State of Washington
64th Legislature
2015 Regular Session
By Representatives Manweller, Haler, Shea, and Buys
Read first time 02/09/15. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article II, section 43 and Article IV, sections 3 and 4 of the Constitution of the state of Washington to read as follows:
Article II, section 43. (1) In January of each year ending in one, a commission shall be established to provide for the redistricting of state legislative, supreme court, and congressional districts.
(2) The commission shall be composed of five members to be selected as follows: The legislative leader of the two largest political parties in each house of the legislature shall appoint one voting member to the commission by January 15th of each year ending in one. By January 31st of each year ending in one, the four appointed members, by an affirmative vote of at least three, shall appoint the remaining member. The fifth member of the commission, who shall be nonvoting, shall act as its chairperson. If any appointing authority fails to make the required appointment by the date established by this subsection, within five days after that date the supreme court shall make the required appointment.
(3) No elected official and no person elected to legislative district, county, or state political party office may serve on the commission. A commission member shall not have been an elected official and shall not have been an elected legislative district, county, or state political party officer within two years of his or her appointment to the commission. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to the office of precinct committee person.
(4) The legislature shall enact laws providing for the implementation of this section, to include additional qualifications for commissioners and additional standards to govern the commission. The legislature shall appropriate funds to enable the commission to carry out its duties.
(5) Each district shall contain a population, excluding nonresident military personnel, as nearly equal as practicable to the population of any other district. To the extent reasonable, each district shall contain contiguous territory, shall be compact and convenient, and shall be separated from adjoining districts by natural geographic barriers, artificial barriers, or political subdivision boundaries. The commission's plan shall not provide for a number of legislative districts different than that established by the legislature. The commission's plan shall not be drawn purposely to favor or discriminate against any political party or group.
(6) The commission shall complete redistricting as soon as possible following the federal decennial census, but no later than January 1st of each year ending in two. At least three of the voting members shall approve such a redistricting plan. If three of the voting members of the commission fail to approve a plan within the time limitations provided in this subsection, the supreme court shall adopt a plan by April 30th of the year ending in two in conformance with the standards set forth in subsection (5) of this section. The portion of any plan adopted by the supreme court creating supreme court districts must subsequently be approved by the legislature.
(7) The legislature may amend the redistricting plan but must do so by a two-thirds vote of the legislators elected or appointed to each house of the legislature. Any amendment must have passed both houses by the end of the thirtieth day of the first session convened after the commission has submitted its plan to the legislature. After that day, the plan, with any legislative amendments, constitutes the state districting law.
(8) The legislature shall enact laws providing for the reconvening of a commission for the purpose of modifying a districting law adopted under this section. Such reconvening requires a two-thirds vote of the legislators elected or appointed to each house of the legislature. The commission shall conform to the standards prescribed under subsection (5) of this section and any other standards or procedures that the legislature may provide by law. At least three of the voting members shall approve such a modification. Any modification adopted by the commission may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the legislators elected and appointed to each house of the legislature. The state districting law shall include the modifications with amendments, if any.
(9) The legislature shall prescribe by law the terms of commission members and the method of filling vacancies on the commission.
(10) The supreme court has original jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases involving congressional and legislative redistricting. The division three court of appeals has original jurisdiction to hear and decide all cases involving the establishment of or review of the boundary lines of supreme court districts.
(11) Legislative and congressional districts may not be changed or established except pursuant to this section. A districting plan and any legislative amendments to the plan are not subject to Article III, section 12 of this Constitution.
Article IV, section 3. The judges of the supreme court shall reside in and be elected by the qualified electors ((of the state at large)) located in supreme court districts at the general state election at the times and places at which state officers are elected, unless some other time be provided by the legislature. The first election of judges of the supreme court shall be at the election which shall be held upon the adoption of this Constitution and the judges elected thereat shall be classified by lot, so that two shall hold their office for the term of three years, two for the term of five years, and one for the term of seven years. The lot shall be drawn by the judges who shall for that purpose assemble at the seat of government, and they shall cause the result thereof to be certified to the secretary of state, and filed in his office.
The supreme court shall select a chief justice from its own membership to serve for a four-year term at the pleasure of a majority of the court as prescribed by supreme court rule. The chief justice shall preside at all sessions of the supreme court. In case of the absence of the chief justice, the majority of the remaining court shall select one of their members to serve as acting chief justice. After the first election the terms of judges elected shall be six years from and after the second Monday in January next succeeding their election.
If a vacancy occur in the office of a judge of the supreme court the governor shall only appoint a person to ensure the number of judges as specified by the legislature, to hold the office until the election and qualification of a judge to fill the vacancy, which election shall take place at the next succeeding general election, and the judge so elected shall hold the office for the remainder of the unexpired term. The term of office of the judges of the supreme court, first elected, shall commence as soon as the state shall have been admitted into the Union, and continue for the term herein provided, and until their successors are elected and qualified. The sessions of the supreme court shall be held at the seat of government until otherwise provided by law.
The legislature shall adopt laws to create and implement the supreme court districts.
Article IV, section 4. The supreme court shall have original jurisdiction in habeas corpus, and quo warranto and mandamus as to all state officers, and appellate jurisdiction in all actions and proceedings, excepting that its appellate jurisdiction shall not extend to civil actions at law for the recovery of money or personal property when the original amount in controversy, or the value of the property does not exceed the sum of two hundred dollars ($200) unless the action involves the legality of a tax, impost, assessment, toll, municipal fine, or the validity of a statute, excepting also that its appellate jurisdiction shall not extend to an action or proceeding to challenge the establishment or redrawing of supreme court district boundaries. The supreme court shall also have power to issue writs of mandamus, review, prohibition, habeas corpus, certiorari and all other writs necessary and proper to the complete exercise of its appellate and revisory jurisdiction. Each of the judges shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus to any part of the state upon petition by or on behalf of any person held in actual custody, and may make such writs returnable before himself, or before the supreme court, or before any superior court of the state or any judge thereof.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this amendment is a single amendment within the meaning of Article XXIII, section 1 of the state Constitution.
The legislature finds that the changes contained in this amendment constitute a single integrated plan for supreme court districts. If this amendment is held to be separate amendments, this joint resolution is void in its entirety and is of no further force and effect.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the secretary of state shall cause notice of this constitutional amendment to be published at least four times during the four weeks next preceding the election in every legal newspaper in the state.
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