Constitutional amendment on emergency powers takes lead

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington voters were supporting an update to a constitutional amendment on emergency government powers in early returns.

Resolution 8200 was passing with more than 65 percent of the vote initial returns Tuesday night. The measure asked voters to broaden the section on "continuity of governmental operations in periods of emergency" so that continuity is ensured not only in case of attack but also in case of "catastrophic incidents" like a massive earthquake.

Under current law, approved by voters in 1962, the Legislature would have the power to move the state capital or a county seat, make changes to the requirements to elect or appoint legislators in the aftermath of an attack. It would also be able to pass bills and fill vacancies in state or county offices, and could fill an open governor's seat if all people in the line of succession set out in the state constitution are unavailable.