As the Seattle Times reports, state senate Republican caucus leader Mark Schoesler (R-9, Ritzville) said he does not anticipate senate floor votes on Adam Kline's (D-37) gun control legislation or Steve Hobbs' (D-44) Reproductive Parity Act, which would require insurers that provide maternity care to also cover abortion, because they'll be too busy dealing with weightier matters.
"I would rather see our time focused on how we get to a four-year balanced budget, how we reform K-12, what we do about higher education," the Times quotes Schoesler as saying.
I was curious what kind of issues Schoesler himself considered more important than a woman's right to choose and preventing guns from falling into the hands of felons. Here are five bills that Schoesler has taken time from his busy schedule focusing on the budget, K-12, and higher education to prime or co-sponsor:
• A bill that would automatically terminate the inheritance rights of stepchildren whose parents get divorced unless the stepparent explicitly says otherwise in the will;
• A bill to legalize cigar lounges;
• A bill to let married couples (and only married couples) combine their volunteer hours for the purposes of getting a free Discover Pass to state parks;
• A bill (which would cost $100,000 a biennium) to pay livestock owners whose animals are killed by wolves;
• A bill to ensure that food stamp recipients can't use their EBT cards to buy weed;
• A bill extending a tax break for beekeepers for three additional years; and
• Legislation renaming I-5 "The Purple Heart Trail."
Those bills are, of course, on top of more substantive bills that would gut workers' comp, repeal the Family and Medical Leave Act, create a subminimum "training wage" for the state's lowest-income employees, and allow the state to count (already abundant) hydroelectric power toward its renewable portfolio.
The point here isn't that smaller bills shouldn't be filed when big issues are on the front burner. But the fact that Schoesler dismisses bills promoting gun control and women's rights as too petty to waste time on in light of budget and education funding needs while fighting for things like cigar bars and tax breaks for bees suggests that it isn't Kline and Hobbs whose priorities are out of whack.