In surprise news this evening that excited pregnancy care center supporters, the Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care removed SB 5274 from its Monday executive session agenda.
Monday is the last day for bills to be voted out of committee for this legislative session, and so the decision by Committee Chair Karen Kaiser is being heralded as a victory for pro-lifers, not to mention supporters of fairness and the Constitution.
Senator Kaiser has not issued any statement accompanying the decision, but the interpretation is that at least one of the Democrats on the committee made it clear to her that she did not have the votes. The balance of power on the committee is 5-4 for the Democrats, so if all the Republicans vote no, a single Democrat dissenter can kill a bill.
Last year Senator Ed Murray, the openly homosexual legislator who was behind this state's controversial "gay rights" measures, actually came out against the bill, winning unusual support from pro-family activists. This year, however, all the Democratic senators on the committee, including Murray, are co-sponsors. Yet pregnancy center lobbyists have been working hard to educate committeemen like Murray, Craig Pridemore (Vancouver), and Steve Conway (Tacoma).
It seems some of that effort has been paying off.
Insiders caution that this isn't a full-out victory yet. The House bill, HB1366, could still emerge from the House Rules Committee, and pass a floor vote, in which case it would come to the Senate for consideration. If it does so, without significant amendment, it's not clear why the committee would take it up.
But anything is possible in Olympia.