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ICYMI: BIAW challenges Governor’s partial veto in Division 2 Court of Appeals

February 24, 2021

In an online hearing today before the Division 2 Court of Appeals, Building Industry Association of Washington General Counsel Jackson Maynard presented oral arguments in BIAW’s case against the governor and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DF&W).

BIAW alleges the Governor violated the Washington State Constitution when he vetoed a subsection of HB 1579, passed during the 2019 legislative session.

HB 1579 implemented recommendations from the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force, including increasing civil penalties for violations of the statute that regulates coastal construction from $100 per violation to up to $10,000 per violation.

The legislation linked the penalty increases to a provision “directing the Conservation Commission (Commission) to initiate demonstration projects to test river management strategies that protect agricultural lands, fish life, and public infrastructure and recreational access.” The Governor vetoed this subsection.

The Washington State Constitution specifically requires that the governor veto sections in their entirety, rather than subsections. If BIAW prevails, the court could strike down penalty increase. The Attorney General’s office represented the state.

“The state constitution is really clear that the governor can’t “partially veto” a bill except in rare instances,” Maynard said. “If the governor wins, he will be able to veto subsections of legislation to fit his agenda whenever he disagrees with the policy in a law—even after it has already passed the Legislature.”

Read more and review court filings here.

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