In January, the Washington state Senate adopted a rule requiring that new taxes pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Monday Lt. Governor Brad Owen tossed it out.
Owen said the super majority threshold runs afoul of the state constitution. Owen pointed to a 2013 Washington Supreme Court ruling that overturned a voter-approved super majority requirement for tax hikes.
“The Senate cannot pass a rule that violates the state constitution,” Owen said. “Perhaps that statement should be clarified to read the Senate may adopt an unconstitutional rule, but the [Senate] president will not enforce it.”
Owen presides over the Washington Senate.
Majority Republicans adopted the two-thirds rule on the first day of the 2015 session.
The fight may not be over. Senate rules allow a majority of members to overturn the president’s rulings.