Moeller Live Chat Transcript

From a live Web chat Feb. 17

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photoRep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, answers questions from his office during a live chat with Columbian readers Friday, Feb. 17. Photo from @WAHouseDems on Twitter.

More to come!

At noon Friday, Feb. 24, Matt Nipper from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center will join us for a live chat about teen heart screenings. Nipper is an exercise physiologist who works closely with the doctors in the rehabilitation center. We will be discussing the recent focus on Heart Health Month and what parents can look for and do to keep their kids and teen athletes healthy. He will also have information about the Young Champions Clinic to be held on Feb. 25.

State Rep. Jim Moeller joined Columbian.com readers Friday, Feb. 17 to discuss the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington. The one-hour chat also went over state regulations and other local issues that concern Clark County citizens.

More to come! Next Friday, Feb. 24 Matt Nipper from Peace Health Southwest Medical Center will join us for a live chat about teen heart screenings. Nipper is an exercise physiologist who works closely with the doctors in the rehabilitation center. We will be discussing the recent focus on heart health month and what parents can look for and do to keep their kids and teen athletes healthy. He will also have information about the Young Champions Clinic held on Feb. 25.

Moeller live chat transcript, Friday Feb. 17, 2012:

Setareh Alizadeh Welcome everyone, to today’s live web chat! We will be discussing the recent legalization of same-sex marriage with Vancouver Democrat, and state Rep. Jim Moeller. Get in your comments and questions, and we’ll start at 11:30 a.m.

Setareh Alizadeh: Representative Jim Moeller won’t be joining us until 11:30, but feel free to submit your questions and comments now and you will be first in line!

Setareh Alizadeh: 2 minutes remaining, keep sending in your comments and questions!

Setareh Alizadeh: Hey everyone we are still waiting for the representative to arrive. Jim if you are already logged on send me a message and we can get started!

Jim Moeller: Hi. We are here

Setareh Alizadeh: Welcome Jim, thank you for joining us! Lets get started.

Jim Moeller: Great

Setareh Alizadeh: First of all, I am going to start off with a few comments

Comment From Dolly England: Just wanted to make sure Jim knows that there are MANY people in Clark County who support the Marriage Equality Bill and appreciate his hard work to make this happen!

Comment From Karen Jolly: As a straight retired person in Oregon, I am totally proud of our northern neighbors for taking this bold stand. Thanks, Jim, and the others in Washington who have worked so hard for justice! Each state is one step closer to full equality for all in this nation.

Jim Moeller: Hi Dolly. Thanks for the kind words

Jim Moeller: Love our Oregon neighbors

Comment From col_politics: Hi everyone, my name is Stevie Mathieu and I’m a reporter at The Columbian. I’ll try to be around to provide background information as needed

Jim Moeller: Thank you Stevie!

Setareh Alizadeh: As the moderator I will start off with the first question. Jim you were one of the co sponsors of the gay marriage legislation, what part did you have in passing the bill?

Jim Moeller: I worked on the language with the Senate and the House and presided over the debate in the House.

Comment From Brian Vires: Hello Mr. Moeller, first off congratulations on this bill coming to fruition. Second, what are some of the reactions this bill is getting around the state?

Twitter; WAHouseDems: Rep. Moeller about to live chat w/ @thecolumbian readers. Come join the conversation! http://t.co/wDAarMid [via Twitter]

Jim Moeller: Congratulations and Thanks. The reaction here is everyone wants to know when they can get married!

Setareh Alizadeh: So when can they get married?

Jim Moeller: I had a good friend of mine come down to the Capitol on Monday for the bill signing, where he proposed to his lifetime partner in the State Reception Room

Jim Moeller: December 10th is the first day that people can get married. 30 days after the certification of the election on November 8th

Setareh Alizadeh: Do you for see any challenges in say a voter referendum?

Comment From Jim Morrell: Jim, must we wait until the November 8th election or does that require the referendum signature gathering process to be successful?

