NPI thanks Senate Democrats for voting to protect Washington’s cherished tradition of majority rule

Legislation & Testimony

This morning, the Washington State Senate voted twenty-six to twenty-three to reject a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 8211) to undemocratically require a two-thirds vote for passage of any bill that would raise revenue.

The amendment, which itself fittingly required a two-thirds vote to pass in the Senate, was defeated, with all twenty-three Democratic senators voting no and all twenty-six Republican senators (Tim Sheldon included) voting yes.

Following the vote, Northwest Progressive Institute/Permanent Defense founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve thanked Senate Democrats for sticking together to defend Article II, Section 22 of Washington’s Constitution, which the Tim Eyman-backed amendment would have sabotaged.

“Our tradition of majority rule dates back to the founding of our state,” said Villeneuve. “The seventy-five delegates who participated in the 1889 constitutional convention debated voting limits more than just about any other topic, as David Perez of Perkins Coie discovered while researching the convention four years ago during the League of Education Voters case. The delegates decided that the only standard that made sense for passing bills was a majority vote. Not a three-fifths vote, not a two-thirds vote, not a three-fourths vote… a majority vote.”

“Our Founders understood that our state needed a plan of government that balanced majority rule with minority rights. Where they felt it appropriate to protect minority rights, they explicitly required minority consent to take action. That is why there are numerous places in the Constitution that require a two-thirds vote or a three-fifths vote to take an extraordinary action, like amending the Constitution or overriding a veto. But for passage of bills, our Founders made it clear in Article II, Section 22 that an absolute majority was the threshold for passage of bills. They wanted laws to be made by the many, not a few.”

“Today, our Democratic Senators voted to defend our cherished tradition of majority rule. They stood together, unified, for the values Washington was founded upon, in defiance of Tim Eyman and his wealthy benefactors. They did so knowing several of them will likely be attacked in campaign advertising this coming election season. They showed real courage today, and we cannot thank them enough.”

“Tim Eyman knows that when Democrats stand together in opposition to his destructive agenda — and when progressives unify a majority of our state’s people around our finest traditional values — he can’t win. Eyman is well aware that he cannot get the amendment he so desperately wants without Democratic votes. That’s why he resorted to blackmail with Initiative 1366. Thankfully, Eyman’s attempt to coerce Democrats into doing his bidding has been a complete failure.”

“It’s a shame that not a single Republican was willing today to stand up to Tim Eyman today. We would have liked to see some of the Republicans listen to the elder statesmen of their party and vote against SJR 8211. Distinguished Republicans like Sam Reed, Ralph Munro, and Dan Evans, who have been elected statewide to govern in years past, understand that majority rule is good for Republicans and Democrats alike. That’s why they opposed Tim Eyman’s I-1366 last autumn.”

“It’s really too bad that Tim Eyman, who is under investigation for serious violations of our state’s public disclosure laws, continues to enjoy such influence with legislative Republicans. But at least he has none with Democrats. History shall reflect that when our cherished tradition of majority rule came under attack, twenty-three brave Democrats stood up and defended it. They deserve the admiration and thanks of all Washingtonians who want to see our Constitution upheld.”

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