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Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom says Senate will vote on rule change to mirror 2/3 initiative

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Feb. 28, 2013 at 10:39 am |
February 28, 2013 11:48 am
Sen. Rodney Tom announces the formation of the Majority Reform Coalition, Dec. 12, 2012 (News Tribune, Peter Haley)
Sen. Rodney Tom announces the formation of the Majority Reform Coalition, Dec. 12, 2012 (News Tribune, Peter Haley)

UPDATED 11:45 am with comment from Brad Owen.

Sen. Rodney Tom, the renegade Democrat from Medina who has been elevated to majority leader by a mostly Republican coalition, said he would bring a change to Senate rules up for a vote on the floor to reinstate the tax restrictions passed by voters and struck down today by the Supreme Court.

“We’re going to stand behind the will of the people. They’ve been very clear that they want it to be difficult to raise taxes,” Tom said today.

The rule would require a two-thirds supermajority or a public vote to pass any tax increase.

And passing the rule would take only a simple majority of all senators, unlike a constitutional amendment that is much less likely to pass.

Regardless of the rule, Tom said: “We control the floor calendar. These things (tax increases) will not come up for a vote in the Washington State Senate unless we have two-thirds votes.”

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Brad Owen is consulting lawyers on the legality of such a Senate rule.

“My gut feeling is that they can’t do it,” said Owen, the Senate’s presiding officer who rules on procedural matters, “but I’m not going to say that absolutely.”

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