OLYMPIA - Last week Senate Republican Deputy Floor Leader Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, delivered a letter to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna pledging support for his decision to join a bipartisan, nationwide group of attorney generals challenging the constitutionality of the national health care bill signed into law last week.
State Senators signing the letter were Randi Becker, Don Benton, Mike Carrell, Jerome Delvin, Mike Hewitt, Janea Holmquist, Honeyford, Curtis King, Bob McCaslin, Bob Morton, Cheryl Pflug, Pam Roach, Mark Schoesler, Val Stevens, Dan Swecker and Joeseph Zarelli.
"Our caucus has long sought to ensure all Washingtonians have access to high-quality, affordable health care while maintaining our commitments to the vulnerable, working poor and elderly," the letter stated. "Over the years we have introduced legislation to accomplish this goal."
The senators believe that the future of the American government is 'of the people and by the people' and that this future is in peril by the passing of health care reform.
"It is vital that our courts address these fundamental constitutional concerns prior to the full implementation of the legislation," the letter continued. "We are convinced that a legally sound approach to health reform will be more successful and will better serve our fellow citizens over the long term."
Senate Republicans have introduced several bills since the beginning of this year's regular legislative session aimed at protecting Washingtonians from any possible unconstitutional provisions of the Obama health care plan.
Senate Bill 6535, the Washington State Health Care Freedom Act of 2010, would protect employers and workers who refuse to participate in nationalized health care from possible fines and penalties. Sponsored by Sen. Holmquist, R-Moses Lake, it would also nullify in Washington any federal law, rule, order or other act by the federal government violating the provisions of the bill.
If approved by voters, Senate Joint Memorial 8220, sponsored by Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, would put these same protections into Washington's constitution.
Last week, Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, introduced Senate Bill 6890, which would prohibit a federal mandate on Washington citizens to purchase health care.