OLYMPIA…Senate Republican leadership issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit announced by the Washington State Legislature against Gov. Jay Inslee for an illegal veto of six single-sentence provisions in the state’s 2019-21 transportation budget (House Bill 1160).
The Senate Facilities & Operations Committee, along with the House Executive Rules Committee, voted unanimously to file suit against Inslee to challenge these single-sentence vetoes.
“The state constitution provides the executive branch with the power to veto sections of legislation or specific appropriation items. It does not give the governor the power to veto individual sentences. The text of the statement isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that the governor can’t be allowed to overstep his constitutional authority. This is why we have separate branches of the government. If this is allowed to stand, it would further damage the dwindling trust the legislature has in the governor.” – Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.
“The legislative process is undermined when the executive branch decides on its own to ignore the constitution and legal precedent. These constitutional provisions exist to protect the integrity of the process. As legislators, we have a responsibility to check and balance the governor’s misstep.” – Senate Republican Caucus Chair Randi Becker, R-Olympia.
The Washington State Legislature has twice filed suit against the executive branch. It sued Gov. Mike Lowry in 1997 and Gov. Gary Locke in 1999. In the case against Lowry, the justices included in their opinion, “We do not believe an ‘appropriations item’ may be a sentence, phrase, letter, digit, or anything less than a whole proviso.”