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Posted on: May 30, 2013

Advisory: Process for filling vacant Senate seat

The process for appointing someone to the vacant 28th District Senate seat is governed by Article II, Section 15 of the Washington State Constitution.

· Since Sen. Mike Carrell was a Republican, the County Central Committee of the Republican Party shall submit a list of three names to the Pierce County Council.

· The Council has 60 days from the date the vacancy occurred (in this case, May 29) to appoint someone from that list, by a majority vote. If the Council cannot agree on a selection within 60 days, the selection goes to the Governor, who then has 30 days to make the appointment.

· Under the County Council’s rules of procedure, a resolution will be introduced on a consent agenda and can be heard on any date at least one week later. Here’s the fastest scenario in this case: If the county Republicans submit names within the next few days, the Council could introduce a resolution on the June 4 consent agenda and hold the hearing on June 11 (or anytime thereafter). Again, that’s just a scenario. It's up to county Republicans to submit a list, and then it's subject to the will of the County Council as to when it takes up the matter.

· Sen. Carrell’s term runs from 2012 to 2016. Because the vacancy occurred after this year’s filing period (RCW 29A.24.171), the Senate position will be on the ballot in 2014 as a two-year unexpired term. The special filing period that was just announced for unfilled seats doesn’t count.

· Candidates will file during the normal filing period for other offices in 2014.


Washington State Constitution
ARTICLE II
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 15 VACANCIES IN LEGISLATURE AND IN PARTISAN COUNTY ELECTIVE OFFICE. Such vacancies as may occur in either house of the legislature or in any partisan county elective office shall be filled by appointment by the county legislative authority of the county in which the vacancy occurs: Provided, That the person appointed to fill the vacancy must be from the same legislative district, county, or county commissioner or council district and the same political party as the legislator or partisan county elective officer whose office has been vacated, and shall be one of three persons who shall be nominated by the county central committee of that party, and in case a majority of the members of the county legislative authority do not agree upon the appointment within sixty days after the vacancy occurs, the governor shall within thirty days thereafter, and from the list of nominees provided for herein, appoint a person who shall be from the same legislative district, county, or county commissioner or council district and of the same political party as the legislator or partisan county elective officer whose office has been vacated, and the person so appointed shall hold office until his or her successor is elected at the next general election, and has qualified: Provided, That in case of a vacancy occurring after the general election in a year that the office appears on the ballot and before the start of the next term, the term of the successor who is of the same party as the incumbent may commence once he or she has qualified and shall continue through the term for which he or she was elected: Provided, That in case of a vacancy occurring in the office of joint senator, or joint representative, the vacancy shall be filled from a list of three nominees selected by the state central committee, by appointment by the joint action of the boards of county legislative authorities of the counties composing the joint senatorial or joint representative district, the person appointed to fill the vacancy must be from the same legislative district and of the same political party as the legislator whose office has been vacated, and in case a majority of the members of the county legislative authority do not agree upon the appointment within sixty days after the vacancy occurs, the governor shall within thirty days thereafter, and from the list of nominees provided for herein, appoint a person who shall be from the same legislative district and of the same political party as the legislator whose office has been vacated. [AMENDMENT 96, 2003 House Joint Resolution No. 4206, p 2819. Approved November 4, 2003.]

MEDIA CONTACT:
Hunter George, Pierce County Communications Director
Office: (253) 798-6606
Cell: (253) 961-8422

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