Morgan Irwin is Legislator of the Year — please join us in congratulating him

by | Mar 19, 2018

While most freshman legislators would have kept their heads down and played it safe their first legislative session, Rep. Morgan Irwin went full pit-bull in defense of the initiative process.

In attacking and ultimately killing one of the worst anti-initiative bills this year, he was relentless, well-spoken, well-informed, and effective.

And for that, he’s earned our admiration, our thanks, and our Legislator of the Year Award for 2018.

For weeks and weeks this legislative session, hundreds and hundreds of regular citizens had been emailing and calling legislators asking them, begging them, to protect the initiative process from politicians and special interest groups whose sole focus this session was to legislatively strangle the initiative process.

Thankfully, finally, one legislator in the House really came riding to the rescue. Morgan Irwin is a new house member, a Republican from the 31st district (south King County).

He really went after SB5397 in committee, that horrible anti-initiative bill that forces people, before being allowed to collect signatures for initiatives, to be registered, licensed, trained, criminal background checks, photo headshots, drivers licenses, names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses.

With no serious examination, the Senate had already passed this anti-initiative bill and was before the House.

But as the bill was scheduled for a final committee vote, Morgan Irwin filed and pushed 17 amendments in an effort to correct some of the bill’s many flaws. Each amendment put a spotlight on it, forcing a needed discussion and exploration of the burdens imposed by the bill. And he forced a vote by members of the committee on each amendment. The discussion, debate, and votes on his 17 amendments took 42 minutes.

Here was his closing remarks:

“The 17 or so amendments, I think I originally drafted 21 amendments, are all seeking to focus the bill. I think we have a duty to listen to the people of Washington state as often as we can and try and fulfill their will. If we don’t do that as legislators, then they have the opportunity through the initiative process to do it themselves. This bill, whether intended or not, will limit the initiative process. This bill will do that. It will make it harder, it will make it more expensive. That’s been the result in other states that have adopted similar legislation. In Oregon, it’s gone up something like 300 or 400%. So not only are we limiting the initiative process, but we are making it only available to those who are the most well-funded, which is the worst kind of limiting because our poor and unrepresented feel the initiative process is their last thing to lean on. And they won’t be able to because they simply won’t be able to afford the signature gathering process. I urge a no vote on the bill, I don’t think it’s ready, I think there’s a lot of problems with it and its effects will be very detrimental to the state of Washington. … This bill is less about signature gatherers and more about strangling the initiative process.”


When all was said and done, none of his amendments were accepted.

But he showed he was willing to fight and that he was filling to put his amendments on the floor if necessary. The bad guys knew they had a fight on their hands if the bill made it to the floor. It never did.

It was Morgan Irwin’s Herculean efforts in committee and behind-the-scenes that ultimately killed the bill and saved the initiative process!

It’s important for all of us to thank Morgan Irwin and congratulate him for earning this award. Send him an email that says this, or something like this:

“Rep. Irwin, congratulations for being named Legislator of the Year. You earned it. Thanks to your blizzard of amendments, you ultimately killed that horrible anti-initiative bill. That would be a good accomplishment for a veteran legislator, but it’s nothing short of remarkable to a freshman after being appointed to your position. It took courage to do what you did and I admire you for putting yourself out there on behalf of the people. It is citizen legislators like you who give me hope.”

Subject line: Morgan Irwin is Legislator of the Year — please join us in congratulating him.

In the To line of your email, put this:;

In the bcc line of your email, cut and paste the email addresses of his fellow house members:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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