Deadline to sign ‘Citizen Initiatives’ is Dec. 14

Lisa Tyson


At times, citizens may feel like they don’t have a say in the laws and processes that govern their communities. Have you ever wondered how you can make your voice heard on Capitol Hill?


Today 11 initiatives are being proposed regarding Public Safety, Cost of Living, and Good Governance. Most people want to see these popular initiatives implemented in Olympia. The goal is to collect 400,000 signatures by Dec. 14, which will be submitted to the Secretary of State’s office by Dec. 30, 2022. Anyone who is a registered voter in Washington State is eligible and legal to sign these initiatives and volunteers are needed to collect them.


Citizen initiatives and popular referenda are two forms of direct democracy.


The citizen initiative process enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed statutes and, in some states, constitutional amendments on the ballot. Twenty-four states have citizen initiative processes, including Washington.


The popular referendum process allows voters to approve or repeal an act of the legislature. Twenty-three states have popular referendum processes, including Washington.


Over the past months, collecting roughly 400,000 signatures per initiative is and has been a real grassroots effort involving thousands of volunteers all over the state. There are only a few weeks left, and the goal is definitely achievable through utilizing volunteers to collect signatures in their counties and has been done successfully in the past with initiatives like I-912 (Repeal Gas Tax – 2005), and I-695 ($30 Car Tabs – the first one in 1999).


Two Locations Accepting Signatures


Currently, there are two locations in Stevens County and six locations in Spokane County where initiatives can be signed or dropped off.


Automotive Tire Pros across from the carwash in Colville is accepting signatures at 361 West 5th Ave Mon-Fri 7:45 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Tri-County Christian Center located at 320 East H Street, Deer Park is accepting signatures during 10:30 a.m. services on Sunday mornings.


Signatures will be accepted until Dec. 14. Note: Signers are not obligated to sign all 11 initiatives.


INITIATIVES


PUBLIC SAFETY


RESTORE POLICE PURSUIT
Ballot Measure Summary: Don’t Let the Bad Guys Get Away – This measure would reduce certain restrictions on when peace officers may conduct vehicular pursuits. Such pursuits would be allowed when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated certain laws, pursuit is necessary to identify or apprehend the person, the person poses a public safety risk, the safety risks of failing to apprehend or identify the person are greater than those of the pursuit, and pursuit is authorized by or reported to a supervisor.


MAKE HARD DRUGS ILLEGAL
Ballot Measure Summary: There Is Nothing Compassionate About Overdose Deaths – This measure would change the classification of the crime of possession of a controlled substance from a misdemeanor to a class C felony, punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW by up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. It would also remove the legislative encouragement for prosecutors to divert such cases for assessment, treatment, or other services.


KEEP GUNS FROM CRIMINALS
Ballot Measure Summary: Prosecute Criminals Not Law-Abiding Citizens – This measure would make certain existing state restrictions on possession, use, manufacture, distribution, sale, or purchase of firearms apply only to “felony firearm offenders” and those convicted of a “serious offense,” as defined in RCW 9.41.010. The affected restrictions or prohibitions are related to carrying a concealed pistol without a license, underage possession of pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles, other dangerous weapons such as certain knives, unsafe firearms storage, firearm security, and large-capacity magazines.


COST OF LIVING


TRIM THE SALES TAX BY 1%
Ballot Measure Summary: Keep More of Your Own Money – This measure would reduce the state retail sales and use tax rates from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. It would state that the 10-year expiration and performance statement requirements for new tax preferences do not apply to this rate reduction.


CUT STATE GAS TAX BY 24.7 CENTS
Ballot Measure Summary: Save Money When You Fill Up – This measure would reduce the fuel licensee tax rate by 24.7 cents per gallon. State law imposes the fuel licensee tax in circumstances including when, under certain conditions, fuel enters the state or is removed from in-state terminals and refineries. The measure also directs the Department of Revenue to consult with the State Treasurer and Office of Financial Management and provide draft legislation to address any unintended consequences from the measure by October 15, 2023.


