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October 23, 2012


Allen Hayward

I question the answer given for question

At least in Washington State if a member-elect is seated on opening day as a member,then the question of proper election cannot be raised later.

While a majority vote could have stopped the seating, once seated as member they can only be removed from office by a 2/3 vote.

A vote to expel is not a vote on the member being properly seated in the first instance.

Allen Hayward
WA State House of Representaive
Senior Legal Counsel

Alfred Speer

I think I should respond to Mr. Hayward to make a couple of points of clarity.
First: Mason's Manual section 4, para. 2 places all parliamentary manuals 5th in order of precedence in assisting presiding officers' rulings. The Manual can never dictate a parliamentary ruling to a legislative body nor can it be properly cited to over rule the precedents of a legislative body.
Second: the question posed and its appended answer was not one directed at seating of members but directed toward their qualifications. Qualifications to hold office are normally established in each of our constitutions. These qualifications are not life investitures but are subject to change; citizenship, residence or domicile, being an elector. If a sitting member were to lose their qualification, their body maintains the right and power to judge the seated member's continuing status as being constitutionally qualified. The power to judge is not equivalent to expulsion. The power to continually judge members' qualifications is to insure the elected representatives of the citizens meet the constitutional qualifications set as a threshold for holding office.
The power to judge elections granted to legislative bodies is actually a jurisdictional assignment, removing that power from the judicial branch.
Alfred Speer, Clerk
LA House of Representatives

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