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.
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. …
Initiative promoter Tim Eyman says he will turn in signatures next week for Initiative 517, proposing to add six months to the time that initiative backers in Washington have to collect signatures and get on the ballot. I-517 also creates a harassment-free zone of 25 feet around signature gatherers and makes it a misdemeanor crime to intimidate or interfere with signature gathering.
Wyman announced Lori Augino, chief deputy to Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, would take over as state elections director after Wyman takes office next month.
Augino replaces Katie Blinn and Shane Hamlin, who had been co-directors. Both will remain in the secretary of state’s office in lower-tier positions as assistant directors.
Wyman, a Republican, is the Thurston County auditor, and she is bringing some of her staff with her across town to the Capitol, including her chief deputy Ken Raske as assistant secretary of state. The current assistant, Steve Excell, takes over state archives from Jerry Handfield.
Democrat Kathleen Drew has conceded the race, making Republican Kim Wyman the undisputed winner of the Washington secretary of state race and the lone Republican running statewide to win in the Evergreen State this fall.
“I always thought this race was about experience. I think that played a big role in it,” Wyman told me in a telephone interview. “You look at the rest of the ticket and I’m the only statewide Republican on the West Coast I found out today. There was clearly a blue wave that rolled over Washington.’’
Drew conceded the race in the last hour, and Wyman said Drew just called her to congratulate her on the 41,340-vote victory (as of this afternoon).