On the Importance of Leaving the Constitution Alone and Rejecting the Common Use of Legislation to Amend the Constitution.
Call and email your legislator, and call the legislative hotline 800 562 6000 and tell them you oppose HJR 4205
There are many bad bills this session, but HJR 4205 is potentially the most damaging to our life, liberty, and property!
There is an accelerated and disturbing trend in Olympia in that those who wish to bend the will of the states citizens to their own will are abusing the legislative process to insert what should be purely legislative into the state constitution. This is a mistake and has proven to lead to undeniable harm to the constitution which was created to be a bulwark for individual liberties and not a permanent Wishlist of the controlling class. Always, but especially in these circumstances where access to the capitol and our legislators is sharply limited, legislation that proposes changes to the state constitution should be done deliberatively and with full transparency and debate with the citizens of the state. In our present circumstances the legislature would be wise to avoid or limit themselves entirely to the creation of proposals that would alter the state constitution. This kind of legislation to change the constitution must go to a vote of the people but will always undermine the basic protections of some of the people.
The most recent attempted assault upon the constitution via the abusive method of legislating through the constitution is HJR 4205 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2021-22/Pdf/Bills/House%20Joint%20Resolutions/4205.pdf?q=20210216092217 Entitled “Adding a new section to the Washington state Constitution regarding the conservation and protection of the state's natural resources.” This is the ultimate control over every facet of life and those resources that sustain life. While the constitution was created to protect and defend each individual’s inherent natural rights and individual liberties, inserting legislation into the constitution such as this bill does would create a new classification of liberties giving individual rights to all based or ranked on the notion of equity.
See here the definition of equitable: Definition of equitable
1: having or exhibiting equity: dealing fairly and equally with all concerned
2: existing or valid in equity as distinguished from law
If this law were to be placed into the constitution, just as with any definition, someone who wields the power, or delegates that power to any governmental subordinate will decide what is fair and equal, and what is valid in equity. This is anti-thesis of the constitution and the protection of individual rights.
In the text of the HJR 4205, it is admitted all the state government, not just the governor, will have the charge of serving as trustee of the state’s resources “The state, including each branch, agency, and political subdivision, shall serve as trustee of the natural resources of the state, among them its waters, air, flora, fauna, climate, and public lands.” What is the legal definition of the phrase “serve as trustee”?
This bill would allow government to decide the uses and regulation of resources according to not equality, but equity, creating a clamoring of those who claim to represent special interest groups that feel the need for special treatment outside of the protections they enjoy via the constitution while upsetting other constitutional mandates such as resources used to fund schooling, the division of salmon and marine life resources between the citizens of Washington and the Tribes of Washington, and established regulation and due process that should be afforded in the use and enjoyment of private property with vague and nonspecific goals that can and will lead to arbitrary takings that ignore such basic concepts as nexus and proportionality in land and resource use decision making.
Quite clearly more thought and consideration should have been given this proposed bill, and flawed as it is, it should at best have been written as legislation and not as a proposed constitutional amendment. A better reverence of the constitution as well as what is concise and appropriate legislation would have served the sponsor of this proposed bill well.
If we wish to revisit the kinds of damage changes to the constitution can rain upon the citizens of Washington, we only need look at the changes made to our constitution in 2019 with SJR 8200 which made changes in the constitution to Section 42 GOVERNMENTAL CONTINUITY DURING EMERGENCY PERIODS. And read the difference in the constitution created by legislation http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/8200.PL.pdf?q=20210216100350 to send to a vote of the people a very key difference, changing the reason for total rule over the populace from “enemy attack” to “a catastrophic incident or enemy attack,”
The seemingly benign change voted on by a majority of voters wishing to be cared for in any catastrophe resulted in the classification of COVID-19 as a catastrophic emergency which to date has not ended and has caused told and untold harm to the people and their individual rights to life, liberty and property.
Take heed, seemingly simple changes to the constitution can have devastating results depending upon who wields the power of the office and how that person determines to use and interpret his powers of authority. The system of governance through the constitution and the legislature was designed to create in the constitution a lasting document to guide legislation, not as an ever-changing document to create lasting legislation.