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AGLO 1971 No. 120 - October 13, 1971
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington
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                                                                October 13, 1971
 
 
 
Honorable Thomas A. Swayze, Jr.
Chairman, Legislative Council
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington 98504
                                                                                          Cite as:  AGLO 1971 No. 120 (not official)
 
 
Dear Sir:
 
            You have requested our opinion regarding the constitutionality of a certain proposed rule currently being considered by the legislative council which would allow the joint sponsorship of bills.  The purpose of this rule, as set forth in the test thereof, is as follows:
 
            "Purpose:  Proposed rule which would authorize the senate to introduce bills jointly with members of the house, or members of the house to introduce bills jointly with the senate."
 
            The rule itself would read as follows:
 
            "Members of the senate and the house of representatives may jointly introduce bills, resolutions and memorials in either house.  Bills, resolutions and memorials introduced in the senate shall first name the prime sponsor in the senate, and name the prime sponsor in the house of representatives and all other sponsors shall be listed alphabetically.  Bills, resolutions and memorials introduced in the house of representatives shall first name the prime sponsor in the house of representatives and name the prime sponsor in the senate and all other sponsors shall be listed alphabetically."
 
            Your question is whether this rule would violate Article II, § 20 of our state constitution, which reads as follows:
 
            "Any bill may originate in either house of the legislature, and a bill passed by one house may be amended in the other."
 
             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
                                                                     ANALYSIS
 
            We do not believe that the above quoted proposed rule would violate this constitutional provision.  Under the rule, each bill would still be introduced in a single house, and would be subject to amendment in the other house as required by the constitution.  Only if the rule should have the effect of precluding the second house from amending a bill passed by the first house would the rule be unconstitutional ‑ and clearly, that would not be the effect of the rule which the legislative council is currently considering.
 
            Moreover, it is significant to note that the matter of sponsorship of bills is not mentioned in the constitution at all; i.e., there is no constitutional requirement that any bill have a sponsor or sponsors.  Instead, this requirement is solely a product of the rules of the respective houses, adopted pursuant to Article II, § 9 of the constitution which states that:
 
            "Each house may determine the rules of its own proceedings, punish for contempt and disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected, expel a member, but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same offense."
 
            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
 
Very truly yours,
 
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
 
 
Philip H. Austin
Deputy Attorney General
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