PROPERTY TAX $250K EXEMPTION
Ballot Measure Summary: Make Home Ownership More Affordable for Everyone – This measure would exempt $250,000 of valuation for each real property parcel from state property taxes levied for the support of common schools in 2024. Beginning in 2025, the exemption would increase by the percentage growth in the prior year’s state tax levy. The exemption could not result in a tax reduction exceeding the tax otherwise levied. The levy would be reduced as necessary to prevent a state tax rate from exceeding the rate without the exemption.


REPEAL THE CAPITAL GAINS TAX
Ballot Measure Summary: There Is No Greed Worse Than Government Greed – This measure would prohibit the state, counties, cities, and port districts from imposing or collecting taxes it describes as “based on an individual’s personal income,” construed broadly. The prohibition applies to taxes imposed on taxpayers or taxpayers’ employers and whether called income, payroll, or excise taxes. It would repeal a tax imposed on the sale or exchange of certain long-term capital assets by individuals who have annual capital gains of over $250,000, with exemptions.


GOOD GOVERNANCE


EMERGENCY POWERS REVIEW
Ballot Measure Summary: Emergency Powers Shouldn’t Last Forever – This measure would modify limitations on governor emergency proclamations, allowing them to cover only one county and only facts/circumstances not in existing law; limit such proclamations, related orders, and agency emergency rules to 30 days unless legislatively-extended; allow for legislative modification after 30 days; require judicial review to occur in the county subject to the proclamation and receive first priority, and reclassify the crime of violating emergency orders from a gross misdemeanor to a misdemeanor.


CURRICULUM TRANSPARENCY
Ballot Measure Summary: Our Kids Education Should Not Be Secret – This measure would require public education providers to make available online, within one week of first use, publicly available materials and activities used for student instruction or staff training, descriptions of nonpublic materials, and certain information regarding staff training requirements, funding sources, and expenditures. If a copyright holder objects, education providers must request permission to post the materials, display the request and response online, and permit public inspection and, if legally allowed, copying of materials.


ELECTORAL COLLEGE ALLOCATION
Ballot Measure Summary: Make Washington State’s Vote for President Matter – This measure would change the State’s method for selecting presidential electors. There would be one elector for each congressional district and two electors for the state, selected by the political party for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the most votes in the district or state, respectively. Washington would withdraw from an interstate compact in which joining states agree to select electors based on the national popular vote, upon certain conditions.


VOTER PROTECTION ACT
Ballot Measure Summary: Bipartisan Review Of Election Results – This measure would require that, before a general election’s certification, a company oversee a hand-count audit conducted by county officials of ballots in at least three races in twelve precincts per county. The company, races, and precincts would be selected through processes involving the major political parties. Public and party observers of the audit would be permitted to examine certain ballots. The company would report findings and recommendations to the legislature by Dec. 31.


If these initiatives are approved by the Washington State Legislator, are they veto-proof?


After the signatures for an initiative to the legislature are gathered and accepted by the Secretary of State’s office (and we have the required valid signatures needed to qualify), they will be sent over to the legislature in the 2023 session starting in January. It takes about 30 days, or one-third of the way into the session, for initiatives to land on the legislative schedule where both houses can vote on them. It is presumably likely that both houses would vote to approve some or all these initiatives.


If the legislature signs these initiatives (which can’t be changed, they can only be signed into law as is – or they go on the 2023 November ballot), then they become law without the Governor’s signature. The Governor cannot veto these initiatives. They are veto-proof if the legislature of both houses approves them.


If you would like to submit your business as a signing location, host a signing event, help collect signatures, help with data entry or logistics, or connect your networks to the project organizers, contact Let’s Go Washington at (425) 403-8185 or email info@letsgowa.com. More details can be found at www.letsgowashington.com.


If you want to assist in funding this initiative effort you can do so by sending a check to the mailing address listed here:


Let’s Go Washington, Sponsored by Brian Heywood
16625 Redmond Way
Suite M-PMB18
Redmond, WA 98052

Sources
“Initiative and Referendum Processes.” https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/initiative-and-referendum-processes.aspx
Let’s Go Washington – Fix What’s Broken the Initiatives. 3 June 2022, letsgowashington.com/initiatives/. Accessed 22 Nov. 2022.