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Commissioners Vote to Join Suit Opposing Commission Expansion

Spokane County

Spokane County commissioners are filing a suit challenging a state law that directs the county to expand the county commission.

Tuesday, commissioners voted unanimously to join a lawsuit that challenges a state law that says Spokane County will need to expand its current commission from three to five members in 2022.

The Washington State Association of Counties also voted unanimously last week to file a lawsuit to block the five-commissioner law; now the county will join in that suit.

Commissioner Al French noted that county voters in 2015 rejected just such a proposal.

“Our taxpayers had an option to go to five commissioners, and they said overwhelmingly, no. We are happy with three, thank you very much. So we have made our voice known. Now we want the legislature to respect it,” French said.

He said if the legislature can target one county for such a law, in this case Spokane County, it can target other counties with specific laws, which he feels would violate the state constitution.

Commissioner Josh Kerns said he felt the law should face a court challenge before the county would have to institute the law in 2022, and then find out it would not pass a court challenge.

French says, by joining the Association of Counties suit, Spokane County will save money, because that organization will pay any legal fees in a court challenge.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.