What does the legislature have to do to raise a tax or fee?

Over the years, in several ballot measures, state voters have repeatedly approved the idea that it should be more difficult to raise taxes and that it should take a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

Opponents have challenged the so-called two-thirds rule in court many times, saying a majority vote is all that's needed.

So far, the State Supreme Court has been reluctant to overturn the will of the voters but opponents are back.

In the latest case brought by some lawmakers and education groups, a lower court judge ruled that the only way to change how bills are passed is to amend the state constitution not to pass an initiative.

Opponents say the two-thirds rule has tied the legislature's hands during a severe downturn.

The job of defending the initiative falls on the attorney general's office, which argued tuesday that it's not timely, or appropriate for justices to intervene.

Meanwhile, Tim Eyman is asking voters again this November to renew the two-thirds initiative.

It s not clear if the court will rule before the election, but a ruling is expected before the legislature comes back in January.

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