Whether passed by the Legislature or by the people, all laws in the State of Washington must comply with our Constitution. Initiative No. 976 (“I-976”) fails this test. As with prior initiatives by the same sponsor, I-976 is a poorly drafted hodge-podge that violates multiple provisions of the Constitution.
It then lays out the specific objections: violation of the single-subject rule, subject-in-title requirement, implied repeal of multiple statutes without disclosure, violations of due process and separation of powers, impairing contractual obligations and more. The complaint, filed in King County Superior Court, asks for a
…judgement declaring I-976 unconstitutional and permanently enjoining I-976 from taking effect, or otherwise being enforced.
Joining in the complaint are the City of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle, the Garfield County Transit Authority, the Amalgamated Transit Union Legislative Council of Washington, Intercity Transit, the Association of Washington Cities, and Michael Rogers, an individual who relies on transit services.
If the request to halt the law is successful, it’s unclear how soon a judge may issue such an order. In 2002, local governments won a preliminary injunction a week after requesting it, while the legal arguments played out. Most of I-976 is set to take effect Dec. 5.
We’ll soon see.