Two weeks after Tim Eyman filed a lawsuit against the State and the Legislature demanding they include both Initiative-940 and HB 3003 on the November ballot, Senator Mike Padden has joined the ongoing litigation.
During the last week of session, the legislature controversially passed HB 3003, a bill that modifies I-940, an initiative to the legislature enacting changes to police use of deadly force laws in Washington. HB 3003 passed in the Senate on a partisan 25-24 vote (Democrat Tim Sheldon also voted in opposition), with many Republicans saying passage of the bill was a way to circumvent the initiative process outlined in the Constitution.
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Senator Padden was one of the more outspoken legislators in opposition. During floor debate, he said that while he strongly supported the policy, the legislature’s greater duty should be to the people and to protect the Constitution and the initiative process.
In an email sent to the media, the legislature, and the governor, Eyman announced on Thursday that attorney David DeWolf will intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of Senator Padden.
The email included the following statement from Padden:
“The reason I have chosen to participate in this case is because I care passionately about the Constitution and want to see that it’s followed,” says Padden. “The Legislature came up with an extra constitutional method of dealing with this initiative to the legislature. Not only is this a novel approach but it sets a very dangerous precedent on future initiatives to the legislature. It is critical that the Court defend the state Constitution and order that both Initiative 940 and the Legislature’s alternative be put on the ballot and for the people to choose between them. I fully support having an objective standard for law enforcement to follow when making a determination on whether to use deadly force but that change must made in a legal and constitutional way.”
The Solicitor General will represent the legislature in the lawsuit. However, David DeWolf, a professor emeritus at Gonzaga School of Law, says he does not believe the Solicitor General will be able to adequately represent all members of the legislature.
“Senator Padden believes that the solicitor general will be unable to represent adequately both the members of the legislature who agreed with the treatment of initiative 940 as well as those legislators who, while they may have agreed with the policy contained in the amended version of initiative 940, did not believe that the legislature could avoid following the procedure prescribed by the Constitution.”
Tim Eyman says he is excited to have Padden and DeWolf on board. He says it was Senator Padden’s floor speech and a subsequent radio interview that inspired him to file the lawsuit in the first place.
The entire lawsuit can be found here.