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Spin Control

Posts tagged: ballot measures

More words for the Nov. 6 ballot

OLYMPIA — Voters get to weigh in on two more ballot measures in November, a pair of advisory votes on changes to tax law the Legislature approved this year.

One involves petroleum taxes, the other involves a tax break for large banks on mortgages.

They're advisory votes, so the Legislature isn't bound by them. They're required by Initiative 960.

They will add about 16 pages to the state Voter's Guide, which will be coming out in the fall.

To read the ballot language, go inside the blog.

Same-sex marriage campaign gets $2.5 million boost

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder of Amazon.com, the campaign announced today.

Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced  the contribution from Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos this morning. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.

It also more than doubles the campaign's total contributions, to about $4.8 million and shows continuing support from the state's high-tech executives. The campaign has also received contributions of $100,000 each from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot and is urging a no vote to block same sex-marriage, has reported about $250,000 in contributions.

The Washington Legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples early this year and it was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had announced her support for the change before the session started. But opponents quickly filed a referendum and gathered the needed signatures, placing the law on hold.

Six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, but no state has approved it through a ballot measure. Washington, Maryland and Maine have same-sex marriage proposals on statewide ballots this fall.

For the top donors to Washington United for Marriage and Preserve Marriage Washington campaigns, click here to go inside the blog.

Charter school measure makes November ballot

OLYMPIA — An initiative which will be the fourth attempt to get voter approval for charter schools will be on the November ballot.

Initiative 1240 has enough valid signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 election, the Secretary of State's office said this afternoon.

Although supporters had a mere 21 days to collect signatures, they turned in about 115,000 more than the 241,000 needed to put an initiative on the ballot. They accomplished that largely with paid signature gatherers, paying almost $2.1 million to a California company, PCI Consultants.

The state Elections Division said a random sampling of the petitions showed a rejection rate of about 16 percent, resulting in I-1240 qualifying as the sixth ballot measure for this fall.

Under the initiative, a charter school would be a public school governed by a special board and operated under a special contract that outlines powers, responsibilities and performance expectations. As many as 40 such schools could be set up in the state over the next five years, either by public school districts or nonprofit organizations. The per-pupil allotment that a public school would get would go to the charter school for its students.

Voters have turned down charter school proposals in 1996, 2000 and 2004.  

Marijuana initiative lists Spokane boosters

The campaign for Initiative 502, which would legalize some marijuana use, announced three “name” supporters Tuesday.

State Sen. Lisa Brown. Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart. The Rev. Happy Watkins.

Brown and Stuckart aren't big surprises, considering they've supported medical marijuana measures in the past. I-502 is a step beyond that, to decriminalizing small amounts of mairjuana for personal use, but it's not a big step. Brown said the taxes from legalized marijuana would help health care and drug prevention programs, and Stuckart said the city's policing resources could be better spent on more serious problems.

Watkins, however, is the campaign's “get.” In the announcement, he said he was looking at it from a community perspective. “When young adults are arrested and charged for marijuana possession, they are shamed, turned into second-class citizens and face long-term economic hardship,” he said in the press release announcing the endorsement.

A spokeswoman for the campaign said I-502 is lining up support in what she called “the faith community”, particularly among African-American ministers because the minority community may feel a bigger impact of the war on drugs. They announced support from three Seattle-area ministers last month.

Eyman to turn in signatures on I-1185

OLYMPIA — Signed petitions on an initiative to reiterate the supermajority needed for the Legislature to approve tax increases will be turned in Friday morning. 

Tim Eyman and other sponsors of Initiative 1185 will be carting boxes of petitions into the Secretary of State's Elections Division office at 10:30 a.m., Eyman said. That's about 90 minutes after petitions for an initiative to allow public schools to set up charter schools

His announcement followed just one day after he told supporters “we're not there yet” and urged them to get even partially filled petitions to the campaign offices because “every signature counts.”

Initiatives require about 242,000 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot, and state elections officials always urge campaigns to collect at least an extra 15 percent to account for duplicates, people who arent registered and signatures that don't match the state's voter registry. 

Charter school initiative to turn in signatures

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot initiative that would allow public school districts to create charter schools will turn in signatures Friday morning.

The Secretary of State's office said this morning the campaign for Initiative 1240 will deliver their petitions to the Elections Division office at 9 a.m. Friday is the last day to turn in signatures for ballot initiatives.

Voters would be asked to approve a proposal similar to one that was introduced with much fanfare in the past legislative session, but never came up for a vote. It would allow the state to form as many as 40 charter schools over the next five years that would be operated as nonprofits with the same academic standards as other public schools but exempt from some regulations on curriculum and budget.

Supporters filed the initiative in May, and after it was reviewed by the attorney general's office and went through court challenges by both sides on the ballot title, signature gathering didn't begin until mid June. They will need about 242,000 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.

Charter school initiative filed

OLYMPIA — An initiative that would allow the state to form as many as 40 charter schools over the next five years was filed today with the Secretary of State in an effort to get the proposal on the November ballot.

They would be “public charters” which mean they'd be non-profits with the same academic standards as other public schools, but would be exempt from some regulations on curriculum and budget.

