True Alarm

Friday, April 22, 2005

True Alarm

Yesterday, I wondered aloud whether mistaken information was circulating about an anti-discrimination bill that Microsoft had stopped supporting in Washington State. It turns out that the information was correct: the bill did come up for a vote this week (yesterday, in fact) and was voted down.

(For those who care about such things, the bill escaped from the Judiciary Committee, where it supposedly had been sent to die. The key Democrat on the committee, who opposed the bill, nonetheless voted to send it back out of committee and to the floor, explaining that he thought his fellow Senators ought to have a chance to vote up or down on it; he then voted down.)

I'm still somewhat baffled by the legislature's website, which yesterday showed no indication that the committee was even going to meet, let alone send the bill back to the floor. But the website shows today that the committee was "relieved of further consideration" and the bill was voted on. Yesterday's calendar still shows no meeting of the committee.

I'm no expert in legislative procedure. But I figure if a pretty intelligent (if I say it myself) lawyer can't figure out what's about to happen to a bill on the day it's happening, a good chunk of the citizenry probably also couldn't have figured it out. Not to denigrate the website, which is pretty user-friendly and does have a lot of information, but that's an unfortunate situation in a representative democracy.

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