Over the past few weeks there was speculation as to whether Governor Gregoire would veto the emergency clause off of a liquor contract bill as well as veto the Legislature’s raid of the voter-approved dedicated performance audit fund. The answer is no – both actions stand as approved by the Legislature.

Here is video of the Governor explaining why she didn’t veto the emergency clause off of SB 5942:

When asked if she would rule out signing a contract before the voters have the opportunity to weigh in on the new liquor privatization initiative she said it was highly unlikely a contract could be approved before the election but she’s learned to “never say never.”

Here is video of those comments:

In an editorial today, the Seattle Times hopes she says never:

“The new law has an emergency clause, which falsely declares that leasing out the state’s wholesale liquor monopoly is ‘necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety’ or ‘support of the state government and its existing public institutions.’

But the state budget has already been passed, and the bill is not necessary for any of that. The false emergency clause was put on to forestall a citizen referendum and to allow the state to rush into a contract before the people can vote on a better plan.

That plan is Initiative 1183. It would continue liquor as a moneymaker for the state while getting the state out of the business of selling it. It is backed by the Washington Restaurant Association, the Northwest Grocery Association and Costco, and is likely to be on the ballot in November.

The people of Washington deserve a choice on the question of who sells liquor here. Gregoire’s administration should postpone any final commitment under the new law until after the November election, to see how the people vote on Initiative 1183.”

Another highly anticipated decision was whether she would follow the precedent sent in 2009 when she vetoed a $29 million raid of the dedicated performance audit account. While saying she disagrees with what the Legislature did this year by re-directing performance audit funds, she was not able to veto this action without vetoing the activities funded.

Here is video of her explanation about the lack of veto on the performance audit fund raid:

By allowing the Legislature to win this game of chicken, creative lawmakers now have the road map to access the formerly dedicated performance audit funds. Rather than use a fund transfer that is easy for a Governor to veto (as occurred in 2009), it is likely future legislative raids will take the form of this year’s re-appropriation of the “dedicated” funds to other agencies.


[photo credit: flickr]

[Reprinted from the Washington Policy Center blog.]