Simple Majority for School Bonds Proposed

World War II ended better than seven decades ago, but education advocates and lawmakers say a law from that era is unfairly punishing 21st-century Washington students. Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has more.

In a normal election, a candidate who pulls 59 percent of the votes would coast into office on a landslide. But if the election involves a school-bond issue, that same 59 percent would constitute a loss. It’s a system that routinely crushes the hopes of teachers, parents, and school districts, because bonds are how districts pay for new school construction and improvements to existing buildings. Lawmakers in Olympia think the time may be right for letting bonds pass with a simple majority. Representative Monica Stonier, a Vancouver Democrat and a career educator herself, is spearheading that effort.

STONIER: “For me to become a legislator was 50 percent of the votes plus one. I think kids should get to have a new school by the same voting margin that I get to win an election.”

Doing away with the super majority rule requires a constitutional amendment, and Stonier, along with a long list of cosponsors, has introduced a resolution that would let the public approve or reject such an amendment next fall . . . with the results resting on which alternative gets a simple majority of 50 percent . . . plus one. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.