Call it the Cheryl Pflug bill.
Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, has introduced legislation that would bar governors from appointing lawmakers to salaried board positions during the candidate filing period.
The move comes after a controversial appointment last year by former Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. The governor appointed Pflug, then a Republican senator from Maple Valley, to the Washington Growth Management Hearings Board – a job that pays $92,500 a year.
Pflug was one of four Republicans who crossed party lines to support landmark legislation legalizing gay marriage last year, although both Pflug and the governor’s office said that had nothing to do with her getting the job.
The appointment came after the filing deadline for candidates had passed. That left the GOP with a candidate Pflug refused to endorse and instead accused of “egregious and disreputable behavior.”
Pflug threw her support behind Democrat Mark Mullet, who won the election and helped give Democrats theoretical control of the state Senate. Republicans later turned the tables and took control with the help of Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon.
GOP control in the Senate gives Ericksen’s bill a decent chance in that chamber. He expects the measure to make it out of committee, at least. The measure came up for a hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The bill would create a freeze period that prevents governors from appointing lawmakers in the final year of their term to boards that pay a salary. The freeze would start 30 days before the candidate filing period begins, and last until the deadline for withdrawing a name from the ballot passed.
Ericksen said the bill is aimed at the executive branch, not legislators. Pflug “was offered an opportunity and she took advantage of it. I don’t think it was an action taken by Cheryl Pflug,” he said, “it was an action taken by the governor to influence a local election.”