Punt or Decide?

The State Supreme Court is planning on ruling in the 2/3 majority case.

SEATTLE – The Washington Supreme Court plans to issue a ruling Thursday on a lawsuit challenging the two-thirds majority required for the Legislature to pass a tax increase.


The Supreme Court agreed to expedite its consideration of the two-thirds majority rule, which came about because of a series of citizen initiatives. Voters most recently approved the supermajority rule last November.

The Washington Constitution requires a simple majority of the Legislature to approve most laws, but the supermajority, or two-thirds vote, has been the law for tax increases thanks mostly to measures successfully pushed by initiative activist Tim Eyman.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems pretty unconstitutional on its face. You can’t bind future legislatures with the initiative process (except up to 3 years for laws that are constitutional). That takes an amendment to the state constitution. Cut and dried.

Still, our state supreme court has heard these sorts of cases in the past and figured out ways to punt. Hopefully they’ve run out of ways to kick the can down the road, and can actually rule on the case. I don’t know how much practical difference it makes with one house of the legislature in the GOP’s hands and Inslee opposing most tax increases in the campaign.

I’ll be at work when the ruling comes down, so I thought I’d put something up now.


  1. 3



    There are some things about the initiative process I like and some I find frustrating as shit. The initiative process we have is described in the state constitution, and there are some things you can’t do with initiatives: initiatives can’t amend the state constitution, they can’t have multiple issues, they can’t force a law to stay on the books more than 3 years. If they go beyond the scope of the process described in the state constitution, part of the process is that our state supreme court is supposed to overturn them.

  2. 4

    don spews:

    Oh, to watch little Timmy throw a tantrum when the adults tell him he did it wrong again is just so satisfying.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 I’d wait with that until we see the decision, although I’m not worried. I’m more nervous about what the Extreme Court in the other Washington — you know, the old white guys who concluded that a “well regulated militia” includes any jackass with a gun, including the dude who got shot by his dog yesterday — might do to the Voting Rights Act. The Old South still needs as much federal supervision of their elections as they ever did.

  4. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 (continued)

    “What Rick Scott’s budget means for a single mother with two kids:

    “Lost your job? To apply for unemployment benefits, you’ll have to spend 45 minutes taking a math and reading test. Congrats, you passed! Your check will be no more than $275 a week.

    “But don’t get sick—you won’t qualify for Florida Medicaid if your income is more than $3,200 a year.

    “And don’t come looking for a postpartum whooping-cough vaccine or meningitis shots for your baby: Scott vetoed $2.7 million to pay for those, along with $100,000 for a fetal alcohol program and $100,000 for a special-needs charter school. Have a nice day.”


    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Rick Scott used to be CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, a company that was convicted of 14 felonies and $1.7 billion for defrauding the government. This crimes happened on Scott’s watch. When he was fired, he got a $321 million severance package. He spent $75 million of his own money to get elected governor of Florida. (Why??) This is the governor who vetoed $2.7 million to pay for whooping cough and meningitis vaccines for kids. Why does Rick Scott hate kids? Because he’s a Republican asshole, that’s why, and this is what you get when you vote for Republican assholes. Anyone who votes for any Republican should be stripped of his citizenship and deported.