Just as the gavel struck and the Washington State House of Representatives concluded its opening day of session before the budget committee convenes, nearly three-dozen teachers stood up to protest what they fear will be yet another year of cuts to basic education and state colleges.
"Mic check!" yelled Jesse Hagopian, wearing a suit. "Mic check," yelled back the teachers in red vests, who unfurled a banner that said: "Citizens aren't the lawbreakers. Lawmakers who cut funding from schools are the lawbreakers." And they chanted:
It is immoral
It is illegal
These cuts will hurt families
These cuts will hurt kids
These cuts will hurt educators
King county Superior Court judge
Ruled that these cuts are constitutionally illegal
The Constitution of Washington state reads it is the paramount duty to fully
We therefore issue a citizens arrest of this Washington State Legislature
We call for taxing the rich
We call to fund the schools
At this point, a cadre of flustered state troopers rushed the gallery and began to clear the benches, asking Hagopian and the others to stop. "I'm not resisting but I'm also not leaving," he told the officers. "Our legislature is the one breaking the law." Out in the marble-lined hallways, the chanting continued. Troopers were offered plastic handcuffs to arrest the legislature. The officers quietly declined.
Now dozens of people are chanting in the rotunda: "We are the 99 percent." Domes have incredible acoustics, ya know. It's gonna be a fun day in Olympia.