Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said Sunday she will sue in a bid to overturn the tax-limiting provisions of Initiative 960, a Tim Eyman-sponsored measure aimed at curbing the Legislature’s power to raise taxes.
The lawsuit, which is technically against Lt. Gov. Brad Owen over a Senate floor ruling upholding I-960, will be filed today with the state Supreme Court.
I-960 reaffirmed higher vote thresholds for tax hikes and was passed by voters in November. It requires that all state tax votes would take a two-thirds vote in both houses. An alternative is a majority vote that refers the tax increase to the voters.
Brown told the Associated Press Sunday the two-thirds requirement is “clearly unconstitutional.”
“This isn’t about 960, and this isn’t about undoing the will of the people,” Brown said. “This is about defending the Constitution and the Legislature’s ability to pass laws under the Constitution.”
Brown said they are asking the court for an expedited ruling. If that’s not granted, she said they are asking that they rule before the 2009 session.
Eyman said Democrats are upset their ability to raise taxes has been hindered.
“It is the topic that chafes,” Eyman said. “They don’t like that voters said they want it to be harder to raise taxes.”
Brown said it’s not about taxes, it’s about upholding the Constitution.
– Associated Press
More than three-mile chase ends in arrests
A Bonners Ferry police officer chased a Toyota 4-Runner for three and a half miles before shooting the car’s left tire Friday along Highway 95.
Two people were arrested in the chase, which began when the Boundary County Sheriff’s dispatch received several complaints about a reckless driver northbound on the highway.
Southbound traffic was stopped about a half mile south of the Bonners Ferry city limits by sheriff’s deputies, as the car was forced to slow down and move to the shoulder of the road. Officials said that the driver of the car tried to flee from the scene twice before the Bonners Ferry police officer shot the left front tire of the car.
Lorilee Young, 46, was arrested on charges of driving under the influence, aggravated assault, and felony eluding.
Her passenger, Alan Young, 44, was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing.
– Lisa Leinberger
Group riots after being thrown out of gym
Spokane County Sheriff’s deputies helped to break up a small riot Sunday afternoon in northeast Spokane.
The dispute, reportedly over a basketball game, began between a small group of people at Global Fitness on Price Avenue, west of Division Street. Employees of the fitness club asked the group to leave the premises, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s spokesman.
After the group left the fitness center, neighbors in the area of Shasta Avenue and Whitehouse Street called to complain about the group rioting and damaging cars. Reagan said the group threw rocks, waved chains and there was a lot of shouting.
The Spokane Police Department was also called in to assist sheriff’s deputies, according to Jon Strickland, a public information officer with Spokane police.
No one involved was willing to be a complainant or a victim and no charges were filed, Reagan said.
– Lisa Leinberger