If WA decides to allow remote testimony, you can thank John Oliver

john oliver

Here’s a smart way to ensure your legislative measure gains some momentum, or at least attention: link it to former Daily Show staffer and current Last Week Tonight host John Oliver.

Sen. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat from Kirkland, did just that.

After watching a John Oliver segment on net neutrality, Habib said he was inspired to introduce a measure to allow remote testimony on measures in Olympia.

Oliver did such a good job explaining net neutrality that commentators crashed the Federal Communication Commission’s website.

Let me repeat that: commentators crashed the FCC’s website to comment on net neutrality!

The “only two words that promote more boredom are ‘featuring Sting,’” Oliver joked.

“I would rather listen to pair of dockers tell me about the dream it had,” he said.

And yet, “net neutrality is actually hugely important,” Oliver said.

Watch his segment here :

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU&w=560&h=315]

Habib’s measure, Senate Bill  5699, has nothing to do with net neutrality but instead would allow people from anywhere in the state to testify on a bill remotely.

“It’s so difficult for a working mom from Battle Ground or Bellevue, which I represent, to take essentially a fully day to drive a half an hour to wait for bill after bill to maybe speak for two minutes,” Habib said. “There has to be a way to make this easier and get more people engaged and more excited.”

And here’s the connection: It wasn’t Oliver’s subject matter that inspired Habib but the fact that so many people submitted comments.

“If thousands and thousands of Americans will submit comments on something as esoteric as net neutrality, just imagine how many people would want to submit testimony on issues that are more hot-button right here at home,” Habib said.


Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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