|Anyone know about Sightline Daily -- Northwest News that Matters? They have a really good article questioning the constitutionality of I-1053.|
As you probably know, I-1053 is the Eyman initiative passed by the voters last year. It requires a 2/3 super-majority of legislators to raise taxes or eliminate exemptions. But the state constitution says that a majority of legislators should determine which bills become law. Minority rule is apparently unconstitutional.
Here's an excerpt from the article: "Unfortunately, the state Supreme Court is wary about ruling on such
measures, because they concern the operating procedures of the
legislature. The Supreme Court tries to keeps its nose out of the
legislative branch’s affairs, as state constitutional law scholar Hugh Spitzer explained to Crosscut.
The justices have twice dismissed on technical grounds challenges to
minority rule initiatives. Most recently, they regarded a case brought
by the Senate Majority Leader as a procedural dispute with the state
Lieutenant Governor (the senate’s presiding officer, who chose to
enforce I-960). Whether the Lieutenant Governor will continue to
disregard the constitution, and whether the Supreme Court will allow him
to do so, is anyone’s guess.
On the merits, the central legal
issue is straightforward: Even in conservative Alaska, the state supreme
court rejected a minority-rule ballot measure as unconstitutional,
because it tried to change the constitution without going through the required steps.
In fact, Washington is the only state in the nation where minority rule has been imposed through a regular law. (In 16 states,
citizens have voted to amend their constitutions to enact minority rule
on votes that increase (certain) taxes. These constitutional amendments
were undemocratic and ill-conceived, but at least they were legally
My worry about I-1053 is that the phrasing of the state constitution on this issue is unclear:
"SECTION 22 PASSAGE OF BILLS. No bill shall become a law unless on its
final passage the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the
members voting for and against the same be entered on the journal of
each house, and a MAJORITY of the members elected to each house be
recorded thereon as voting in its favor." The use of the word "unless" (rather than "provided" or "if") weakens the literal intent. If I say, "Nobody can be my friend unless they're progressive" that doesn't logically imply that every progressive will be my friend. But perhaps I'm reading it too literally.
BTW, I was thinking that it's best if there are NO BIGSHOTS in the progressive media for Washington State. What I mean is: activists shouldn't be slobbering over the prospect of "owning" the bigshot website that everyone visits. If activists' motivations are impure, then the project won't fly and the entire effort leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
This is serious, important work we're doing!
On the other hand, we need ambitious, hard-fighting progressives. And despite our dislike of unfettered markets, there still has to be a meritocracy when it comes to leadership and publications. The hope
is that idealism and merit, and not arrogance and greed, are what determines who wins.
Again, that's why I want shared editorship, so that no one person or group has undo power. That's what progressivism is all about: cooperating for the common good.
And again, I do not want to create yet another lefty website or group. There are too many already. Ideally, some pre-existing website or group would open up its website to shared editing, with no bigshots allowed. We cannot afford greedy bigshots. We are allies. We already have the tools. We just need to wise up and use them better.