The Washington State Senate in Olympia sent the D.C. Voting Rights Constitutional Amendment back to its Rules Committee Friday night, where it will remain for at least another year.
The constitutional amendment that would grant D.C. residents the right to elect two senators and two representatives will die if it is not ratified by 38 states by 1985. Since 1978, when introduction of the bill was approved by Congress, 12 states have voted to ratify the amendment.
Less than a month ago, the Washington State House of Representatives passed the measure, 62-35. The bill came up before the Senate two weeks ago.
On Friday, an evening-long session of parliamentary maneuvers ended when the measure was sent back to the committee on a 26-23 vote.
Twenty-three Republican senators were joined by three Democrats in voting to return the bill to committee.
Senate Majority Leader Ted Bottiger (D-Tacoma) said the measure would remain dead unless he can find a Republican vote for it.
The measure initially drew Republican protest Friday night because Lt. Gov. John Cherberg, presiding officer of the Senate, had cast the deciding vote to move the measure out of the Rules Committee. Republicans said the action was unconstitutional because only senators can vote on bills except in the event of a tie, and no tie vote had been cast.
Sen. George Fleming (D-Seattle), who described himself as "a prime sponsor of the voting rights bill," said there is a slim possibility of rescuing the amendment this year.