The state House Executive Rules Committee and the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee have voted unanimously to file a lawsuit again Gov. Jay Inslee to challenge his single-sentence vetoes after provisions relating to public transportation grants were stricken by the governor May 21, according to a press release from State House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox.
The six single-sentence vetoes were made after the Legislature passed the state’s two-year transportation budget, House Bill 1160.
“This is a separation of powers issue,” said Wilcox, a Republican from Yelm. “Republican and Democratic caucus leaders in the legislative branch agree that the governor overstepped his constitutional authority by vetoing single lines of House Bill 1160. While the case law supports the legislative branch's position in this lawsuit, it's important for the court to rule so both the Legislature and governor have a clear understanding of their authority in the future.”
Inslee responded to news of the litigation with his own statement.
“We don’t believe this issue has been addressed by the courts and we understand the Legislature’s desire to settle the question about important institutional powers,” Inslee wrote in a prepared statement. "The language was vetoed because it indirectly amends an existing statute through the transportation budget. Our Constitution does not allow laws to be changed indirectly. The language would have prevented the Washington State Department of Transportation from considering clean fuels as a factor in the grant selection process of nearly $190 million in multimodal grant funding, contradicting that statute’s mandate to consider 'energy efficiency issues' in the grant selection process. This is a respectful difference of opinion, and we look forward to forthcoming guidance from our courts.”
The governor’s veto can be seen here: https://crmpublicwebservice.des.wa.gov/bats/attachment/vetomessage/496792ac-307c-e911-815c-005056ba1db5
House Bill 1160 can be seen here: