"Ghost bills" prompt vexing questions about Washington Legislature

KVI's John Carlson interviews St. Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) about how so-called "ghost bills" were used in the final days of the 2019 Washington Legislative session to pass four different tax hikes that Walsh thinks wouldn't have succeeded had they been subjected to the ordinary process of being debated in committee hearings earlier in the session that ended on April 28, 2019. (meme from

"Its sneaky", says St. Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen), "they know its wrong."

He's referring to the use of "ghost bills" in the Washington Legislative session that just concluded on April 28, 2019.

The latest legislative session was controlled by Democrats who hold majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Ghost bills, Walsh says, are "sometimes called 'title only' bills."

Walsh gives the following example to KVI, saying, "So the bill is dropped (submitted) by its (legislative) sponsor and it has a title but go to read the body of the (bill) thing and there's nothing there. And the title will be something very vague, ya know, 'legislation to support education' or something like that so ya know you don't know what the bill actually is doing."

He says the process adheres to Constitutional requirements and is lawful. But its also done with very little public notification, and in the case of the most recent legislative session: at the last minute.

Walsh continues, its"done on the (House or Senate) Floor very late in the game (session), and so there's no hearing, no public comment. Most of these (ghost bills) literally got done in the dark of the night. We were running (voting on) these bills with their amendments at midnight, 2 o'clock in the morning, stuff like this" in the final days of the Legislative session last month."

Walsh thinks the Democrats relied on "ghost bills" at the end of the session to pass four tax hikes that wouldn't have been supported during the normal committee hearing process earlier in the session. He tells KVI, "Why is this happening? Well, because the people pushing these tax increases know that the people of Washington don't like them. And so this is a way to push tax increases--or whatever the policy is--policy that isn't supported by the voters and the people. Its a way to kind of push it through with a minimum of review, minimum of public comment, a minimum of even media review. "

For the entire KVI interview, click the image above.

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