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Court tosses I-1366

Harvey Field
Published:2016-01-22 State
Court tosses I-1366    Print Snohomish Times    
Court tosses I-1366

By Jason Mercier
Jan 21, 2016

"Unconstitutional!" That's the word from King County Superior Court today on voter-approved I-1366. Does this mean the legislature has just been handed a "get out of jail" free card to punt on this issue? Well, that depends on how much respect lawmakers have for their constituents.
Anticipating an adverse ruling from the state's courts against I-1366 Washington Policy Center commissioned a statewide poll last month conducted by Elway Research, INC asking voters what they want the legislature to do if the court tosses I-1366. 65% said they want lawmakers to send voters a constitutional amendment if this occurs.

It appears some in the legislature are ready to provide voters this option. As I told KOMO radio this morning, already six separate proposed constitutional amendments have been introduced this session (SJR 8208, 8209, 8211, 8212 and HJR 4213 and 4214). In fact, this morning the Senate Government Operations Committee heard public testimony on one of those proposals. Testifying remotely I encouraged lawmakers (testimony starts at 42 min mark) to honor the will of their constituents and let the sovereigns of the state, the people, be the ones to finally end this decades old debate.

Having repeatedly approved some version of a supermajority restriction dating all the way back to I-62 in 1979, Washingtonians must feel like they are stuck in the movie Groundhog Day when it comes to whether the legislature will honor their votes.

Considering the fact that 17 other states already have a similar supermajority restriction (ranging from 3/5 in Oregon, to 2/3 in California, to requiring voter approval of all tax increases in Colorado) and there are already 20 plus supermajority vote restrictions in Washington's constitution, there is nothing to fear by acting on a constitutional amendment other than what the voters may do.
Based on the unequivocal pronouncement in Article 1, Section 1 of the state's constitution, however, lawmakers should not fear the people but instead should provide them the opportunity to settle this debate:

“All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”




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