House Democrats Rush Budget Vote, Disenfranchise Citizens

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At 1:30 a.m. today, April 23, the $33 billion operating budget was sent to House members in the Washington State Legislature. The cutoff for amendments was noon, and the vote was this afternoon, giving members just a few hours to read hundreds of pages.

Worse, the amendment cutoff for the capital budget was 3 p.m., but the budget was not released to members until 3:25 p.m. That's right, you had to get your amendment in before you actually saw the budget, let alone had a chance to read it.

It used to be that no budget could be voted on for 24 hours following its release. That rule was abolished by the legislature in January. Now budgets are being rammed through without many legislators ever having a serious chance to see it.

This is -- in case you were wondering -- not representative government. Representative government requires that your representative be offered the opportunity to make an informed decision on your behalf.

The length of time between the release of any bill and a vote to approve it must be significant enough to allow the legislators to examine the bill's contents. Anything less violates our federal constitutional right to a republican form of government.

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