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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CALIFORNIA - "Not my fault" Lane Sharing Bill Not Getting A Hearing Says Clibborn

During a meeting this afternoon (Monday, March 13th) with members of ABATE of Washington, House Transportation Committee Chair Judy Clibborn stated that it was "not my fault" that a public hearing on SSB5378 (The Lane Sharing Bill) would not  be held .  Rep. Clibborn repeated several times that "everyone" opposed the bill, and that "no one wanted to vote on this bill."  This would seem to contradict information given by other members of the House Majority Caucus since Saturday morning.  Those members were either openly supportive of the bill, or had stated that they had requested the Chair to hold a hearing on 5378.

During the brief fifteen minute meeting with Rep. Clibborn, the fact that the previous meeting She had was with Washington State Patrol Captain Monica Alexander was noted by the ABATE members.  Rep. Clibborn stated that they hadn't discussed the Lane Sharing Bill.  Then a few seconds later altered that statement by saying that Capt. Alexander had brought up the Lane Sharing Bill at the end of their meeting, and showed her about a five minute video depicting a motorcyclist lane splitting at a high rate of speed.  When ABATE members commented that the behavior would be illegal under the bill, Rep. Clibborn acknowledged that fact, but repeated that "everyone" was telling her not to hold a hearing on the bill.  Since the acts performed in the video would be illegal under 5378, it is difficult to come to any conclusion other than the WSP was trying to use illegal acts that some may commit in the future to discourage the passing of a law.  Especially when Rep. Clibborn commented, more than once, that she knew that "responsible riders like you" wouldn't break the law, "but the other 50% of riders" would be irresponsible enough to violet the requirements set forth in the bill.  When asked how, if one could use the reasoning that it was better not to support a law because someone would violate it, she could support any legislation, Rep. Clibborn remained silent.

The blanket statement that "50% of riders" would be irresponsible enough to violate the law seems to support the opinion many motorcyclists in Washington State have long held that Rep. Clibborn has a strong bias against motorcyclists.  The smile that came to Rep. Clibborns mouth every time she made a statement like; "It's not my fault", "no one wants to vote on this bill", or "everyone is against this bill", left those in the meeting with the feeling that Rep. Clibborn was insincere at best.  This sentiment was only strengthened by comments from members of her own committee stating that they had little influence on her decisions about which bills to hold hearings on, and that only the Committee Chair chose which bills would get a hearing.  Yet the Chair's repeated statements that "it wasn't my fault" would seem to say someone else at least has a compelling influence on what bills are given public hearings, and what bills are not.  Saying once that she "had been told" not to hold a hearing, Rep. Clibborn seemed to suggest that was true.

It does seem odd that following only a week or two after the news stories of angry tax payers whose motor vehicle license fees were increasing as much as 300% or more in her district, that she wouldn't want to be seen at least listening to a flexible traffic congestion relief measure that wouldn't cost her constituents even a fraction of the $58 billion of the current Sound Transit light rail project.  But then, the only motorcycle related bill to be heard in her committee since she became chair, was due to pressure from the Speaker of the House.  During this 2017 session alone, approximately six or seven motorcycle related bills have been referred to the House Transportation Committee.  Not one has even been scheduled for a hearing, and all have expired this session due to inaction on the Chairs part.

The first two sentences of the Washington State House Democrats webpage for their values on Transportation states; "Everyone should have the freedom to travel quickly and reliably, regardless of where they come from or where they are going.  A modern transportation system with options for all commuters promotes not just mobility, but equality and opportunity."  Could it be that if such an option doesn't come with a multi-billion dollar construction budget, it isn't worthy of consideration?  Further down on the House Democrats webpage, the third paragraph reads; "Commuters need to be able to get to their jobs without wasting time and money stuck in traffic."  Yet Rep. Clibborn refuses to even hear a bill that would allow a traffic congestion relief measure that has been demonstrated to be effective in Europe, Australia, Asia, and even here in the US in California.  If it's not the Committee Chairs fault that she refuses to hold a hearing on 5378, then that begs the question, whose fault is it?

Catch you on the road sometime...