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caption: Washington state governor Jay Inslee speaks to a crowd gathered for a pro-choice rally and press conference on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at Kerry Park in Seattle.
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Washington state governor Jay Inslee speaks to a crowd gathered for a pro-choice rally and press conference on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at Kerry Park in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Gov Jay Inslee on abortion rights, the January 6th hearings, and more

It's been a busy few days. The Supreme Court's conservative majority has overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, struck a blow to states’ power to regulate guns, and weakened Miranda rights.

And hearings on the January 6th insurrection continue at the Capitol.

Gov. Jay Inslee joined Soundside host Libby Denkmann to discuss his thoughts on the latest news out of both Washingtons.

On the January 6th hearings:

"This is a continuing coup effort. It is not finished," said Inslee, responding to testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aid to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

"I think the most important thing of this testimony is to understand the depravity, number one of Donald Trump, but number two to understand how democracy is continuing under a threat," Inslee said. "Now it's under threat from multiple sources — the filibuster, gerrymandering, the court packing that gave us these decisions."

On ratifying abortion access in Washington:

The governor said Washington must make abortion rights a constitutional amendment, if the state wants to permanently protect Washingtonians from potential future legislation. But, he also noted that the state isn't likely to see that amendment right now.

"Not one single Republican had the courage to stand up for a woman's right to choice the other day when this decision came down," Inslee said. "So, no, it's unlikely in the extreme that we will get a two-thirds vote."

Creating an amendment requires a two-thirds vote of approval in both the state House and Senate.

On ditching the filibuster:

Currently in the U.S. Senate you need at least a 60% majority vote for a law to avoid a filibuster. It's been suggested that President Biden remove the filibuster in order to get reproductive health regulations passed federally. So far he has not indicated that he will do so.

Gov. Inslee said he would be in support of removing the filibuster.

"It is a leftover vestige of a darker period of American history," he said. "And we should eliminate the filibuster for this and other matters, so that we can move climate-change legislation, for instance."

On removing the lower Snake River dams:

A number of our listeners wrote in to ask when or if the governor would remove the lower Snake River dams, which would help recover threatened Chinook salmon populations in Washington.

Inslee noted that he and Sen. Patty Murray have commissioned a report on what removing the dams would cost, both financially and in terms of electrical resources.

"The question is, what is the best way? And does it does the community want to make that kind of investment to replace the services?" Inslee asked. "I do think we need to have confidence that these services can and would be replaced before a decision is made on breaching. So I encourage people to be involved in that discussion. This report will give people some guidance about how to do that. But we do have to realize we have to replace this electricity. It's got to come from somewhere. And it can't come from fossil-fired coal plants because of climate change."

The governor said he hopes the final report will be out in the coming months. He said, at the end of the day, the decision on removing the dams would be up to Congress, not to him.