Jim Moeller: Oh yes. That is presumed. Opponents have promised a referendum on the November ballot and the bar for signatures is low at 120,000

Comment From Jim Morrell: Representative Moeller, my partner and I very much appreciate your leadership in sheperding the State forward towards full marriage equality and establishing same-gender couples equal to the love of other heterosexual relationships. As fellow Lutherans we appreciate the positive support we have from both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as well as the State of Washington.

Comment From col_politics: Just some background: Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law on Monday the bill allowing same-sex couples in Washington state to marry. Opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to challenge that with with a referendum (Referendum 74). There’s also an initiative out there (I-1192) to reaffirm the state’s marriage statute, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Jim Moeller: The referendum must be successful, but I doubt it will be tough for opponents to gather 120,000 signatures

Jim Moeller: I would like to particularly say THANK YOU to the faith community. Yesterday, several congregations joined forces to march from America’s Vancouver to the Capitol.

Comment From Micheil Mac: If there is no referendum on the ballot, would couples be able to marry earlier than December 10th?

Jim Moeller: Yes. If the referendum is unsuccessful, same-sex couples would be

Jim Moeller: be able to marry 90 days after the end of session, which we hope will come to a close on March 9th

Comment From Karen Jolly: I understand there’s a push to nullify this action. In addition to sending contributions, what else can citizens from out of state do to help insure any opposition referendum is defeated?

Jim Moeller: The November election will be held on the 6th, not the 8th

Jim Moeller: As a State Representative, I am unable to use state resources or time to discuss any campaign issue. However, United for Marriage is the organization to contact regarding the campaign to defeat a referendum

Comment From Micheil Mac: Why do committed partners have to wait so long to be married in the state of Washington?

Jim Moeller: Due to the referendum challenge, an immediate stay will be put on the marriage equality bill once signatures are certified.

Comment From col_politics: @Karen: Here’s the website for Washington United for Marriage: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org

Comment From Dolly England: I think that is a great reason for those who DO support the bill to continue to support it and encourage others to NOT sign!!!

Comment From Kim Kendall: I believe the people of america are tired of minority rule. They are tired of the claim that gay marriage is a civil right when it is a title the minority wants to keep with a traditional meaning. Why do you disrespect the majority? Jim Moeller: Kim, Washington’s marriage equality bill was just passed by a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate. The referendum will be the ultimate majorty rule on the issue of same-sex marriage in Washington state

Comment From Drew Griffin: Rep. Moeller, congrats and thank you for your leadership in regard to marriage equality. My question is this: Do you know if anyone is conducting any economic impact studies in regard to marriage equality in Southwest Washington?

Comment From Drew Griffin: I also want to add that people in Southwest Washington can www.facebook.com/equalitysouthwestwa for local information. Volunteer locally!

Jim Moeller: No, I am not aware of anyone doing economic impact studies, although that would be interesting

Comment From Jim Morrell: Personally watching the House debate was interesting to me. Jim, can you comment on the financial benefits of recognizing same gender marriages? Is that not why Starbucks and Microsoft supported the efforts?

Jim Moeller: That might be part of the equation, but I think Microsoft and Starbucks also realized that recognizing relationships of everyone, irregardless of sexual orientation, is the right thing to do.

Comment From Brian Vires: Next I was wondering what, if anything the state legislature sees as a plan to help southwest Washington recover economically? I do believe this bill will spur much needed spending, but obviously gay marriage alone can’t lift our unemployment.

Jim Moeller: Putting Clark County back to work is our number one goal with the Jobs bill and Transportation package currently being considered by the House and Senate

Jim Moeller: We just learned yesterday that revenue is up slightly, so the thaw has begun

Comment From col_politics: More background: A recent University of Washington poll found 55 percent polled would uphold the same-sex marriage bill if it went to a referendum vote. Here’s that story. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politicsnorthwest/2016655796_uw_poll_finds_support_for_gay.html

Comment From Kim Kendall: Jim as all americans know legislators do not reflect the majority of people’s feeling: That is the reason for low polling numbers. If the legislature wanted to really follow the feeling of the people the referendum effort would have been automatic for nationally all citizen votes have denied it.

