Freedom Foundation

State newspapers expose SB 6199 for the political payback it is

Gov. Jay Inslee and his Democratic cohorts, having finagled a narrow majority in the Washington State Senate and, thus, control of both Houses of the Legislature for at least the current session, are pushing hard to pass a laundry list of bills they hope will inoculate their benefactors in the public-employee unions against the expected U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer in Janus v. AFSCME while also making our work at the Freedom Foundation more difficult.

Helpfully, even the reliably liberal media in this state have taken notice and published harsh editorials critical of the Dems, the unions and the shabby tactics they’re employing.

In a Feb. 7 editorial headlined “Legislators, Don’t Cave in to Homecare Union, Reject Bill That Would Increase DSHS Costs,” the Seattle Times, in fact, rightly blames Senate Bill 6199 on “ideological war between the conservative Freedom Foundation and a powerful union representing in-home care providers.”

Briefly, the bill is being sold as an effort to streamline administration of a program under which low-income disabled Washingtonians are care for at home by friends and relatives who earn a stipend through Medicaid.

In fact, the SB 6199 would create an additional level of bureaucracy and cost Washington taxpayers tens of millions more for the same service. Meanwhile, by outsourcing oversight of the program to a so-called “consumer-directed employer,” around 35,000 caregivers for whom union dues and fees became optional because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 Harris v. Quinn ruling would be forced back into the union as a condition of employment.

SB 6199 is nothing short of a quid pro quo from Inslee to the unions, which have been the single largest contributor to both of his campaigns.

The Times editorial notes:

“Washington should be proud of its progressive system of delivering in-home care via individual providers. It’s a shame that it’s now a political football … Legislators shouldn’t make it worse with SB 6199.”

The (Longview) Daily News was even more blunt in its assessment. In a Feb. 8 article headlined, “Package of Labor Bills Could Bolster Local Union Membership,” reporter Zack Hale includes a quote Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) in which he labels SB 6199 “the most disingenuous and cynical bill in Olympia.”

The article continues:

“(Braun) said the bill is designed to appease the Service Employees International Union local 775, a union representing home caregivers that has historically given tens of millions of dollars to Democrats.”

When even Inslee’s expected allies in the media won’t provide cover for his latest political payoff using your money, you know something’s very wrong.