Parliamentary maneuvering on the Senate floor during the first afternoon of the legislative session imposed a two-thirds majority requirement before a bill implementing new taxes can be proceed to final vote on the third reading calendar. Final passage requires a simple majority and is not affected by the rule change. Minority Democrats teamed up with Sens. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, and Don Benton, R-Vancouver, to keep Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, from becoming the chamber’s President Pro Tempore.
The two-thirds requirement was adopted through a rule change, meaning it will be that much tougher for Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget proposal that includes new taxes on capital gains and carbon pollution to pass, unless they include referendum clauses — which kicks the issue to voters to decide. Bills to impose new taxes only need a majority vote if they include the referendum clause. The rule change was adopted on a 26-23 party-line vote.
Sheldon’s nomination as pro tem was blocked by Benton and Roach, who joined 23 Democrats in supporting her nomination instead. She was elected 25-24, as Sheldon cast a vote for himself.
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