Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Why is the WA State Senate allowing Brad Owen to break the rules?

So, yesterday, we're given to understand that Brad Owen declared the Senate Rule requiring a 2/3rd's majority to be "Unconstitutional."

That, of course, is not one of his duties or abilities.  The sole arbiter of constitutionality is the Courts.

That having been said, I was struck by the fact that it was done in conjunction with the GOP sell out on the gas tax... which, of course, would not have passed under the GOP imposed 2/3rd's requirement.

Then I was struck by the fact that the GOP didn't immediately demand a Point of Order, citing Rule 35, which states this: 
Rule 35.
1. The permanent senate rules adopted at the first regular session during a legislative biennium shall govern any session subsequently convened during the same legislative biennium. Adoption of permanent rules may be by majority of the senate without notice and a majority of the senate may change a permanent rule without notice at the beginning of any session, as determined pursuant to Article 2, Section 12 of the State Constitution. No permanent rule or order of the senate shall be rescinded or changed without a majority vote of the members, and one day's notice of the motion. 
2. A permanent rule or order may be temporarily suspended for a special purpose by a vote of two-thirds of the members present unless otherwise specified herein. When the suspension of a rule is called, and after due notice from the president no objection is offered, the president may announce the rule suspended, and the senate may proceed accordingly. Motion for suspension of the rules shall not be debatable, except, the mover of the motion may briefly explain the purpose of the motion and at the discretion of the president a rebuttal may be allowed.
Far be it from me to suggest that the GOP WANTED this rule thrown out without a vote.  I mean, they'd never engage in that kind of subterfuge, would they?

I mean, if they DIDN'T want this rule thrown out, then why didn't they challenge the decision?
Rule 32.
Every decision of points of order by the president shall be subject to appeal by any senator, and discussion of a question of order shall be allowed. In all cases of appeal the question shall be: "Shall the decision of the president stand as the judgment of the senate?"
Imagine if they had done that.  Then imagine the roll-call vote on the appeal.

Man, it's a DAMNED good thing that the GOP is in charge of the State Senate.  Otherwise, the democrats would have rammed out a gas tax package WITH an emergency clause and WITHOUT a referendum clause on it....

Oh, wait.  The GOP did that.

Never mind.

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