The Cascade Bicycle Club today posted its annual ratings of Washington State lawmakers on the merits of their pro-bicycle voting records, finding that, generally speaking, urban lawmakers tend to do better than their exurban and rural counterparts. For example, Representatives Judge Clibborn, Joe Fitzgibbon, and Andy Billig (respectively from Bellevue, Seattle, and Spokane) all got 100 percent voting records. At the bottom, folks like Senator Tim Sheldon (D-Only Technically) of Potlatch was given an 11 percent rating and called out as the only member of his party to vote against a bill granting more flexibility when designing bicycle infrastructure. The report card is based on votes for nine bills, from letting cities reduce speed limits to appropriating cash to bicycle projects.
Based on voting records alone, none of the ratings are shockers.
But here's where there's some interesting nuance: Senate Transportation Committee chair Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), who earned plaudits by swinging her vote in favor of marriage equality last winter, got a 100 percent rating. However... she still won a broken chain award as an opponent of safe cycling.
"Don’t let Sen. Haugen’s voting record deceive you—her actions demonstrate that she does not support bicycling," her scorecard explains. "As chair of the Senate Transportation committee, Sen. Haugen actively works to block pro-bicycling legislation and funding. She worked to sabotage the passage of SHB 1217, the 'Neighborhood Safe Speeds bill,' and HB 2370, including health in the state transportation system policy goals, while standing as the single largest roadblock to securing local transportation funding options."
I'm glad that the Cascade Bicycle Club didn't let Haugen off the hook. Too often these sorts of voting scorecards look superficially at voting records. But the influence of legislators, particularly powerful committee chairs, is often in shaping legislation or never allowing votes to happen in the first place. So, yeah, Haugen voted correctly, but she used her post to make sure things she opposed would never even reach the senate floor.