January 19th, 2016
Bravado won’t stop Tim Eyman’s I-1366 from being struck down as unconstitutional
This morning, King County Superior Court Judge William Downing heard oral arguments in Tony Lee, et al. v. State of Washington, et al., the legal challenge to Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366. I-1366 is Eyman’s most recent and most destructive initiative yet; it was narrowly passed by voters in last November’s general election, which set a record for the lowest general election turnout (38.45%) since the state began its voter registration system in the 1930s.
I-1366 is an outrageous attempt to coerce the Legislature into sabotaging Washington’s tradition of passing bills and budgets by majority rule. It would wipe out $8 billion in sales tax revenue over the next six years unless the Legislature capitulates to Eyman’s wishes and passes a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise or recover any revenue going forward, which would have the effect of locking Washington’s broken, regressive tax system into place permanently.
In late November, at the time the 2015 general election was certified, I-1366 was challenged in court by the League of Women Voters of Washington, State Senators Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt, Paramount Duty co-organizer Eden Mack, Gerry Reilly, Paul Bell, Tony Lee, and Angela Bartels. Plaintiffs allege that I-1366 is unconstitutional because it contains multiple subjects, runs afoul of the Constitution’s amendment process, exceeds the scope of the people’s initiative power, and improperly restricts the lawmaking power of the 2016 Legislature.
“We strongly agree with the plaintiffs in Lee v. State that Tim Eyman’s I-1366 egregiously violates our plan of government, which has served us well since statehood,” said Northwest Progressive Institute and Permanent Defense founder Andrew Villeneuve, who has been organizing opposition to Tim Eyman’s initiative factory for nearly fourteen years.
“Our state’s founders did their best to come up with a plan of government for Washington that struck a balance between majority rule with minority rights. Sadly, Tim Eyman is so obsessed with upsetting this balance that he has resorted to extortion. He has a knack for crafting deceptive initiatives that self-mask their harm, which makes mounting opposition campaigns in the court of public opinion very difficult. We worked hard against I-1366 last autumn, and while we weren’t able to defeat it then, we were successful in bolstering the no vote in the late ballots.”
“We’re very grateful to Paul Lawrence, Sarah Washburn, and Kymberly Evanson at Pacifica Law Group for taking on this case and carrying on the fight against this awful initiative. Paul was very impressive and on point during oral arguments in court this morning. He thoroughly refuted the defendants’ disingenuous arguments.”
“Tim Eyman’s incessant boasting and continued predictions of total victory have us wondering if he was at at the same hearing that we were. Bravado isn’t going to stop I-1366 from being struck down as unconstitutional.”
“We’re looking forward to reading Judge Downing’s ruling on Thursday. Regardless of what it says, we will continue to fight to uphold our Constitution and our cherished plan of majority rule, so that our state government continues to function the way our founders intended it to.”