Article III, Washington State Constitution

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Amendments
Article III of the Washington State Constitution is labeled The Executive. It has 25 sections which define the duties, rights and prerogatives of the office of the Governor of Washington, and other statewide constitutional officers. Article III has been amended three times since the current State of Washington Constitution was adopted in 1889:

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Executive Department. The executive department shall consist of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and a commissioner of public lands, who shall be severally chosen by the qualified electors of the state at the same time and place of voting as for the members of the legislature.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Governor, Term of Office. The supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor, who shall hold his office for a term of four years, and until his successor is elected and qualified.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Other Executive Officers, Terms of Office.

The lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and commissioner of public lands, shall hold their offices for four years respectively, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Returns of Elections, Canvass, Etc. The returns of every election for the officers named in the first section of this article shall be sealed up and transmitted to the seat of government by the returning officers, directed to the secretary of state, who shall deliver the same to the speaker of the house of representatives at the first meeting of the house thereafter, who shall open, publish and declare the result thereof in the presence of a majority of the members of both houses. The person having the highest number of votes shall be declared duly elected, and a certificate thereof shall be given to such person, signed by the presiding officers of both houses; but if any two or more shall be highest and equal in votes for the same office, one of them shall be chosen by the joint vote of both houses. Contested elections for such officers shall be decided by the legislature in such manner as shall be determined by law. The terms of all officers named in section one of this article shall commence on the second Monday in January after their election until otherwise provided by law.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

General Duties of Governor. The governor may require information in writing from the officers of the state upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and shall see that the laws are faithfully executed.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Messages. He shall communicate at every session by message to the legislature the condition of the affairs of the state, and recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient for their action.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Extra Legislative Sessions. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the legislature by proclamation, in which shall be stated the purposes for which the legislature is convened.

Extraordinary sessions to reconsider vetoes: Art. 3 Section 12.


Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Commander-In-Chief. He shall be commander-in-chief of the military in the state except when they shall be called into the service of the United States.

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Pardoning Power. The pardoning power shall be vested in the governor under such regulations and restrictions as may be prescribed by law.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Vacancy In Office of Governor. In case of the removal, resignation, death or disability of the governor, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor; and in case of a vacancy in both the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, the duties of the governor shall devolve upon the secretary of state. In addition to the line of succession to the office and duties of governor as hereinabove indicated, if the necessity shall arise, in order to fill the vacancy in the office of governor, the following state officers shall succeed to the duties of governor and in the order named, viz.: Treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction and commissioner of public lands. In case of the death, disability, failure or refusal of the person regularly elected to the office of governor to qualify at the time provided by law, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the person regularly elected to and qualified for the office of lieutenant governor, who shall act as governor until the disability be removed, or a governor be elected; and in case of the death, disability, failure or refusal of both the governor and the lieutenant governor elect to qualify, the duties of the governor shall devolve upon the secretary of state; and in addition to the line of succession to the office and duties of governor as hereinabove indicated, if there shall be the failure or refusal of any officer named above to qualify, and if the necessity shall arise by reason thereof, then in that event in order to fill the vacancy in the office of governor, the following state officers shall succeed to the duties of governor in the order named, viz: Treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction and commissioner of public lands. Any person succeeding to the office of governor as in this section provided, shall perform the duties of such office only until the disability be removed, or a governor be elected and qualified; and if a vacancy occur more than thirty days before the next general election occurring within two years after the commencement of the term, a person shall be elected at such election to fill the office of governor for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Amendments

Governmental continuity during emergency periods: Art. 2 Section 42.

Original text

Original text - Art. 3 Section 10

VACANCY IN - In case of the removal, resignation, death, or disability of the governor, the duties of the office shall devolve upon the lieutenant governor, and in case of a vacancy in both the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, the duties of governor shall devolve upon the secretary of state, who shall act as governor until the disability be removed or a governor elected.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Remission of Fines and Forfeitures. The governor shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, and shall report to the legislature at its next meeting each case of reprieve, commutation or pardon granted, and the reasons for granting the same, and also the names of all persons in whose favor remission of fines and forfeitures shall have been made, and the several amounts remitted and the reasons for the remission.

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Veto Powers. Every act which shall have passed the legislature shall be, before it becomes a law, presented to the governor. If he approves, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, which house shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present shall agree to pass the bill it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, it shall become a law; but in all such cases the vote of both houses shall be determined by the yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered upon the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall be presented to him, it shall become a law without his signature, unless the general adjournment shall prevent its return, in which case it shall become a law unless the governor, within twenty days next after the adjournment, Sundays excepted, shall file such bill with his objections thereto, in the office of secretary of state, who shall lay the same before the legislature at its next session in like manner as if it had been returned by the governor: Provided, That within forty-five days next after the adjournment, Sundays excepted, the legislature may, upon petition by a two-thirds majority or more of the membership of each house, reconvene in extraordinary session, not to exceed five days duration, solely to reconsider any bills vetoed. If any bill presented to the governor contain several sections or appropriation items, he may object to one or more sections or appropriation items while approving other portions of the bill: Provided, That he may not object to less than an entire section, except that if the section contain one or more appropriation items he may object to any such appropriation item or items. In case of objection he shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a statement of the section or sections, appropriation item or items to which he objects and the reasons therefore; and the section or sections, appropriation item or items so objected to shall not take effect unless passed over the governor's objection, as hereinbefore provided. The provisions of Article II, section 12 insofar as they are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

Amendments

Veto power withheld from initiated and referred measures: Art. 2 Section 1.

