Mounting criticism of governor’s vetoes of transportation linkages in climate change bills.

In yesterday’s newsletter, we had a short item on the governor’s vetoes of parts of two climate change bills that linked to what lawmakers called a “grand bargain.” The vetoes drew swift and sharp bipartisan criticism, as well as a tough editorial in The Seattle Times.

Since that came out, we’ve seen several more coverage of the vetoes, including additional editorial criticism. The issue, important as it is to the eventual passage of a much-needed transportation bill, also has significant implications for executive-legislative branch relations and the separation of powers.

The Seattle Times reports,

In an unusually harsh public scolding, Washington tribal leaders unloaded on Gov. Jay Inslee Friday for his veto this week of a section of a carbon-cap bill that required improved consultation with tribes about climate investments made under the act.

Inslee said the bill required tribal consent for some climate projects involving their interest, which differs from the current approach, and does “not properly recognize the mutual, sovereign relationships between tribal governments and the state.”

That earned him an unprecedented dressing down from tribal leaders and some state Democratic legislative leaders in a joint news release Friday.

Read the story for more details. The criticism is unusually pointed.

Seattle Times editorial page editor Kate Riley amplifies to the paper’s previous editorial in a signed commentary. 

But, as the governor affixed his signature [to the climate bills], he also vetoed key sections in each that were crucial to the bills even getting to his desk. He undercut months of lawmakers’ shrewd negotiating, cajoling and compromising that delivered the impressive progress toward reducing the state’s carbon emissions. Fellow Democrats in both chambers promise to sue over what they describe as his veto overreach.

Here’s the rub. Without Sen. Reuven Carlyle and other key Democratic senators hatching a grand-bargain-style plan that hinged on those vetoed concepts, the governor would be chalking up the 2021 legislative session as just another big whiff for his climate agenda. Yep, he would have been Oh and nine.

Further, the linkage was necessary to maintain momentum for the transportation package.

“The one thing keeping things going was the pressure from those provisions,” noted Neil Strege, vice president of the Washington Roundtable, representing major private employers. “When that is cut out from under you, what’s the forcing function?”

The Union-Bulletin editorial board calls the vetoes “out of line.”

When both sides of the aisle are angry over the same thing, it’s clear that the issue in question needs to be addressed.

Due to Gov. Jay Inslee’s partial vetoes on subsections in a pair of carbon-cutting bills Monday, many legislators across the spectrum are calling the governor’s actions unconstitutional and calling the courts to challenge the vetoes.

Doubtless, still more to come.