If you were holding a public hearing on problem gambling, wouldn’t you invite the state’s leading problem gambling advocate as one of the speakers?
Apparently not if you’re State Senator Jim Honeyford (R, Sunnyside,) whose glaring failure to invite Jennifer McCausland to his Commerce & Trade Committee hearing on Monday calls into question his seriousness of purpose on this crucial issue. Once again.
I just came across a press release from Ms. McCausland’s Second Chance Washington announcing their new proposal to create an executive level office to coordinate gambling policy in Washington state. The proposal was unveiled today before Governor Locke and his working group on problem gambling. Ms. McCausland has also been invited to present her proposal before the House Commerce & Labor Committee on Monday, and a Washington State Gambling Commission working group on Wednesday.
But the following understated tidbit jumped out at me:
The Senate Commerce and Trade Committee is also holding hearings Monday to discuss long-term funding for problem gambling treatment and prevention. Committee Chair, Sen. Jim Honeyford has not extended an invitation to Second Chance Washington, but Ms. McCausland promises to be in attendance regardless.
I sure hope she’s in attendance, and if they don’t let her speak, I hope she yells bloody murder.
Ms. McCausland was the leading proponent in the last legislative session of a bill that would have provided permanent funding for problem gambling treatment and prevention programs… a bill that after gambling industry lobbyists were done with it was whittled down to little more than a stopgap measure.
But even that was too much for Sen. Honeyford, who according to the Seattle P-I killed the bill in committee, never allowing it to come to the floor for a vote. [State tosses dice on gambling]
But then what do you expect from the Senator an industry trade journal calls “the best bet for expanding gambling in Washington,” and who describes himself as sympathetic to the gambling industry’s efforts to legalize slot machines… now embodied in Tim Eyman’s initiative-for-hire I-892?
So let me get this straight: the man who controls problem gambling legislation in the Senate a) supports the most massive expansion of gambling in state history, and b) has a history of killing problem gambling legislation.
What a joke.
If we really want reasonable gambling legislation, we’re going to have to elect ourselves more reasonable senators.