Original text

Original text - Art. 3 Section 12

VETO POWER - Every act which shall have passed the legislature shall be, before it becomes a law, presented to the governor. If he approves, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have originated, which house shall enter the objections at large upon the journal and proceed to reconsider. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the members present shall agree to pass the bill it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, it shall become a law; but in all cases the vote of both houses shall be determined by the yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered upon the journal of each house respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within five days, Sundays excepted, after it shall be presented to him, it shall become a law without his signature, unless the general adjournment shall prevent its return, in which case it shall become a law unless the governor, within ten days next after the adjournment, Sundays excepted, shall file such bill with his objections thereto, in the office of secretary of state, who shall lay the same before the legislature at its next session in like manner as if it had been returned by the governor. If any bill presented to the governor contain several sections or items, he may object to one or more sections or items while approving other portions of the bill. In such case he shall append to the bill, at the time of signing it, a statement of the section, or sections; item or items to which he objects and the reasons therefore, and the section or sections, item or items so objected to, shall not take effect unless passed over the governor's objection, as hereinbefore provided.

Veto power does not extend to initiated or referred measures: Art. 2 Section 1(d).

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Vacancy in Appointive Office. When, during a recess of the legislature, a vacancy shall happen in any office, the appointment to which is vested in the legislature, or when at any time a vacancy shall have occurred in any other state office, for the filling of which vacancy no provision is made elsewhere in this Constitution, the governor shall fill such vacancy by appointment, which shall expire when a successor shall have been elected and qualified.

Appointment of governing boards of educational, reformatory and penal institutions: Art. 13 Section 1.

Governmental continuity during emergency periods: Art. 2 Section 42.


Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Salary. The governor shall receive an annual salary of four thousand dollars, which may be increased by law, but shall never exceed six thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.


Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Commissions, How Issued. All commissions shall issue in the name of the state, shall be signed by the governor, sealed with the seal of the state, and attested by the secretary of state.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Lieutenant Governor, Duties and Salary. The lieutenant governor shall be presiding officer of the state senate, and shall discharge such other duties as may be prescribed by law. He shall receive an annual salary of one thousand dollars, which may be increased by the legislature, but shall never exceed three thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Secretary of State, Duties and Salary. The secretary of state shall keep a record of the official acts of the legislature, and executive department of the state, and shall, when required, lay the same, and all matters relative thereto, before either branch of the legislature, and shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned him by law. He shall receive an annual salary of twenty-five hundred dollars, which may be increased by the legislature, but shall never exceed three thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Seal. There shall be a seal of the state kept by the secretary of state for official purposes, which shall be called, "The Seal of the State of Washington."

Design of the Seal: Art. 18 Section 1.

State seal: RCW 1.20.080.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

State Treasurer, Duties and Salary. The treasurer shall perform such duties as shall be prescribed by law. He shall receive an annual salary of two thousand dollars, which may be increased by the legislature, but shall never exceed four thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

State Auditor, Duties and Salary. The auditor shall be auditor of public accounts, and shall have such powers and perform such duties in connection therewith as may be prescribed by law. He shall receive an annual salary of two thousand dollars, which may be increased by the legislature, but shall never exceed three thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.


Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Attorney General, Duties and Salary. The attorney general shall be the legal adviser of the state officers, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law. He shall receive an annual salary of two thousand dollars, which may be increased by the legislature, but shall never exceed thirty-five hundred dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.


Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Duties and Salary. The superintendent of public instruction shall have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools, and shall perform such specific duties as may be prescribed by law. He shall receive an annual salary of twenty-five hundred dollars, which may be increased by law, but shall never exceed four thousand dollars per annum.

Compensation of legislators, elected state officials, and judges: Art. 28 Section 1, Art. 30.


Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Commissioner of Public Lands - Compensation. The commissioner of public lands shall perform such duties and receive such compensation as the legislature may direct.

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Records, Where Kept, Etc. The governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, commissioner of public lands and attorney general shall severally keep the public records, books and papers relating to their respective offices, at the seat of government, at which place also the governor, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor shall reside.

Governmental continuity during emergency periods: Art. 2 Section 42.


Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Qualifications, Compensation, Offices Which May Be Abolished. No person, except a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of this state, shall be eligible to hold any state office. The compensation for state officers shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which they shall have been elected. The legislature may in its discretion abolish the offices of the lieutenant governor, auditor and commissioner of public lands.

Amendments

Authorizing compensation increase during term: Art. 30 Section 1.

Increase or diminution of compensation during term of office prohibited.

county, city, town or municipal officers: Art. 11 Section 8.

judicial officers: Art. 4 Section 13.

public officers: Art. 2 Section 25.

Original text

Original text - Art. 3 Section 25

QUALIFICATIONS - No person, except a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of this state, shall be eligible to hold any state office, and the state treasurer shall be ineligible for the term succeeding that for which he was elected. The compensation for state officers shall not be increased or diminished during the term for which they shall have been elected. The legislature may in its discretion abolish the offices of the lieutenant governor, auditor and commissioner of public lands.

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