01/27/2019: "Questions Remain On Replacing Ranker"
Last week the Washington State Party Parliamentarian for the Democratic Party ruled that any sitting member of a county commission or council would have to resign to be nominated to fill Kevin Ranker’s vacated seat; and that includes Lopez Council member Jamie Stephens.
Now the WSAC (Washington State Association of Counties), a non-profit association formed in 1906 to provide services to the 39 counties of Washington, decided to take a look at the question (pdf 94\k file) of who could be nominated to be the new state senator, and hired the Pacifica Law Group to review the law.
According to the attorneys the Parliamentarian had based the decision on opinions of a State Attorney General that were published in 1985 & 1987, but the law firm stated the Parliamentarian is incorrect( pdf (161\k file), because the “[parliamentarian’s] conclusion predated Supreme Court decisions confirming that the constitutional eligibility requirements are exclusive.” And “The Constitution enumerates the exclusive eligibility requirements and process for filling a legislative vacancy and does not preclude the appointment” of a sitting commissioner or council member, and “no statutory provisions prohibit such conduct.”
The matter may yet result in the current State Attorney General addressing the controversy, or perhaps the Democratic Party will decide WSAC is correct, and allow sitting council & commission members to be nominated without first having to resign; however they would be required to recluse themselves from being a part of the selection process.