Section One

April 8, 2005

Volume 33,
Issue 14

Sat, Feb 27, 2016


Delay or death knell?
Two Democrats deliver serious blow to Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Bill
picture main page - Senator Tim Sheldon; story page - Senator James Hargrove

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

Up until this week, hopes remained high that this would be the year the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Bill (HB 1515) would become law. The bill passed through the House in February and had a hugely successful hearing in the Senate last month such that everyone from state politicians to your average queer on the street was eager to see this bill finally pass on to Gov. Gregoire’s desk for her promised signature.

All the ducks were in a row, the hard work had been done, and the 30 years of lobbying looked like it was about to pay off.

Then, out of “right” field came a dirty trick this week - two Senate Democrats - Jim Hargrove (D-24-Clallam, Jefferson and Grays Harbor Counties) and Tim Sheldon (D-35-Mason and portions of Grays Harbor, Kitsap and Thurston Counties) - sided with Republicans and voted to send the bill to yet another committee, one hostile to the bill. All obvious signs now point to its demise as the bill stands little chance of returning to the floor of the Senate for a vote. However, the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Ed. Murray, says he is not down for the count and maintains full confidence that the bill will recover from this latest sucker punch.

The legislation would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, insurance and commercial transactions. Sixteen states, the City of Seattle, Metropolitan King County and seven other municipalities in Washington State already prohibit such discrimination.


Rep. Murray (D-43) called the parliamentary maneuver to send the bill to committee a “delay.”

“I know the news reports in yesterday’s papers were a shock and I know all of you are as disappointed as I am,” Rep. Murray posted Thursday in a newsgroup for Equal Rights Washington (ERW). “Having said that I want you to know that HB1515 is not dead! I still believe we can get the bill to the Senate floor and pass it this year. If I thought otherwise I would not lead you on only to be disappointed.

“I would ask that double your already significant efforts to pass this bill. In addition please forward this message far and wide and let people know that we have only begun to fight.”

ERW has put out the call for volunteers to help with phone calling to supporters of the bill in “key” areas in hopes that pressure from their constituents will sway the needed legislators to get the bill passed. In a posting to its newsgroup Thursday, ERW states: “ERW is not giving up. We’re continuing to apply pressure. You can help by donating just two hours of your time to help us make phone calls to supporters in key districts. We do this from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday. We are convinced there are weak links in the opponents’ armor - and that pressure from constituents can turn the tide. Two hours of your time is what we need. Email for details, or visit”

Things remain quite dicey, however, with Hargrove sitting on the Judiciary Committee and therefore making the Democrats’ 5-4 dvantage there moot, leaving Republicans in charge of what happens to the bill.

Democrats hold a 26 to 23 advantage in the Senate, but conservative Democrats Hargrove and Sheldon often side with Republicans on issues, and the two stayed true to form as they cast the tie breaking vote that sent the bill to the Judiciary Committee this week.

Leslie Robinson

Madelyn Arnold