The League of Education Voters, which filed the proposal, and its allies have less than two months to gather the 241,153 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. A short time span for most campaigns, although Costco managed to get enough signatures for its “get the state out of the liquor business” initiative in less time last year.

Mark Funk, a campaign spokesman, said the group would use both volunteer and paid-signature collectors to get enough signatures in the short time available. The campaign hasn't raised any money yet, but expects to get contributions from people and groups who have long supported that aspect of education reform, and most money will likely come from individual rather than corporate sources, Funk said.

Washington voters rejected charter schools in 2004, and the Legislature has considered but not passed them since then. Legislation similar to the initiative was introduced with fanfare early in the last legislative session with bipartisan sponsors, but it met with strong opposition from Gov. Chris Gregoire and legislative leaders in both chambers, and eventually died.

Text of the initiative can be found here.

Referendum number is up, by 1

OLYMPIA — The proposed ballot measure asking voters whether they support or oppose the same-sex marriage bill is Referendum 74, the Secretary of State's office said today.

The proposal had been given the number 73 yesterday, when opponents of the law filed for a referendum a few hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill. Turns out, however, that 73 was given last year to a proposed challenge of the medical marijuana law. That effort didn't make it to the ballot, but the Secretary of State's office doesn't recycle numbers from unsuccessful petition drives.

Processing the referendum proposal now requires the Attorney General's office to write the ballot title, description and summary. Under the law, that can't take more than five days. The title, description or summary can be challenged, which would result in an expedited hearing in Thurston County Superior Court.

The printing of petitions and signature gathering would likely begin in early March, state elections officials said. Opponents of the law have until June 6 to gather 120,577 valid signatures from registered voters. If they don't, the law takes effect June 7.

If they do, the law is on hold until the November election, and only takes effect in early December if it passes. If it fails, it never takes effect.

OFM looks at the initatives

OLYMPIA – Washington would collect more revenue if an initiative to privatize liquor sales passes, but could pay more for road projects if another ballot measure on toll roads succeeds.
That's the best estimate of the Office of Financial Management, which recently released its analyses of the three measures headed for the Nov. 8 ballot…

To read more about the analyses, and for links to the reports, click here to go inside the blog.

City Council may add ballot measures against Bill of Rights

The Spokane City Council will consider next week adding a pair of ballot measures to the Nov. 8 ballot to ask voters whether they want the city to cut programs or “pursue additional funding sources” if the Community Bill of Rights passes.

For those not fluent in the language of government-speak, pursue additional funding sources is a polite way of saying “raise taxes.”*

Similar provisions were added to the 2009 ballot when the previous incarnation of the Community Bill of Rights was before the voters. So expect a similar explanation from supporters on the council that they just need some advice from voters on how to pay for the CBR, should the voters pass it so late in the year, what with all the preparations underway at the time for the 2012 city budget.

Expect, too, some vocal protests from Envision Spokane, the sponsors of the CBR. In 2009, they prepared a legal brief against the add-on  ballot measures, saying it was an attempt to prejudice voters against the one CBR.  But they never filed it.  Kai Huschke of Envision Spokane said there's no decision yet on whether to file the challenge this time if the council repeats the 2009 maneuver.

So it could be deja vu all over again, on multiple levels, including the short  notice of the added ballot propositions, which weren't mentioned by any councilmembers when they voted  unanimously to put the Community Bill of Rights on the ballot last Monday. (OK, so they didn't have a choice in the matter because Envision Spokane followed the rules and gathered the required signatures and submitted their petiions. Not putting it on the ballot, as some people suggested, would have left the council open to a legal challenge.)

But even though there was some minimal grousing about the CBR, council members didn't suggest during that meeting they thought voters the “advisory measures” should also return to the ballot.

The council will have to decide next Monday on whether to lard the ballot with the two extra propositions. The deadline for adding something like that to the ballot is a April 16.

 

* What? You thought it meant take turns on a street corner with a tin cup and accordion or drill for oil in Riverfront Park?

Correction on tax initiatives

OLYMPIA — Initiative sponsor par excellance and alert reader Tim Eyman points out an inaccuracy in last Saturday’s item about the tax increases Gov. Chris Gregoire signed.

He and other tax foes in his camp have filed initiatives to repeal six of the taxes passed by the Legislature in its special session. The story said they had filed initiatives to repeal most of the taxes, and that’s numerically incorrect. The Legislature raised 17 taxes, so their initiatives only cover about a third of them.

Through various initiatives, Eyman et al want to repeal the new soda tax, the bottled water tax, the beer tax, the candy tax, the cigarette tax and the service industry business and occupation tax increase.

While these are the most recognizable (some might say notorious) tax changes coming out of the special session, there are about a dozen other smaller ones, such as the clarification of taxes on electricity from Public Utility Districts, taxes for officers of a failed limited liability corporation or the end to the sales tax exemption for handling livestock nutrients at dairies.

In terms of dollar figures, they are seeking to repeal taxes that would provide more than half of the new revenues the state expects to collect. But that’s different than “most of the taxes,” which is the phrase used in the item.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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