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January 29, 1970
Honorable W. A. Gissberg
State Senator, 39th District
Olympia, Washington 98501
Cite as: AGLO 1970 No. 14
This is written in response to your recent request for an opinion of this office on the following question:
"If Senate Bill 68 passes both Houses of the Legislature, will it be law at any time prior to 30 days after the election called for in Section 4 of the bill?"
We answer this question in the negative for the reasons set forth below.
Senate Bill 68 is entitled "AN ACT Relating to abortion." It contains three sections adding new provisions to chapter 249, Laws of 1909 and chapter 9.02 RCW ‑ relating to the crime of abortion. In addition, the bill contains a fourth section which reads as follows:
"This act shall be submitted to the people for their adoption and ratification, or rejection, at the general election to be held in this state on the Tuesday next succeeding the first Monday in November 1970, in accordance with the provisions of section 1, Article II of the Constitution of the state of Washington, as amended, and the laws adopted to facilitate the operation thereof."
Pursuant to this last-quoted section, Senate Bill 68, if passed by both Houses of the Legislature, will become a referendum bill within the purview of Amendment 7 to our state Constitution. As such, it will not be subject to the veto power of the governor under Article III, § 12 of the Constitution. See, State ex rel. Lofgren v. Kramer, 69 Wn.2d 219, 417 P.2d 837 (1966). Instead of being submitted to the governor for his approval or veto under Article III, § 12, the bill will go before the people for their approval or disapproval (in lieu of that of the governor) at the November 1970 general election ‑ as specifically provided in subsection (d) of Amendment 7.
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
Speaking, inter alia, of measures so referred, this subsection of Amendment 7 expressly delineates their effective dates as follows:
". . . Such measure[s] shall be in operation on and after the thirtieth day after the election at which . . . approved. . . ."
In the meantime ‑ i.e., between the time of passage by the House and Senate and the thirtieth day following approval by the voters, a referendum bill submitted to the people under Amendment 7 is totally inoperative and of no legal effect whatsoever. Accord, Wynand v. Dept. of Labor & Industries, 21 Wn.2d 805, 153 P.2d 302 (1944).
We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General