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Spin Control

Envision Spokane wins appeal, voters to get a third chance to consider

Envision Spokane, a  wide-ranging initiative that twice failed at the polls, will be before voters again, after a decision today by a state appellate court.

A unanimous decision by the court today ruled against the 2013 decision by a Superior Court judge to remove the controversial measure from the general election ballot.

At the time, Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno said the measures fell outside the scope of the initiative power. The 2013 decision sided with a coalition of government and business interests, which argued that the initiatives attempted to create regulations and protections that were not within the city's power to enact. They also said the initiatives would hurt local government and business. Moreno said that while she admired the "passion and advocacy" of the initiatives' sponsors,the provisions within the measures either conflicted with state and federal law or infringed on the powers of local government to set policy. She ordered county Auditor Vicky Dalton to keep the two initiatives off that fall's ballot. Four other advisory questions related to the initiatives placed on the ballot by the Spokane City Council will also be removed.

The appellate court said Moreno did not have the power to remove the initiatives from the ballot, and ordered the city to put the measures on the next available ballot.

Legal counsel for the City of Spokane declined comment on the case early Thursday, saying they'd just received the opinion and hadn't reviewed the appellate court's decision in advance of the public.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.