House passes school levy bill; EFF comments


Marsha Richards,
Evergreen Freedom Foundation

Olympia, WA - By a vote of 68-29, the Washington State House of Representatives decided Monday evening to undo the supermajority requirement to pass school levies. A two-thirds vote was required since the supermajority requirement is a part of the state constitution. The measure (HJR 4204) now moves to the Senate for consideration. If the Senate concurs with a two-thirds or higher vote, it will move to the general ballot in November.

The supermajority requirement was established as a safeguard for property owners, since levy dollars come from property taxes. Special elections are expensive and easy to manipulate when only a simple majority is required.

The people who want to change the levy elections to a simple majority argue that members of Congress and the legislature are elected with a simple majority: Why not school levies, they ask? But those same people will not agree to move the levy election to November when Congress and state lawmakers run for office. Voter turn-out is largest in November, and it would cost far less to put a levy election on the same ballot.

"If lawmakers and school officials want to pass levies with a simple majority during 'special' elections alone, only property owners should vote during that election, " said Lynn Harsh, executive director of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. "Besides, every time a property tax rollback is on the ballot, it passes. What is it lawmakers don't understand about the sentiments of property owners?"

The current bill maintains a supermajority requirement for school construction bonds.


Here is the Roll Call on the vote....

Chamber: HOUSE 2004
Regular Session
Bill No.: HJR 4204
Description: ADOPTION
Item No.: 2
Transcript No.:
Date: 01-19-2004
Yeas: 68 Nays: 29
Absent: 00 Excused: 00
yea: Representatives Alexander, Anderson, Armstrong,

Bailey, Blake, Boldt, Cairnes, Campbell, Chase,

Clibborn, Cody, Conway, Cooper, Darneille,

Dickerson, Dunshee, Edwards, Eickmeyer, Ericksen,

Flannigan, Fromhold, Grant, Haigh, Hankins,

Hatfield, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Jarrett, Kagi,

Kenney, Kessler, Kirby, Lantz, Linville, Lovick,

McCoy, McDermott, McDonald, McIntire, Miloscia,

Moeller, Morrell, Morris, Murray, O'Brien, Ormsby,

Pettigrew, Priest, Quall, Rockefeller, Romero,

Ruderman, Santos, Schual-Berke, Simpson, D.,

Simpson, G., Skinner, Sommers, Sullivan, Talcott,

Tom, Upthegrove, Veloria, Wallace, Wood, Woods,

and Speaker Chopp

nay: Representatives Ahern, Benson, Buck, Bush,

Carrell, Chandler, Clements, Condotta, Cox,

Crouse, DeBolt, Delvin, Hinkle, Holmquist,

Kristiansen, Mastin, McMahan, McMorris, Mielke,

Newhouse, Nixon, Orcutt, Pearson, Roach,

Schindler, Schoesler, Sehlin, Shabro, Sump



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