"Original Acts," "Meager Offspring," and Titles in a Bill's Family Tree: A Legislative Drafter's Perspective on City of Fircrest v. Jensen
This Article takes a closer look at the "dark and bloody ground" of City of Fircrest v. Jenson from the perspective of a legislative drafter, and discusses several flaws in the Fircrest plurality's approach. First, by focusing on the title of an "original act," the plurality's resurrection of the St. Paul analysis (under which the title of an "act" may be used to determine whether a subsequent "amendatory act" complies with the subject-in-title requirement of Article II, section 19 of the state constitution) conflicts with legislative use and implementation of Article II, section 19. Second, Fircrest and St. Paul thwart the purposes of the subject-in-title rule by undercutting the constitutional requirement of a subject matter declaration. Third, to compound the plurality's error in resurrecting St. Paul, none of the court's opinions fully understood the evolution of the statutes before the court—a review of the statutes' legislative history demonstrates that the plurality relied on thetitle of an "original act" that was not, in fact, within the challenged act's direct legislative "ancestry,"thus revealing the futility of the "original act" analysis.
Kristen L. Fraser, "Original Acts," "Meager Offspring," and Titles in a Bill's Family Tree: A Legislative Drafter's Perspective on City of Fircrest v. Jensen, 31 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 35 (2007).