BI’s change-in-government bill flies through Senate

A bill aimed at allowing Bainbridge Island to hold a special election in May to change its form of government passed the state Senate today.

The bill now goes before Gov. Chris Gregoire for final approval.

“This was one of the fastest moving bills I have seen in ten years,” said Sen. Phil Rockefeller, a Bainbridge Democrat and the bill’s prime sponsor.

The bill had been granted emergency status last month, was quickly passed by the state House and spent just over a week in the Senate.

Current state law requires that change-in-government ballot measures go before voters in November during general elections. The bill would alter state law and allow votes during any month.

The bill was quickly ushered through the Legislature to approve it in time for a May 19 vote.

“I view this as a common-sense bill which addresses the unfortunate impacts of existing law,” Rockefeller said. (It) should help the situation in Bainbridge Island and other cities dealing with similar issues.”

About 1,000 island residents signed a petition last summer to allow a vote on changing the city’s mayor-led government to one headed by a manager hired by the City Council.

Petition supporters failed to make the deadline for the last general election. They hope to avoid the measure’s inclusion on November’s ballot because it would coincide with the mayoral election.

May 19 was chosen by petitioners and endorsed by the council as a more favorable date to vote.

Rep. Christine Rolfes, a Bainbridge Democrat and former Bainbridge councilwoman, proposed the bill and ushered it through the House last month.

One thought on “BI’s change-in-government bill flies through Senate

  1. Actually this is a brilliant case of certain people greasing the skids for this $80,000 special COBI election. Read Althea Paulson’s recent blog postings about the change in government initiative (scroll back a few days). A fellow there made the point that local power mongers like Andy Maron (former acting Mayor and local power broker) and Mr. Vogt flexed their muscles (sort of) to get this bill through.

    Meanwhile the taxpayers pick up the $80,000 bill because this elitists don’t believe COBI voters can handle more than one item on a ballot.

    Something smells very fishy about this. Oh, and then were is Christine Rolfes’ intercession on this matter. Oy vey. What a kettle of rotting fish.

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