Jim Moeller: About the economic question earlier, the Williams Institute at UCLA estimates that same sex marriage will bring in an additional $88 million to Washington.

http://mynorthwest.com/646/626746/88-million-financial-gain-from-gay-marriage

Jim Moeller: Hopefully, people elect me because I have represented their feelings and their values and they trust me to represent them

Comment From Micheil Mac: Since WA State is a community property state, do same-sex partners receive any benefits from a legally recognized marriage?

Jim Moeller: We heard from hundreds of constituents in our district daily who support this bill. We have also recieved hundreds of thank you’s for passing it.

Jim Moeller: Micheil, not currently. Under our domestic partnership laws, the IRS requires that partners combine their income and divide it in half.

Jim Moeller: I suggest a good tax attorney

Comment From Jim Morrell: Representative, as one of your constituents I can assure you are representing our family’s feelings and values.

Jim Moeller: Thanks, Jim for your kind words

Comment From col_politics: Here’s a story one of our reporters, Paris Achen, wrote about differences between marriage and domestic partnerships for Washington residents: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jan/16/same-sex-marriage-offers-few-new-benefits/

Comment From Rich Franklin: Rep. Moeller, in November of 2010 voters in your 49th District voted 66.5% in favor of I-1053 requiring a supermajority to raise taxes, yet last July you helped introduce a lawsuit seeking to have this initiative overturned. Since you just stated that people elect you because you “have represented their feelings and their values”, how do you justify your participation in the lawsuit?

Jim Moeller: In a constitutional republic, Article II section 22 of the Washington State Consitution, there is a question about whether a constitutional majority is a floor, in other words, can be modified by initiative - or a ceiling, immutable except by other constitutional mandate. That’s the question we seek to answer in the lawsuit.

Setareh Alizadeh: Does that answer your question Rich? or any follow up questions?

Comment From Kim Kendall: How does one believe that establishing tolls and spending billions on unnecessary light rail represent a sound economic judgment in a time of massive deficits? It is billions for temporary jobs on borrowed money. It represents an illustration that legislators are really devoid of job creation at a grass roots level. Perhaps the result of them possessing non technical degrees and are therefor unqualified for new approaches or sound judgements.

Jim Moeller: Is that a question or a statement?

Setareh Alizadeh: While we wait for Kim to answer, we can follow up with Rich.

Comment From Rich Franklin: Yes, I would like to follow up. While I can appreciate that there is a constitutional question that needs to be answered, and that requires that a lawsuit be introduced, my question is why does Rep. Moeller feel that he, personally, should be involved in bringing the suit when it is crystal clear that his constituents are in favor of a supermajority? Seems to me that you aren’t representing the wishes of the voters in your district in this case.

Comment From col_politics: FYI, here’s a story about the Initiative 1053 lawsuit: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015724705_taxlawsuit26m.html

Jim Moeller: I took an oath to uphold the constitution and the laws of this State. I am following through on that oath.

Comment From Jim Morrell: What more can be done to get the CRC moving forward more quickly, inclusive of light rail? It seems there are some that continue to fight against both a new bridge, tolls, and light rail, are the same that then additionally add comments about the project taking too long and costing more.

Jim Moeller: Constitutions are established to protect the rights of the minority. Without them, we would be subject to the tyranny of the majority.

Setareh Alizadeh: We have about 15 minutes left, please keep sending questions and comments.

Jim Moeller: It’s a very complicated project. We have recently recieved a record of decision from the federal government. WSDOT, the State of Oregon and ODOT are moving ahead with financing, knowing that there’s going to be a state, local and federal share. It’s pretty clear that there are a group of very vocal citizens who want this project to end, but I think we have the facts behind us.

LibbyClark: From a commenter on our Feb. 14 story about the chat: Gregory Dennis: “I am interested to know whether the State can offer any support to the current effort to recruit Boeing suppliers to relocate to the Vancouver / Port of Vancouver area.”

