Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tim Eyman's 2010 scheme will be an Initiative 960 redux (or so he tells the Associated Press)

Not content to take a Christmas break from hawking bad ideas, initiative profiteer Tim Eyman has told The Associated Press that his 2010 initiative will be a redux of his 2007 measure, Initiative 960, which narrowly passed statewide two years ago and imposed unconstitutional limits on the Legislature's ability to raise revenue.

The wire service, which frequently acts like a promoter for Eyman, has obliged his request for publicity by putting out a "news brief" summarizing his "announcement". The "news brief" is all of five paragraphs and doesn't contain any direct quotes. The Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, and Longview Daily News have all run it on their websites so far.

We're not surprised that Eyman plans to run a more devious and destructive version of Initiative 960 as his 2010 initiative.

As longtime Eyman opponents, we're all too familiar with his habit of recycling the same harmful schemes over and over and over again.

Since Eyman's 2010 measure will be built on the same faulty premise as Initiative 960, it's already guaranteed to be unconstitutional on its face. The Washington State Constitution explicitly says that the Legislature is a democratic institution where majority rule shall prevail. From Article II, Section 22:
SECTION 22. PASSAGE OF BILLS. No bill shall become a law unless on its final passage the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the members voting for and against the same be entered on the journal of each house, and a majority of the members elected to each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor.
Emphasis is mine.

Eyman is once again demonstrating his contempt for the whole idea of representative democracy, the system of government our nation was founded upon. Since the Legislature won't kowtow to Eyman's demands, he means to try and force them to by undemocratically changing the rules, proposing a law that explicitly violates the Washington State Constitution.

In anticipation that allowing Initiative 960 to stand would set a bad precedent, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown initated a lawsuit during the 2008 legislative session which sought to have I-960 tossed out.

Rather than ruling on the merits of the case - the real Constitutional issues involved - the Court dismissed Brown's suit, filed against Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, on a technicality. (Owen was just as disappointed with the ruling as Brown; they had both hoped the Court would affirm that Initiative 960 is at odds with the supreme law of our land, and wipe it off our books).

However, the Supreme Court's refusal to strike Initiative 960 doesn't mean the measure passes muster with our Constitution. Tim Eyman might stupidly and naively claim that, but he'd be utterly wrong if he did.

The reason Eyman is running a "Son of 960" (as he will probably call it) is because Democrats now have the ability, as of this month, to amend Initiative 960 by simple majority vote of the House and Senate. Ironically, I-960's unconstitutional provisions were protected by the Constitution itself, which forbids the Legislature from modifying an initiative until two years to the date after it has gone into effect.

We have already been preparing to go to battle with Eyman again in 2010, so today's "announcement" really doesn't change much.

We are resolved to continue opposing his destructive schemes until he and his initiative factory are out of business for good.


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