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Eye On Olympia

What you’ll see on the ballot: Eyman made it (probably), R-71 folks are still gathering signatures, and everyone else derailed…

So what measures will voters see on the fall ballot?

Well, they won’t see Initiative 1043, which would have required the state to verify that someone’s a citizen or legal immigrant before issuing them a driver’s license or most public benefits. It also would have banned nonprofit groups from offering job-seeking help unless people could prove that they weren’t an illegal immigrant.

Backers apparently tried to put the measure on autopilot, printing full-size petitions in papers in Yakima and Spokane (including the Spokesman-Review) and then watching the mailbox in hopes of getting the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed.

It didn’t work. At least not in time. The deadline for signatures was Thursday.

“Though Respect Washington’s mailbox recently overflowed with petition returns following placement of 186,000 petitions in newspapers statewide, more weeks would have been necessary to accumulate the required 241,153 signatures,” the group said in a recent email to supporters.

The group says it intends to try again next year.

Also not making it this year are measures that would have:

-banned “use of public money or lands for anything that denies or attempts to refute the existence of a supreme ruler of the universe,”
-repealed the state’s business tax in favor of a flat corporate income tax,
-created a state-run health insurance agency,
-and repealed the state’s helmet law for motorcyclists, as well as the laws requiring people to wear seatbelts and wear orange for some hunting.

Still in play is Referendum 71, which asks voters to do away with a new law granting registered domestic partners most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses. Since it’s a referendum rather than an initiative, the deadline is three weeks later.

And last but not least, Tim Eyman and Spokane associates Mike and Jack Fagan on Thursday dropped off what they said was 314,277 signatures for their Initiative 1033. The measure would limit city, county and state general-fund revenues to increasing at the rate of inflation and population growth. Anything over that would be put in a special fund that would go toward lowering property taxes. With about 70,000 signatures more than required, Eyman said the measure’s “a slam-dunk” to make it onto the ballot. (Still, election workers will check, comparing a sample of signatures to those on voters’ registration cards.)

Here’s a thumbnail of the arguments you can expect from both sides in the coming months:

Eyman: “This is a clear message from the voters to all governments in Washington State that we don’t have bottomless wallets.”

Opposition spokesman Christian Sinderman: If it passes, Washingtonians will less maintenance of roads and sidewalks, less care for senior citizens, more crowded classrooms “and a general degradation in the things we hold dear.”

Four months ‘til Election Day.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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