Jim Moeller: Everything is on the table. We are encouraging all economic development, no matter where in the state, because citizens need to get back to work.

Jim Moeller: Can the state offer anything specific to Boeing? I don’t know that answer.

Jim Moeller: We have many talented people at the Port and in Clark County that can contribute to the expansion of Boeing.

Comment From Earl Poulsen: How about putting the burden on landlords to make sure their tenants get new car license plates?

Jim Moeller: State law enforcement is the responsibility of local and state law enforcement personnel, not landlords. However, we do encourage people to notify law enforcement because we have a unit dedicated to investigating tax cheats

Comment From Drew Griffin: You have been vocal in support of the CRC and have encouraged US Rep. Herrera to vote for the future of the region, what advise would you give to residents in SW Washington to get her to vote according to the needs of the region?

Jim Moeller: Call, write, e-mail and visit Rep. Herrera in person to make your opinions known.

Comment From col_politics: If there aren’t any more questions at the moment, I think it might be interesting to hear Rep. Moeller’s thoughts on the supplemental transportation budget and what we can expect for the Columbia River Crossing.

Comment From Earl Poulsen: I have reported cars to the State Patrol. Still some cars don`t pay!

Jim Moeller: The supplemental transportation budget is maintenance only. There are no new projects in the supplemental budget, only mainenence of what we already have. There are $31 million in federal funds and $30 million from Oregon that allow work to continue

Comment From Kim Kendall: There is a performance metric the public and legislators should use to evaluate every dollar spent: Dollars spent per job created. the CRC is a make work program from the obama administration. Why do you not evaluate the CRC on its job creating merits?

Jim Moeller: I believe that we are evaluating the CRC based on job creating merits. I remodel my house, I put 3 people to work. I build a bridge, I put 10,000 people to work.

Comment From Ty Stober: Rep. Moeller, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for all you do, for your consistent leadership, on behalf of the people of Vancouver and Hazel Dell.

Jim Moeller: Thank you Ty for your kind words

Comment From Gerry Brown: I don’t care about Gay Anything!!! I care that our STATE is BROKE what are you going to do about it, and don’t say Raise Taxes!!!

Comment From Micheil Mac: In your role as Speaker Pro Temp of the house, what was it like personally to stand in the house during the debates?

Jim Moeller: The state is not broke. In fact, revenue is up. However, we do have a shortfall from the previous budget that we passed in 2011. Constitutionally, we have to have a balanced budget in this Washington. We are struggling to try to find how we can cut a billion dollars from discretionary funds and still maintain a community that we are all proud of - one that is concerned about its aged and vulnerable and disabled.

Comment From Lou Brancaccio: Jim and I don’t agree on everything but I apprecate that he often comes to www.columbian.com to speak to the community. Thank you Jim.

Jim Moeller: Micheil, I was honored to be a part of a historic debate. Honestly, the members rocked with their comments and the galleries filled with our family and some friends, on both sides of the issue, were respectful.

Comment From Dallas Hunter Van Winkle: Jim, creating the bridge will create jobs, but only for 5+ years. Investing in the infrastructure is crucial for any long term economic plan, what other projects do you see happening when the bridge is done?

Jim Moeller: Dallas, everything is connected. You increase the ability to get employees to jobs and goods to market, that leads to growth in job opportunities and economic development. It’s hard to expand your business when employees are stuck on the bridge in traffic for two hours every day.

Setareh Alizadeh: Looks like we are out of time. I want to thank everyone who has participated and watched the live web chat today

Setareh Alizadeh: I want to also thank you Jim for taking time out of your day to spend with us, it was a pleasure to have you on here!

Jim Moeller: Thank you Setareh and everyone who participated!

LibbyClark: Thanks Rep. Moeller for answering reader questions!

LibbyClark: Thanks Setty for moderating! And thanks everyone for your excellent questions!

Setareh Alizadeh: We will be holding weekly live chats, if you have anyone you would like to have on here and interview please email me at setareh.alizadeh@columbian.com

LibbyClark: We’ll also have an edited version of the chat in the print edition tomorrow!