Politics Blog

Request for prayer at Whatcom charter review meetings withdrawn

It doesn’t look like the Whatcom County Charter Review Commission will debate whether to begin its meetings with a prayer.

That suggestion had been put forward by commissioner Cliff Langley. His request was included with the agenda and meeting announcement sent from the County Council’s office on Wednesday, March 4.

The agenda has since been changed to reflect Langley’s decision to withdraw that request.

Langley sent the following email to fellow commissioners at 11 a.m. today, Friday, March 6:

From: Cliff Langley [mailto:cliff.charterreview@gmail.com]

Sent: Friday, March 06, 2015 11:01 AM

To: Jill Nixon; Charter Review Commission

Subject: Withdrawing proposals

It has come to my attention that while opening a meeting in prayer is accepted and even encouraged by U.S. Supreme Court rulings it is considered to be an establishment of religion under the Washington State Constitution. I would therefore withdraw my request to have on the agenda that we open the Charter Review meetings with prayer.

At this time I would also withdraw my amendment to have unincorporated Whatcom County represented by the at large position.

Cliff Langley

The response from Jill Nixon, the commission’s administrator, is given after this paragraph. She could not fulfill Langley’s second request, to withdraw his motion to require the at-large County Council member to live in the unincorporated county, and be voted on only by unincorporated residents. That will be up to the commission at its next meeting, 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9, at the Garden Room of the Civic Center, 322 N. Commercial St., Bellingham.

From: Jill Nixon

To: Cliff Langley

Cc: Charter Review Commission

Date: March 6, 2015 at 11:27:20 AM PST

Subject: RE: Withdrawing proposals

Good morning Cliff,

According to my interpretation of Robert's Rules, you are able to withdraw your motion about opening a meeting with a prayer because it is not yet officially before the Commission (has not yet been stated by the Chair). I will publish an amended agenda noting that this item is withdrawn.

The proposed amendment has been accepted by and is now the property of the Commission. You may ask permission of the assembly to withdraw the motion. If there is no objection, the Chair will announce that the motion is withdrawn by general consent. If there is objection, another commissioner may move that the request be granted (no second is necessary), which can be approved by majority vote.


Administrative Clerk

Whatcom County Council Office

The Charter Review Commission meets once a decade to propose changes to the county charter — essentially the constitution for county government. It will continue to meet until July. Proposals that make it through the commission will appear on the November ballot for final approval by voters.