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Eye On Olympia

Initiatives: the quick and the dead…

From a story I wrote in Sunday's paper:

Unhappy with reports of abuse at camps for troubled teens, Angela Smith decided to turn directly to voters for reforms.

The Seattle woman wrote a citizen's initiative. She recruited 100 volunteers, got thousands of petitions printed, and set about collecting signatures.

Four months later, things look bleak. Volunteers have dwindled. The campaign war chest consists of a single $20 donation. And although she needs to come up with about 225,000 signatures by July 3, boxes of blank petitions are still stacked in her living room.

"We're not very close, unfortunately," she said.

Smith's experience is being repeated around the state, as initiative proponents discover it's easy to launch a ballot measure but tough to bring it in for a landing.

So what's likely to make it (and what's dying on the vine)? Read on...

Although nearly 60 measures were proposed in Washington this year, interviews with proponents suggest that just a handful are likely to get enough signatures by next month's deadline. Among the casualties: Products in Washington will not get a universal five-year warranty, car-license tabs will not become free, and hens and sows will have to wait for relief from cramped cages and pens.

Here's the story, which includes a listing of how the many measures are faring.

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