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BIAW files suit against Governor Inslee and State due to Violations of State Constitution

July 16, 2019

BIAW filed suit against Governor Jay Inslee, the State of Washington, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) because the governor and legislature overstepped their constitutional authority in legislation that created new fines for builders.

The Governor violated the constitution by vetoing a small portion of a bill, specifically a subsection. Although the Governor has the authority to veto parts of bills passed by the legislature, he must veto an entire section rather than veto a single item or line. The legislature violated the constitution’s single-subject requirement by passing a bill that had matters not reflected in the title. “We have a number of concerns about how the law was passed, creating confusion about what the law means for our members,” stated BIAW General Counsel Jackson Maynard.

“As a result of these illegal actions there is confusion about the authority of DFW to implement the bill through enforcement and rule-making,” explained Maynard. The bill repealed the existing ability of the department to fine for violations and the governor vetoed the new authority. As a result, it is unclear whether and how the department can issue civil fines at all.

“Actions by the Governor have raised a number of questions on constitutionality, enforcement and rule-making authority that need to be cleared up as soon as possible, to give predictability and certainty to the process for our members,” concluded Maynard. “All we are asking in this lawsuit is for a court to require that the Governor and legislature abide by their oaths and act in accordance with the state’s founding document.”

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