A few weeks ago, an activist named Jeff Roberts emailed us about a bill in Washington State, SB5742. It was introduced by Bob Hasegawa, and seeks to nullify NDAA indefinite detention in the state.  It’s a good bill, philosophically, and we support it.

We reported on the bill to let people know about it here on the TAC blog. We also did some behind the scenes work – as we do with most bills – to determine whether or not the bill even had a chance of moving forward. It has been our view that the chair of the committee that the bill was sent to, Sen. Mike Padden, wasn’t going to give the bill a hearing and vote no matter what.  Once Feb. 20th came and passed – the deadline for bills to be voted out of committee in 2015, Padden had done just that, refused to even hear the bill publicly.

It’s unfortunate, but something that happens with most bills that reject federal power and advance liberty.

Today, we sent out an action alert on one of the few such bills still alive in WA State, HB1552. This bill would authorize commercial hemp farming and production, effectively nullifying the federal ban.  It passed out of its first committee on time, but the next committee is holding the bill up. Our view is that it’s likely he’ll kill the bill, but he might be moved with some public pressure.  So, we urged people to call him and let him know they want a public vote on it.

In response to that, Roberts wrote in to yell at us by email.  He told us this, in part:

TAC is worthless! Do you only promote Matt Shea bills?
Where were the “action alerts” when SB5742 was trying to get a public hearing?
He also complained about a different bill we promoted previously, and told us how pitiful we are because we chose today to support HB1552 by email and didn’t do the same with SB5742 (even though we knew it wouldn’t make a difference).  I tend to see all the email that comes in, but rarely have time to get back to people.  This Roberts-guy, though, is just not someone I would normally waste my time on, but he represents a segment of people who are always directing their anger at the wrong people.  So I wrote him back and am sharing my thoughts with you:

We appreciate your feedback – and since you think we’re “worthless” – we’re removing you from our email list.

As you leave us now, here’s a little more info on what we do:

We have over 300 bills to track and potentially promote this year, and because we’re so small as a team and with our finances, we pick and choose less than 20% of the bills we can actively get behind with action alerts, sponsored online campaigns, social media, and the like.  Others, we do our best to post blogs and information for people to read about, as we did with SB5742.

Some bills – never even get a blog, because we don’t have the money to hire enough full time bloggers, or we don’t have enough volunteers to write about all of them.

We have 15 bills on our radar in Washington State alone, including HB1473, which we originally drafted.  We didn’t put out any regular action alerts on that bill because our inside information told us that the committee chair Laurie Jinkins would never give the bill a hearing no matter how many calls she got.  We received the same kind of information about SB5742 – and Sen. Padden wasn’t going to budge.

We urge you to direct your anger and them instead, as it will be far more productive.

In the future, if we ever get to the funding that large organizations have, we might be able to spend time and resources (both of which cost money for us) to make a big case about really important bills like SB5742 – as it will help spread the word and educate people about the issue.  But we’re just not there yet.

After writing him back, I noticed that we DID in fact publish an action alert on SB5742 – on Feb 12th.  But it didn’t make it to a dedicated email campaign.

The short version? We’re always trying to do as much as we can. And just the small handful of bills we spend time getting behind in various ways keeps me working 6 days a week, plus multiple other people doing the same.  In time, I hope we can support every good bill in the way it deserves, and in the meantime, I appreciate your support in helping us get there.

Michael Boldin