DAVE ROSS

Ross: Gov. Inslee’s bill to punish lying politicians may be asking for trouble

Jan 17, 2022, 5:34 AM | Updated: 9:09 am
emergency powers...
(File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Danny Westneat – Seattle Times columnist – is the latest among a growing number of reasonable people questioning Governor Inslee’s bill to punish lying politicians.

It’s Senate Bill 5843 – and it would allow criminal prosecution of any politician who makes false claims about the election process for the purpose of inciting or producing “imminent lawless actions.”

Upon conviction, the offending politician would be removed from office.

At first glance, it SEEMS to be a pretty narrow bill:

It only applies to discussions of the election process, and then only to claims about that process that the politician knows to be false, and then only if the politician makes those claims for the purpose of causing trouble, and then only if the trouble actually occurs.

It looks like the intent was for this to apply to a January 6th-type event.

But this bill doesn’t limit itself to that circumstance.

The reason the Jan. 6 riot was so dangerous is that it appeared to be an attempt by a sitting U.S. President to use physical force to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

But the governor’s bill applies to any situation where a politician knowingly says something false about the election process for the purpose of riling people up – no matter the context.

So, consider this hypothetical: President Biden comes to Seattle, and delivers an angry speech arguing that some states are passing laws that amount to “Jim Crow 2.0.” And after that speech, suppose protesters block streets on our own Capitol Hill, and that once again the protest is infiltrated by people who end up looting and setting fires.

Again, just a hypothetical …

But if that happened, under the governor’s law, I’ll bet there’d be calls to investigate: 1) whether Biden knew that the Republican election reforms bear no resemblance to Jim Crow laws; and 2) whether Biden deliberately made that false claim knowing there’d be trouble.

Now I emphasize that’s a hypothetical.

And yet, given that there are groups on the left that can get just as riled up by political speech as the right – I wouldn’t be surprised if some Republicans actually voted for this just to see what happens.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

(Photo by Scott Graham/Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: The real secret to a happy workforce

When employees get asked ‘how can we make you feel appreciated’ they’ll say, well you know, donuts are great, but a little more money would be nice too.
3 days ago
“Homosexuality in America,” Life, 26 June 1964, pp. 66-80....
Dave Ross

Ross: How the suburbs guard ‘birds-and-the-bees’ chatter

I saw a copy of LIFE magazine on the living room coffee table that featured a two-page spread captioned “Homosexuality in America.”
4 days ago
(Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Have Seattleites gone soft on crime?

The Seattle Police Department recently came out with some advice on what to do if a burglar breaks in while you’re at home. The advice… is to get out, ASAP.
5 days ago
Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the White House (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Why Oklahoma’s stance on abortion will echo throughout the country

12 states have trigger laws that take effect if Roe v Wade is overturned – and Oklahoma is one of them.
6 days ago
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a...
Dave Ross

Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot

I’m having trouble accepting that the US is dealing with a baby formula shortage – especially when the main advice is do NOT try to make your own.
9 days ago
(Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Are vasectomies the best form of birth control?

A Tweet caught my attention because it was a sketch for a short story about a world where abortions aren’t necessary.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Ross: Gov. Inslee’s bill to punish lying politicians may be asking for trouble