State Sen. Michael Baumgartner has introduced a bill that borrows language from a recent state Supreme Court ruling to mock the justices he believes have overstepped their constitutional boundaries.
Senate Bill 6568 would order the court to increase the number of cases it considers annually by 50 percent by the 2017-2018 calendar and require the justices to “draw upon its purported budgetary expertise and provide a report by April 30, 2014, as to how it plans to fully implement this order and provide a timetable for funding its plan.”
In January, the justices said the state Legislature was not acting quickly enough to respond to a court order to increase education spending by the 2017-2018 school year. The court set an April 30 deadline for lawmakers to submit “a complete plan for fully implementing its program of basic education.”
“The need for immediate action could not be more apparent,” the court order said.
“The need for immediate action could not be more apparent,” Baumgartner’s bill says.
“We have no wish to be forced into entering specific funding directives to the state, or, as some state high courts have done, holding the legislature in contempt of court. But, it is incumbent upon the State to demonstrate, through immediate, concrete action, that it is making real and measurable progress, not simply promises,” the court order said.
“The legislature has no wish to be forced into issuing specific directives to the supreme court to decide specific cases in order to process them more speedily or to hold the supreme court members in contempt of the legislature. However, it is upon the supreme court to demonstrate through real and immediate action that it is making real and measurable progress, not simply promises,” Baumgartner’s bill says.
Baumgartner, R-Spokane, who is up for re-election this year, has made an issue out of challenging the Supreme Court this legislative session. He has tweeted a photo of a hammer and a bag of sand as a “proposed response” to the court and introduced a bill cutting the court from nine justices to seven.
“Pushing back against judicial overreach may be the most important theme of the session,” Baumgartner wrote in a text message.