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EYMAN: There’s irony in initiative argument

Letter by Donald A. Bremner, Gig Harbor on May 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm | 49 Comments »
May 18, 2011 2:41 pm

Re: “New initiative reinforces voter-approved I-1053″ (Viewpoint, 5-13).

It’s ironic that Tim Eyman calls on the state constitution to help enforce an initiative-generated law. Ironic because Eyman produced the initiatives (601,1053) requiring a two-thirds majority for legislative actions raising taxes despite the fact that it conflicts with the state constitution. (The constitution mandates a simple majority for all legislative actions.)

Now he insists the Legislature must follow the constitution to meet requirements which may be “unconstitutional.” Eyman’s duplicity regarding the constitution reflects a confusion about, or a desire to undermine, its role in proper lawmaking. That role can only be altered by amendments to the constitution, not by the initiative process.

Other constitutional issues are raised by the two-thirds majority rule. The rule evidently applies to legislated law but not initiative-generated law.

In 2010, Initiative 1098 proposed to impose an income tax on some citizens without a two-thirds majority requirement for its passage. This is an arbitrary distinction, applying to some lawmakers and not others.

If we are to be governed fairly by the rule of law, as intended under constitutional democracy, then the rule of law must be applied uniformly and equally. Following the constitution instead of initiatives 601 and 1053 would have avoided any arbitrary applications, avoided constitutional conflict and adhered more to protecting the guarantees of due process in our governance.

Perhaps our initiative process needs refining to be more constitutionally correct.

 

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