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Northwest News Network

Washington Lt. Governor Tosses Two-Thirds Rule For 'New' Taxes

Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen
Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen

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.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network