Rep. Reuven Carlyle

PubliCola reports that Ballard Rep. Reuven Carlyle is challenging the supermajority requirement in the emergency transit bill, SB 5457. The bill’s current form requires six of nine County Councilmembers to approve a $20 license fee that basically avoids Metro cuts for two years. Assuming all five Democrats vote for it, it would need the support of one Republican, likely Jane Hague of the inner Eastside suburbs.

On Carlyle’s blog he outlines his philosophical objecti0n:

In my view, it is unacceptable for the Legislature to institute supermajority rules for local and county governments. This sort of structural change that goes to the heart of how governments function is not trivial. As in medicine, the first rule of the Legislative Session should be to “do no harm.” This idea fails that responsibility.

I’m actually sympathetic to the point Mr. Carlyle is trying to make, although I wouldn’t sacrifice $26m of annual Metro funding to make it. I’m not equipped to handicap the politics of this, but the questions to ask are:

  • Would a Carlyle amendment pass the House but then get the whole bill killed in the Senate? Carlyle seems to think it’s a possibility.
  • Is Jane Hague really going to vote for this thing? What concessions would she require for a yes vote? Metro has a package of administrative reforms on the table that requires Council approval, and the budget issue adds an extra dimension of bargaining.

10 Replies to “Supermajority Chicken”

  1. The severability clause would override the objectionable portion of the legislation and hence nullify the vote should it passed with less than a supermajority. Basically, there’s no loss. Either we win with a majority and his point wins out, we win with a supermajority and it really doesn’t matter, or we just get a majority, it gets challenged, and we lose. There’s no harm in trying. He should go for it.

    1. Oh, nevermind, I missed that part about the council. Well, there’s still no harm though, I imagine a Republican would still join the majority. I have a hard time they want cuts to the east, voters won’t be thrilled. But I see your point.

  2. On point no.2: What is the likelyhood that keeping 40/40/20 would be one of Jane Hague’s conditions? If high, then I say Rep. Carlyle’s amendment is worth the risk.

    1. Jane Hague testified in Olympia in support of the bill. It is capped at two years, making it an easier vote for a Republican. Her district is very urban–Mercer Island, Bellevue, and Kirkland. She has a tough re-election campaign this year. You do the math.

      1. On the other hand, when she testified for the bill she said she wanted the option, not that she’d necessarily vote for it.

        Tax increases for transit are not as popular on the Eastside as population density would suggest.

      2. I think when faced with 20% cuts to the Metro system in the next two years, Jane would vote for it. 20% equals all service to East King or all weekend Metro service if that helps place it in context. Over 50% of those cuts would have to come from Seattle because that is where 62% of service is.

        I can’t ride a principle to work.

  3. I hate to say it, but the Emergency Transit Funding Bill should be shot down. The very bill that probally helped kill PT’s own Prop 1 (The average voter probally said, well if they are going to raise my tabs by $20 or whatever for transit they wont get a sales tax increase too) not only is not available to PT and CT who to each their own extent have reduced service and made other cuts in progams but cannot benefit from it… But am i bitter? no.

Comments are closed.