Guests: Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) and House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm)
Transportation Linkage Veto
With a partial veto Governor Jay Inslee scrapped the mandate for a gas tax increase tied to a transportation funding package before two big climate bills could take effect.
“Like the cap and invest bill, this bill contains the same provision that unnecessarily delays climate, clean air, and clean fuels progress from taking effect unless and until a 5 cent per gallon gas increase is enacted.” I am vetoing subsection 8 of section 3 which operates inappropriately as a delayed effective date, Again I am fully committed to working with legislators to pass a transportation package this year.” – Governor Jay Inslee, referring to HB 1091- the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, during the May 17th bill signing ceremony.
Legislative leaders are pushing back over the governor’s veto of the transportation funding requirement built into the low carbon fuel standard and Climate Commitment Act bills.
“Like the cap and invest bill this bill contains the same provision that unnecessarily delays climate, clean air, and clean fuels progress from taking effect,” said Governor Jay Inslee, during the bill signing ceremony for HB 1091 and SB 5126.
In separate statements House Speaker Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) and Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) described the partial veto as an executive overreach by the governor that’s headed for court. House and Senate Republican caucus leaders also put out statements condemning the governor’s partial veto as illegal.
We interviewed the Democratic Senate Majority Leader:
“These bills wouldn’t have passed without those compromises,” said Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane).
“This is definitely a bump in the road.”
And the House Republican Leader:
“I think overreach without any effective legislative pushback just leads to more overreach,” said Rep. J.T. Wilcox (R-Yelm).
“The governor has had a pretty bad week.”
Tribal Consent Veto
In the Climate Commitment Act bill, Governor Inslee vetoed a section containing a requirement that tribes consent to projects connected to the cap and trade bill. At the bill signing ceremony the governor said:
“Today I’m vetoing Section 6 of this bill which contains a provision that differs from our current government to government approach. It does not properly recognize the mutual sovereign relationship between tribal governors and the state. In particular there are legal concerns with the undefined and broad requirement for tribal consent in the use of climate investment funds and to the lack of due process when consent is withheld. And I look forward to working with tribes to a more perfect resolution of this effort. I will be requesting formal consultation with the tribal leaders to jointly develop improved consultation procedure,” said Governor Jay Inslee, referring to SB 5126 – the Climate Commitment Act, during the May 17th bill signing ceremony.
The governor’s veto of the tribal consent provision prompted a scathing response from senior leaders of multiple tribes.
“To plainly speak the truth, Governor Inslee used, exploited, and betrayed Tribal Nations in order to pass his climate change bill,” said Robert de los Angeles, Chairman of the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe.
“This week, Jay Inslee committed the most egregious and shameless betrayal of a deal I have ever witnessed from a politician of any party, at any level,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians and the Vice President of the Quinault Indian Nation. “As the President of the National Congress of American Indians, which represents over 500 sovereign Tribal Nations, I will not participate in any process that validates Inslee’s delusional belief that he has authority over sovereign Tribes or speaks for the Washington State Legislature or Washington State voters.”
In a written response a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office calls the claim of betrayal “baseless.”
“As for the tribal consent provision, this was a section added late in the legislative process and without any promise from the governor not to veto it. No one involved in these negotiations can say there was a deal struck with the governor’s office on Section 6. It would have given broad and undefined authority to tribes.” – Governor’s Office
Broadband Bill Confusion
The need for fast, reliable internet service statewide became crystal clear during the lockdown that closed businesses and schools across the state.
In response lawmakers approved millions for broadband investments and also changed the law to allow ports and public utility districts to offer retail broadband. The House and Senate passed two somewhat different versions of the legislation, HB 1336 and SB 5383. Now there is confusion among some lawmakers and the Washington Secretary Of State’s Office about whether conflicting portions of the bills are still in effect. When similar bills are signed at different times, the bill signed last takes precedence under state law, but the governor signed the two broadband bills at the same time, one with his left hand and one with his right. Now the secretary of state is asking a court to offer guidance on how to number the bills.
As for why Governor Inslee took the unusual step? Here’s how a spokesperson for the Governor’s Office explained the situation:
“We do not believe there is a conflict and both bills approved by the Legislature will appear in the code. As such, one version of the double amendments will appear first. We asked legislators to resolve it amongst themselves – which version should appear first? Both legislators made compelling and passionate arguments to the governor for signing their bill first. It seemed only fair to sign them at the same time and to allow the regular process to resolve the technical issue of which version will appear first in the code.” – Governor’s Office
Click here to watch “The Impact” – May 26, 2021