this week with emails and phone calls from citizens urging him to stop the Legislature’s inexcusable attempt to set itself above the public records law.
That kind of encouragement from constituents should make the decision an easy one.
However, on Monday, Inslee told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that while he thought Senate Bill 6617 was a “bad idea,” he could not block it because it was approved with a veto-proof majority.
“So I don’t have control at the moment,” he said.
Actually, he does.
His response is puzzling considering that two years ago Inslee made state history by vetoing 27 bills in a single night.
It wasn’t that he opposed the bills. In fact, there were several he had backed personally and had requested the Legislature approve.
But Inslee vetoed them to make a statement.
At the time, he was frustrated the Legislature once again was headed for an overtime session. Inslee told lawmakers he would veto every bill on his desk if they could not agree on a supplemental budget before the session deadline.
Lawmakers shrugged the threat off and continued with their negotiating.
But Inslee wasn’t bluffing. He followed through with his ultimatum and vetoed a record number of bills all at once.
Eventually, legislators agreed on a budget and set to work overriding Inslee’s vetoes bill by bill.
So we have to ask: If the governor could use his veto power to make a statement two years ago, why can’t he do it again — especially when so many people are counting on him to do just that?
His answer to Hayes doesn’t fly.
Inslee met with the MSNBC journalist after attending a gathering of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C.
The governors met with President Donald Trump Monday, and Inslee told Trump he recommended “less tweeting” and “more listening” to teachers who don’t want to carry a firearm in the classroom. It was a bold moment.
We would like to see him stand up to the Legislature with the same confidence he demonstrated at the White House. As of this writing, that hasn’t happened yet.
In the wake of that Q&A with the president, Hayes chatted with Inslee and put him on the spot about whether he would veto the Legislature’s public records bill.
It was written in secret, introduced and rammed through both chambers within 48 hours last week. There were no public hearings, only a quickly scheduled comment period during a work session.
But the public is speaking up now.
Inslee’s staff said on Tuesday they received 1,800 calls and about 4,000 emails, almost all in opposition to the legislation, according to KOMO News. This public outrage should not be ignored.
A veto by Inslee would send the bill back to the Legislature where lawmakers would have the chance to do the right thing and vote it down.
The governor has used his veto power to make a statement before. He should do so again.
Kudos for taking school threats seriously
Two weeks after the campus massacre in South Florida, there’s been an awakening of new attitudes about firearms across America, led in no small part by the shellshocked but determined students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who lost 17 friends and faculty.
A reality check is warranted. Our country has been down this road too many times before, from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Las Vegas, and we’ve walked away with no meaningful change in gun policy or culture to show for it.
And yet small triumphs are suddenly happening too often to dismiss.
Washington state lawmakers approved a ban on bump stocks that essentially turn semi-automatic into automatic weapons. (President Trump voiced interest in doing the same nationally.) They’re also reconsidering legislation, which appeared dead in Olympia two weeks ago, to sharpen background checks and limit assault-rifle sales.
A national firearms retailer leaped ahead of politicians Wednesday; Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it would end store sales of assault-style rifles and quit selling any guns to customers younger than 21.
And let’s not overlook something local but strikingly significant that occurred this week, playing out in the normally invisible world of Pierce County Juvenile Court.
On Monday, the importance of students and other bystanders speaking up when they’re aware of school security threats was revealed in a powerful three-part harmony.
Court Commissioner Mark Gelman heard the troubling cases of three Pierce County students — A 12 year-old from Truman Middle School, a 15-year-old from Lincoln High and a 17-year-old from Spanaway Lake High — and ruled each serious enough to merit holding the youths in detention at Tacoma’s Remann Hall.
Each case involved a boy allegedly threatening to shoot up his school; two of them issued menacing declarations via social media, while the third engaged in scary talk on a school bus.
What these episodes have in common are vigilant students, parents or grandparents who shook off any temptation to minimize the risk — say, due to the pre-teen age of one suspect — and instead wisely reported it to authorities.
The gunshot fired Monday in a restroom at Tacoma’s Oakland alternative high school should be a wake-up call to anyone still in denial that weapons are finding their way into our schools.
People who spot red flags in advance help give new meaning to the term “first responders.” Their eyes and ears are equally invaluable when young people threaten to harm themselves.
Officials should make it easier for the public to report homicidal or suicidal talk through the expansion of anonymous phone lines and digital technology.
“No concern is too small to report,” Tacoma police said in a statement Sunday. “The citizens who observed these threats over social media, and made the call to report them, are to be commended.”
Tacoma school officials chimed in on the district’s Facebook page: “... thank you to all the good people in our community who saw and reported the threats to TPD. #SeeSomethingSaySomething”
In their own modest way, these witnesses are rising to the challenge of our violent times as surely as the high school students of Parkland, Florida.