For two hours, they fielded questions on climate change, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, transgender bathroom access, education policy, taxation, fathers' rights and religious freedom.
The session was held at The Arc of the Tri-Cities in
Many comments were hostile. The opportunity to address a politician was not lost on those who have pressured
Newhouse has promised to hold one during a weekend break from his duties in
"Thank you for coming to meet with us face to face," said one woman, who then dogged the two men with questions about their stand on rights for workers.
The national debate over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, prompted several parents of children with disabilities to ask what, if anything,
Haler said he's taking a "wait and see" approach.
Klippert said people with developmental disabilities are a top priority. He used the question as an opportunity to highlight the many interests competing for state funding, even as the Legislature struggles to find enough money to comply with the
Other highlights from Saturday's forum:
? Several speakers faulted Klippert for supporting legislation to reverse a law that allows transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice in public facilities. Klippert, citing his daughter in the audience, said he didn't want men viewing her disrobed in a women's room.
? A speaker wanted to know if lawmakers would support legislation aimed at reducing accidental gun violence. Haler demurred, saying those who carry guns -- which he does not -- should do so safely.
? A fathers' rights activist questioned why law enforcement views custodial interference as a civil matter when refusing to comply with a custody agreement is a crime. Klippert said officers are trained not to take children in those situations without a judicial order. He pledged to work on a legislative fix to the gap.
? A speaker wanted to know what
? Several speakers said
? When a woman asked how a bill allowing businesses to discriminate based on religious beliefs did not breach the wall between church and state, Klippert pulled a pocket edition of the
More than 2,700 bills were introduced this year. About 650 made it past the cutoff last week.
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