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Category: Lt. Governor


Washington State Supreme Court rules unconstitutional initiatives that require two-thirds majority for tax hikes

In a landmark ruling 20 years in the making, the Washington State Supreme Court this morning struck down Initiative 1053 as unconstitutional. The court majority said the constitution controls the majority needed for tax hikes and the constitution requires only a majority of the members of the House and Senate.

That means the only way for backers of the so-called super-majority for tax hikes can achieve that goal is to go through the more-burdensome method of amending the constitution which itself requires a two-thirds vote of both houses and then a majority vote of the people.

“The language and

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Swearing-in ceremony brings moments of levity

As legislators and onlookers filled the House chamber, seven officials stood-by ready to be sworn-in. When it was time to take their oaths, levity was a common theme.

Bob Ferguson’s swearing-in as Attorney General was met with a large grin from Ferguson and laughter from lawmakers and onlookers when Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez included the actual RCW code numbers Ferguson’s oath.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman was visibly choked up during her swearing-in. During her brief address, she thanked her family and alluded to her successful ascension of the stairs and tears of joy. “I didn’t trip,” Wyman said.

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Sen. Hatfield says Democrats accepting committee chairmanships under GOP control are gaining power for districts

State Sen. Brian Hatfield says Democrats like him, Sen. Steve Hobbs and Sen. Tracey Eide have more power for their districts by accepting committee chair or co-chair roles under the Republican coalition’s power structure. Hatfield, a conservative from Raymond, said members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are now in the minority and by accepting the Republicans’ offer they can call any bluff from the new majority – if they fail to be bipartisan.

As outlined this morning, Hatfield will chair the restructured Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, which he had led under a different configuration the past four years. Hobbs continues as chair of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. Eide, who is Senate Democrats’ floor leader, will co-chair the Senate Transportation with Republican Sen. Curtis King of Yakima.

“I think there is still a little bitterness over how it was done (by the new Senate Majority Coalition Caucus) but it’s not aimed at us,” Hatfield said of the 24 Democrats remaining in the Democratic Caucus. He spoke in the Senate wings a few minutes before Lt. Gov. Brad Owen gaveled the Senate into session.

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State Republican Party skewers five Democrats in one new video called “Unfit for Office”

A new ad produced for the Washington State Republican Party alleges that five of the Democrats running for statewide elected office are unethical and “Unfit for Office.”

The four are secretary of state candidate Kathleen Drew, auditor candidate Troy Kelley, attorney general candidate Bob Ferguson, governor candidate Jay Inslee and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

In each case, the ad cites articles written about allegations and some findings against the five. The ad seems to equate some pretty serious charges with some minor disclosure violations and even includes one that was made not against the candidate but the candidate’s husband. It

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It’s not Nirvana but WA Lieutenant Governor candidate Bill Finkbeiner posts a music video/campaign ad (with Krist Novoselic’s help)

Welcome to 2012 Lieutenant Governor Campaign — The Musical.

Incumbent Brad Owen has long been known for taking his band on the road to schools and other venues to promote an anti drug message.

Now Republican challenger Bill Finkbeiner has come up with his own musical number, his version of the country classic “I’ve Been Everywhere.”

Finkbeiner sings his version over a slide show with pictures of him, well, everywhere. He even manages to slip in a reference to his suggestion that the state Senate (the lieutenant governor presides) might be less partisan if the center aisle was removed and

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How much does lack of party label contribute to undervote for down-ballot primary races?

Some call it ballot fatigue – the tendency of races that fall further down the ballot to receive less attention from voters.

Elections officials, however, call it undervote.

For example, in the just completed primary election in Washington state, 1,435,182 votes were cast — an anemic 38.5 percent. And the race for governor, uncompetitive as it was, got the most love from voters. Just 1.8 percent of those who filled out a ballot did not cast a vote for governor. In the race for U.S. Senate, the undervote was 3.4 percent.

But the dropoff gets more-severe further down the ballot:

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Gov. Chris Gregoire says she’s not job hunting. But what if the president calls her to serve?

Gov. Chris Gregoire repeated her statements about a potential federal appointment Tuesday – essentially that she has work to do in Washington state and isn’t looking for another job.

But she hesitated when asked if she could tell the president no if he called on her to serve as U.S. Solicitor General.

“It’s one thing to say I have a job. But you don’t look the president in the eye when he asks you to serve and say no,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d do.”

“The state needs consistent, stable leadership,” Gregoire said during a conversation in her

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Owen heads to Spain to see royals

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen will meet with the king and queen of Spain during a trip to their country next week.

His office is emphasizing that Owen is traveling at no cost to taxpayers – or at least Washington taxpayers. The Spanish government is footing the bill.

Owen is making the trip as head of Washington’s delegation to a ceremony at the University of Washington’s study center in León.

He traveled there last year for a similar ceremony, to “formally open” the 9,000-square-foot center housed in a 14th-century palace, according to a news release. The May 4 event is to

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