Next state under fire: Washington

Just like in New Jersey and Mississippi, there’s a legislative effort under way that would eliminate the Governor’s Motorcycle Advisory Board on June 30, 2009 or at least suspend it until 2011—two years from now. And, like in Mississippi is doing it through multiple bills as well.

The non-highway and off-road vehicle advisory board would be axed as well at the end of June 2010. The Land Management Advisory Board would be eliminated right away. Iow, any rider input into areas that have the most to do with motorcycle and safety would be terminated.

Otoh, the State Commission for Blind Vendors is only being reviewed as to whether it should be kept. Priorities, folks. Priorities…

All the bills were introduced at the request of Democratic Governor Gregoire. There’s 470 commissions, advisory boards and boards and under sweeping legislation more than 150 boards of them will be eliminated. The Governor’s Government Reform site states, they were “were created with the best intentions, but often make it more cumbersome and costly to serve the people of the state.”

The Motorcycle Advisory Board, comprised of 5 people, is paid an hourly stipend from doorway to doorway. It must meet at least 2 times a year. The stipends are paid out of the funds collected through motorcycle endorsements and registrations—so riders are paying directly to have their voices and interests represented. That money (theoretically) cannot be used for general funds–nor would the little spent on the board make a difference in Washington’s serious budget crisis. 

This effort in Washington means that it’s up to three Advisory boards that are under attack or not being allowed to form. And even though this one is part of a massive takedown of citizen input into government, it’s still part of a developing pattern or trend. It’s almost as if it’s open season on Motorcycle Safety Advisory Boards.

It’s almost as if their existence was somehow threatening to TPTB—but that’s ridiculous, right?

I will remind readers once again that it was the Oregon Advisory Board that kept MSF from obtaining the driver’s license-waiver and led MSF to filing the copyright infringement lawsuit against TEAM Oregon. And it’s the Oregon Advisory Board that is now going to reconsider Harley’s plea to be given the driver’s license-waiver.

And it was the Hawaiian Advisory Board that fought MSF for so long in changing over to the BRC from the RSS—and, according to sources, it only yielded after Ray Ochs flew out there monthly to wine, dine and persuade the local motorcycle rights group and the representative on the board that owned a Harley dealership bought up enough other dealerships to buy another seat on the board.

And it was the Washington Task Force that recommended a presumptive shift to TEAM Oregon’s curriculum. Three of the five Advisory Board members were on that Task Force. (Btw, that finding was just before the Oregon Governor’s Advisory Board turned MSF down).

So, in three cases, the motorcycle manufacturers’ desires hung on the will of an boards or task forces—and those are full of motorcycle rights activists and ordinary riders and light on industry types.

For example, the Washington board is specifically made up of those who do not have a vested financial interest in motorcycles. Instead, 3 members were either “active motorcycle riders or members of non-profit organizations which actively supports and promotes motorcycle safety education”. Another had to be a currently employed motorcycle police officer and the last member was a “member of the public.”

No more, however, if any of these bills pass as written, the direct input and oversight of Washington’s riders will be silenced.

Here are the bills: This one takes down the Motorcycle Advisory board directly: HB 2087 (see section 34) but leaves the program intact including the right of the Director of the program to “contract with public and private entities to implement this program.”

As mentioned, Governor Gregoire (D) requested this legislation—though it was Governor Gregoire that requested the Task Force that examined motorcycle safety and training in Washington to be formed. This bill is sponsored by Representatives Larry Springer (D), Ross Hunter (D) and Troy Kelley (D).

SB5959 is the companion bill introduced in the senate by Senator Craig Pridemore (D), Mark Schoesler (R) and Jim Honeyford (R). It too was introduced at the request of the Governor.

WA HB 1497, according to “Texas” Larry Walker, the government relations specialist for the Washington Road Riders Association, it takes down the entire motorcycle safety program in (see section 901 (12) by removing the entire section in the code.

The way the legislation is written in Washington, the program itself and the board are in the same, very short section. However, since HB 2087 just removes the board, it may either be an honest mistake or a distraction so people worry about that and feel relieved its “only” the board that’s eliminated. Otoh, maybe Texas is right and it’s going down if the TPTB have their way.

HB 1497 was introduced by Representatives Ross Hunter (D) and Seaquist (D).

The question must be asked: is there a value in riders having direct participation in matters of motorcycle safety and training in their own state? Or can you trust the governement and industry to look out for what’s best for you?

So, boyz and gurlz, are things getting a little too coincidental to be coincidental for you yet?


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Explore posts in the same categories: Motorcycle Industry, Motorcycle legislation, Motorcycle Rights, Motorcycle Safety

5 Comments on “Next state under fire: Washington”

  1. Stew Says:

    Wendy,

    Rest assured, not matter what happens to the Board, there will always be public participation in the program. DOL is committed to that. The Board can exist without a statutory mandate and will.

  2. wmoon Says:

    Thanks, Stew. Good to know. My concern is more about the pattern that’s developing in terms of advisory boards. And while I believe you, if promises and good intentions it would be a very different society we lived in. You may be right but I prefer some kind of actual accountability when it comes to government and corporations. But maybe that’s just me…
    W.

  3. gymnast Says:

    Just for laughs, do a web-search of “Motorcycle Industry Council+Political Contributions”

  4. gymnast Says:

    Apparently the position of the MSF is that if it cannot “stack” a states motorcycle safety advisory board to work it’s will, then eliminating the motorcycle safety advisory board is the chosen strategy of the MSF in order to impose its will.

  5. wmoon Says:

    Gymnast, I don’t think MSF had much (if anything) to do with Washington. I hardly think that they could even conceive of taking down over 1/3 of the advisory boards, etc. in the state just to take down the motorcycle ones.


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