An amendment to the Washington State constitution will be on the ballot this November to expand government powers in the case of catastrophic incidents. Voters will have the opportunity to either approve or reject the proposed amendment. The measure was passed because of concerns with the effects of a Cascadian Subduction Zone (CSZ) large earthquake and the ability of the government to legally respond. The text of the amendment is as follows, modifying Section 42, Article II (Underlined text is added in the amendment. Strikethrough text is deleted.):
The legislature, in order to insure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from a catastrophic incident or enemy attack, shall have the power and the duty, immediately upon and after adoption of this amendment, to enact legislation providing for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents and legal successors of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices; the legislature shall likewise enact such other measures as may be necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations during such emergencies. Legislation enacted under the powers conferred by this amendment shall in all respects conform to the remainder of the Constitution: Provided, That if, in the judgment of the legislature at the time of ((
disaster)) the emergency, conformance to the provisions of the Constitution would be impracticable or would admit of undue delay, such legislation may depart during the period of emergency caused by a catastrophic incident or enemy attack only, from the following sections of the Constitution:
- -Article 14, Sections 1 and 2, Seat of Government;
- -Article 2, Sections 8, 15 (Amendments 13 and 32), and 22, Membership, Quorum of Legislature and Passage of Bills;
- -Article 3, Section 10 (Amendment 6), Succession to Governorship: Provided, That the legislature shall not depart from Section 10, Article III, as amended by Amendment 6, of the state Constitution relating to the Governor’s office so long as any successor therein named is available and capable of assuming the powers and duties of such office as therein prescribed;
- -Article 3, Section 13, Vacancies in State Offices;
- -Article 11, Section 6, Vacancies in County Offices;
- -Article 11, Section 2, Seat of County Government;
- -Article 3, Section 24, State Records.
Update 11/5/2019: The amendment passed.