Local Representative Jim Walsh says that he has already prepared a measure for the next legislative session to halt “ghost bills”.
In a release, the 19th District Representative states that he wants to end the practice of introducing title-only bills and will be introducing legislation that would close a constitutional loophole that allows legislators to introduce bills that contain a title, but no content.
According to the release, without a two-thirds vote to do so, the Washington State Constitution prohibits the Legislature from introducing a bill with fewer than 10 days before the end of session. Walsh says that legislators circumvent this requirement by introducing bills with a title or intent statement—but no content—before the 10-day deadline. These “ghost” bills are later amended to include the text of the legislation.
Walsh says that during the 2019 session, 26 title-only bills were introduced, with four passing. He tells KXRO that two were for “sizable tax increases affecting out-of-state banks and travel agents”.
Walsh’s bill draft is said to include proposed time requirements for public review of legislation:
The 2020 session begins January 13 and is scheduled to run 60 days.