I note that the profiling bill promoted by the Confederation of Clubs and ABATE of Washington, HB 2511, was *overwhelmingly* embraced by the House of Representatives. Note that there are 98 members in the State House. All but TWO voted in favor of a bill that said it’s not OK to single out citizens for preemptive stops because they *look* like members of a certain group, i.e. bikers.
Before I say anything else: please contact your House representatives and *thank them* for voting for this bill. I was in Olympia on Wednesday (to meet with the Director of DOL and her staff) and made a point of visiting my members’ offices. Call, email, write – but thank them.
I’ve watched this bill try to make its way through the Legislature in years past. It’s seemed that its biggest obstacle was not the language of the bill itself, but the language of those who spoke about the bill. In years past, there was a lot of anger, a lot of angst, a lot of finger-pointing.
Not this year.
This year, there was a lot of considered conversation about the rights of free men and women in a democratic society. All of us – patch holders, alternative club-style riders, and rank-and-file independent bikers – spoke to our legislators in measured and polite tones about civil rights and ‘the America that made America famous’.
We struck a chord, and overwhelmingly won the House. Our lack of victory in the Senate was, in my opinion, no fault of the bill or our approach to it. It was an artifact of a short session with too much to do and the short news cycle we’ve all come to know and [feel something about]. In truth, the bill did not lose in the Senate. It just never got a chance to win.
I’m encouraged not only by the progress made by this bill, but by the progress made by *us*. A lot of motorcyclists across a broad spectrum of our sometimes divided constituency came together and BLEW OUT the House. On Black Thursday, I had the pleasure of meeting with – and standing with – leaders from diverse segments of the motorcycle community, and I believe that our consensus carried the day.
It’s unfortunate that we have enjoyed this partial victory at the end of a biennium, and we do not have another session to fight the fight of HB2511. Nonetheless, I do not think we are done, I do think we can build on the success of this session, and I look forward to working with my brothers and sisters in the motorcycle community to protect the civil rights of those who ride from discrimination and selective enforcement.
We must all hang together – or we shall certainly hang separately. I hope you will join us for our regular meeting on Wednesday, March 31, to discuss this and other stories from the 2010 legislative session. — Ian