The Legislature Responds
Through Initiative 199, the League of Women Voters and its supporters
attempted to force redistricting and remedy the growing urban/rural imbalance
in representation throughout Washington.
Their actions also had the effect of threatening many incumbent legislators.
The Legislature could amend an initiative by a two-thirds vote of both houses,
and in 1957 Senate Majority Leader Bob Greive set out to do just that. Despite
the tremendous odds against pulling together such a large majority, Greive succeeded
in passing an amendment to Initiative 199 that redrew a large percentage of the
district boundaries established by the measure.
Some of the initiative's backers construed the action as an example of
underhanded political dealings, but many in the Legislature truly thought that
their redistricting plan was better than the League's. "We accounted for
everybody...we listened to the incumbents," said Senator Greive, who also
noted that the legislators had access to more information, including first-hand
knowledge of the peculiarities of different districts.
Despite these claims, Governor Albert Rosellini was
skeptical and allowed the measure to become law without his signature.
Opponents again tried to settle the issue in the courts, arguing that the legislative
amendment actually repealed the initiative. The Washington State Supreme Court
disagreed and in a December 1957 ruling allowed the Legislature's action to