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Eye On Olympia

Wed., April 30, 2008, 11:41 a.m.

Washington, welcome to the spotlight…

From this morning's paper:

If there’s any doubt that Washington’s about to be a national battleground in the fight over assisted suicide, just take a look at the checks.

With months left to go before Election Day, Washington’s Initiative 1000 has drawn cash contributions from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Among them: more than 400 contributions from California, nearly 150 from New York and $215,000 from the Oregon group Death With Dignity.

Proponents of the measure, which would allow terminally ill people to get a lethal prescription, had raised about $900,000 by the end of March. Both sides predict an emotional, bitter battle in the only state to be considering a ballot measure on this issue this year. Opponents have raised about $50,000 so far.

“They didn’t get California, couldn’t get Vermont, and they’re trying to get Washington,” said Marilyn Golden, a California-based disability rights advocate who was in Eastern Washington last week arguing against the measure.

Recent polling by both sides suggests that between 60 percent and 64 percent of voters support the measure. Former Gov. Booth Gardner and other proponents hope to keep that number up while proponents try to whittle it below 50 percent by November.

Both sides agree that the battle over I-1000 is a David-and-Goliath struggle. But both claim to be the underdog.

Opponents, with about one-sixteenth of the money proponents have collected, would seem to have a lock on the underdog title. But proponents say that in state after state, money has quickly flooded in from politically powerful groups: doctors, the Catholic Church and right-to-life groups.

Click here to read the full print story.




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