Republican leaders release statement on the Legislature defeating Gov. Jay Inslee in the Washington Supreme Court

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox and Senate Republican Leader John Braun released the following statement on the Legislature's win over Gov. Jay Inslee in the Washington Supreme Court today:

“The Legislature knew Governor Inslee overstepped his constitutional authority by vetoing single lines of the transportation budget in 2019. The four caucuses agreed to bring legal action against the governor on this important separation of powers issue. The Legislature won in state Superior Court last year and won again in the state Supreme Court today. We appreciate that the courts agreed with our understanding of the limitations on the governor's veto power.”

Background:

  • The Legislature passed the state's transportation budget, House Bill 1160, on April 28, 2019. Six single-sentence provisions relating to public transportation grants in Section 220 of the bill were stricken by veto from Gov. Jay Inslee on May 21, 2019. The sentence read: “Fuel type may not be a factor in the grant selection process.”
  • The House Executive Rules Committee and the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee voted unanimously to file a lawsuit against Gov. Jay Inslee claiming he exceeded his constitutional authority by vetoing less than an entire section or appropriation item. The Complaint for Declaratory Judgment was filed on Aug. 30, 2019.
  • A Thurston County Superior Court Judge ruled on June 25, 2020 that Gov. Jay Inslee's vetoes of the sentences were invalid because those sentences were not appropriation items subject to individual veto. The judge also ruled that the sentences do not constitute prohibited substantive law in the budget, nor do they directly conflict with the codified statutes regarding those particular transportation grants.
  • The Washington Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's decision on Nov. 10, 2021, holding that Gov. Jay Inslee had overstepped his constitutional veto authority.

More information:

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov