Posts tagged: initiatives
One of the founders of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream said today his Vermont-based company will back a Washington initiative to require all foods to be labeled if they contain genetically modified ingredients.
Jerry Greenfield said Wednesday the company would give away “tons” of ice cream, send its “Scoop Truck” to Seattle and put up billboards in support of Initiative 522. The company's web site said the truck was scheduled to be in Seattle from mid August to mid September promoting its Greek frozen yogurt.
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OLYMPIA – Out-of-state money pouring into the campaign coffers of this fall’s initiative to require labeling of genetically modified food products make clear that Washington will once again be a battleground state for progressive causes.
Supporters of Initiative 522, which would require any product sold in Washington stores to say if it contains genetically altered substances, have raised nearly $2 million for various campaign organizations. Three-fourths of it came from businesses or people outside Washington who won’t be voting on the measure this fall.
“It’s part of a national movement,” Liz Larter, a spokeswoman for the Yes on I-522 campaign, said of efforts to require consumers be told if their products contain modified ingredients. But Washington is likely to be the only state where the battle will be joined at the ballot box this fall after a similar measure failed last year in California. . .
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Mike Fagan, Tim Eyman and Jack Fagan, left to right, to file an electronic copy of their new initiative at the Secretary of State's office Wednesday. After several attempts, they wound up submitting a paper copy and paying the $5 filing fee.
OLYMPIA – Unable to ask voters again to approve an initiative requiring supermajority approval of tax increases, a trio of self-described tax fighters will try to prod the Legislature into putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
Perennial initiative sponsors Tim Eyman of Mukilteo and Mike Fagan and Jack Fagan of Spokane filed an initiative Wednesday that would require a public vote on any tax increase, a one-year limit on any new tax, and an advisory vote on whether voters should get to vote on a constitutional amendment that requires the Legislature pass any tax increase with a two-thirds majority.
The initiative comes with an “escape clause” which says if the Legislature puts that constitutional amendment up to a public vote, other provisions go away. . .
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OLYMPIA – As state law enforcement officials began investigating more than 8,000 allegedly forged signatures for a pair of ballot measures, a legislative panel looked at changes to the century-old avenue for grass-roots democracy, the initiative process.
One suggestion the Senate Governmental Operations Committee aired out Thursday: Give initiative campaigns more time to circulate petitions.
“If we give citizens more time to get involved, you wouldn’t need paid signature gatherers,” Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said. . .
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OLYMPIA — An initiative designed to make changes in the state's initiative law has enough signatures to be sent to the Legislature.
As expected, the Secretary of State's office cleared Initiative 517 for the next step, which is a decision by the Legislature whether to pass it or let it go to the voters in November, either by itself or with an alternative.
I-517 comes from Tim Eyman and his allies, and would set up penalties for harassing signature gatherers, require that all ballot measures that have enough signatures appear on the ballot, and extend the time for gathering signatures from six months to a year.
Under current law, initiatives to the people are filed no earlier than January of the year in which they will appear on the ballot, giving supporters until the end of June, or about six months, to gather signatures. I-517 would allow proposed initiatives to be filed in June of the year prior to the election, and give them through June of the election year to gather signatures.
OLYMPIA – Almost every year for more than a decade, Washington’s premier proponent of initiatives, Tim Eyman, has had a ballot measure to promote, and 2013 is no exception. This year’s initiative topic: initiatives.
Eyman and other supporters of Initiative 517 filed petitions with more than 345,000 signatures Thursday for a proposal that would make changes to the state’s initiative law. It would set penalties for anyone harassing a signature gatherer, allow signatures to be gathered at the entrance to any store or inside or outside any public building, and add an extra six months to the signature-gathering process.
Initiatives to the people can now be as early as January for a general election in November, but the petitions must be turned in by early July for signatures to be checked and counted for validation. Processing the proposal before it’s ready to print petitions so signatures can be gathered can take weeks, so the practical time for gathering signatures is often five months or less. I-517 would allow initiatives to be filed as early as July of the year before the election, essentially giving a campaign up to a year to gather signatures.
I-517 has about 100,000 more signatures than the minimum requirement, which makes it all but certain of being validated. It would go first to the Legislature, where it could be passed into law. The Legislature could also reject it, which would put it on the general election ballot, or pass an alternative, which would put both proposals before voters in November.
Supporters of I-522 wheel signed petitions into the Secretary of State's offfice on Thursday.
OLYMPIA — The state's voters are likely to be asked next ffice.all whether food that contains genetically modified organisms must say so on its label to be sold in Washington.
Supporters of a ballot measure to require such labels filed petitions with an estimated 350,000 signatures Thursday, more than 100,000 more than required to qualify an initiative to the Legislature. If the signatures pass inspection, it will be sent to the Legislature during the upcoming session.
Supporters like Chris McManus of University Place, who managed the signature drive, said the proposal is simply about informing the public. . .
OLYMPIA — The turnout was down slightly in Washington state compared to the 2008 presidential election, but the number of ballots cast was up.
That means the number of signatures needed for initiatives and referenda goes up next year.
Huh? We explain inside the blog. Click here to read more, or to comment.
Washington voters probably didn’t intend it, but they gave at least a temporary economic boost to Idaho liquor stores when taking their state out the booze business last year by passing Initiative 1183.
In June, the first month that I-1183 closed Washington’s state-owned liquor stores and raised the overall price of distilled spirits in the private outlets that took their place, Idaho state liquor stores just across the border saw more Evergreen State license plates in their parking lots and a jump in business.
The two Post Falls liquor stores saw a 58 percent increase in sales for June 2012 compared to the previous June, said Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho State Liquor Division. Between Lewiston and Oldtown, the eight Idaho liquor stores just across the border are up 33 percent overall, or a total of $560,000.
“The numbers are a bit skewed,” Anderson said . . .
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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.
OLYMPIA — An initiative reiterating that tax increase must pass the Legislature with a two-thirds majority will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Washington Secretary of State certified Initiative 1185 for the ballot this morning, giving voters a sixth shot at passing some sort of restriction on tax increases in the last 19 years. The petitions had an error rate of 19.4 percent, which is higher than average, but sponsors had submitted about a third more signatures than the minimum required.
The state Elections Division now begins checking signatures for Initiative 1240, which would allow for establishing charter schools. Sponsors of that proposal submitted even more signatures, and it, too, is expected to qualify for the ballot.
That would mean six statewide ballot measures for voters to consider in November. Here are the other four:
Initiative 502, on legalizing marijuana for personal use
Resolution 8221, on changes to the state debt limit
Resolution 8223, on changes to investment policies for UW and WSU
For more information on the ballot measures, chedk out the state's Online Voters Guide by clicking here.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to put charter schools on the Washington ballot for the fourth time paid more than $2 million to an out-of-state firm to gather the signatures that virtually assure them of a vote.
Reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the campaign for Initiative 1240 paid about $2.1 million to PCI Consultants Inc. of Calabasas, Calif. A spokeswoman for the campaign had refused to reveal the amount spent on signature-gathering, or the company that received it, when supporters turned in signatures last Friday.
That expenditure allowed I-1240 to gather about 350,000 signatures, almost 110,000 more than the minimum required to qualify for the ballot, in a little more than three weeks. That's far more than the cushion recommended by the Secretary of State's office, and makes certification all but certain.
PCI has a long track record of gathering signatures for ballot measures in Washington, receiving a total of more than $8.3 million over the last seven years, campaign disclosulre records show. It was paid to gather signatures last year for I-502, the marijuana legalization proposal on this year's ballot, as well as for an initiative that required more training for home health care workers and one that would require more humane treatment of farm animals. In 2010, it was paid to gather signatures for a proposal to impose an income tax on upper income residents and for one of two plans to end state control of liquor sales.
All but the farm animal initiative reached the ballot. But of the three that went before voters in the last two general elections, only I-1163, the home health care worker proposal, passed.
The $2.1 million may represent a record expense for signatures to get an initiative on the Washington ballot. PDC records show it far exceeds any previous payment to PCI from a client and also outstrips the reported costs of gathering signatures for last year's liquor sales initiative, about $1.12 million.
The signature campaign for the charter schools initiative was bankrolled by some of the big names in Washington's high tech industry, including $1 million from Bill Gates, $100,000 from Paul Allen and $450,000 from members of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's family.
I-1240 would allow the school districts or nonprofits to open as many as 40 charter schools over five years, which would be held to the same teacher certification and performance requirements as standard public schoos, but exempt from some laws and district policies. The per-pupil allotment from the state would bo to the charter school.
Friday’s deadline for turning in initiatives demonstrated clearly that letting voters approve legislation at the ballot box might still be an exercise of government of the people, but getting a measure on the ballot is all about money.
Of some 55 proposals that were filed this year and a half-dozen or so that made at some level of effort to gather signatures, only two reached the deadline with enough names to make the ballot. Both relied heavily on large infusions of cash from businesses or wealthy donors to pay people to collect those names. ..
Attached to this post are the two proposed citizen intiatives filed recently with the city of Spokane clerk's office. The supporters of each initiative still need to gather signatures in order to force the issues onto the city ballot.
Here is the story about the proposals.
Finally, I apologize to anyone who tried to find them on Spin Control earlier today, as the print version of the story directs interested readers to do.
Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday that he still is considering what his position will be on the two hottest topics for next week's City Council meeting.
Those issues are Councilman Jon Snyder's resolution in support of the state's gay marriage law and Councilman Mike Fagan's proposal to change the city's initiative process.
Two Republican-leaning council members, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori, have said they likely will support Snyder's resolution.
The state approved same-sex marriage this year, but opponents are expected to collect enough signatures to force the issue on the November ballot.
Although supportive of the law, Salvatori has questioned the purpose of the council weighing in on gay marriage since it's not an issue that will be decided at the city level. He doubts the City Council will change anyone's mind on such a passionate topic.
“If I wanted to be in state Legislature, I would have run for the state Legislature,” Salvatori said.
The council has taken up several non-binding resolutions this year, including ones focused on federal marijuana law, the proposed Spokane Tribe of Indian's casino on the West Plains and campaign finance.
City Council President Ben Stuckart said while some of the issues may not be considered City Council business, they are important topics that affect the citizenry. He added voting on a resolution provides a forum for local residents to debate high-profile issues.
“Being an elected official means you have a voice, and you should us that voice,” Stuckart said.
OLYMPIA — Two more initiatives to legalize private use of marijuana hit the streets this week, as proponents of what's being dubbed the Cannabis Child Protection Act employ a two-pronged strategy.
They've drafted identical bills, one as an initiative to the voters for this fall's ballot and another as an initiative to next year's Legislature. If they collect signatures on both for the next three months, but if they don't have enough signatures on the first by early July, they'll scrap it and keep collecting signatures on the legislative initiative, which has a January deadline.
The proposal allows people 21 and older to grow, possess and use marijuana, and buy it from any other adult of their choosing. But it has penalties for minors who buy, sell or possess the drug, and felony charges for adults who sell to minors. There are exceptions for parents, giving them “the ability to guide their children's exposure for spiritual and social use”, and for medical marijuana patients.
Text of I-1223, the version that's trying to get on the November ballot, can be found here.
Voters already will face one marijuana initiative in the general election. I-502, which is a different approach to legalizing marijuana for personal use, was an initiative to the Legislature which goes to the voters because legislators failed to act on it.
OLYMPIA — The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the same-sex marriage bill this afternoon. Expect a repeat of last week's hearing in Senate Government Operations: some efforts by Republicans to modify it, but enough votes to send it to the full House.
That's not the only thing happening today, however. House and Senate policy committees — that is, the ones that deal with bills other than the budget — are playing beat the clock on the piles of legislation introduced since before the session started.
Friday is the first cut off or “drop dead” day. Any policy bill that hasn't been passed out of its first committee in the chamber where the bill originated is technically dead.
Well, OK, it's not “really most sincerely dead” as the Munchkins would say, because there are parliamentary ways to revive a bill. But it's definitely need of someone with a pair of electro-shock paddles.
So at the same time the same-sex marriage bill is being run through executive session, a Senate committe has a hearing on several bills involving health care reform and a House committee has a hearing on bills involving political advertising and the initiative process.
Although the Legislature is on break, new legislation continues to pop up. Among ideas is a proposed constitutional amendment from Sen. Dan Swecker of Rochester and other Republicans like Mark Schoesler of Ritzville and Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla.
It requires any initiative that starts a new program or expands an existing one to identify a way to pay for it.
In the past, voters have approved initiatives to give public school teachers regular raises or shrink classroom sizes or, just last month, require more training for home care providers. But the initiatives didn’t come up with new sources of money to cover those changes. Legislators often suspend those directives in tough budget times.
Gov. Chris Gregoire said last week she hadn’t read the proposal, but might support it. The Legislature has to identify a money source when it comes up with a new program, she said. When voters pass legislation at the ballot box, maybe they should, too.
OLYMPIA — A union that represents some of the workers who will lose their jobs at state liquor stores is suing to block Initiative 1183, which will begin dismantling the state control of liquor sales next year.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 sued today in King County, saying I-1183 violates a state requirement that an initiative have only one subject. The ballot measure had more than that, the union contends: privatizing the state liquor system, changing laws for selling and distributing wine, changing the ability of the Liquor Control Board to regulate alcohol advertising; and creating new franchise protections for spirits distributors.
The union contends the initiative's sponsor, Costco, focused on the issue of privatizing the state system with its record advertising campaign and avoided the other points, which are designed to benefit the retail giant.
Costco may have spent the big bucks to get the initiative passed, but state taxpayers will pay the cost of defending it.
State law says the Attorney General's office defends an initiative the voters approve. Dan Sytman, a spokesman for Attorney General Rob McKenna, said the office “will vigorously defend this initiative” like other state laws.
OLYMPIA — Initiative 1125, which would have placed restrictions on how tolls can be levied and spent, is officially a loser.
Although the fate of the proposal seemed fairly likely when it ended Election Night behind, The Associated Press night called it for the No camp Wednesday evening after another day of ballot counting in some of the state's biggest counties.
Among them, a 71,000 vote margin on the side of the opposition in King County. Other counties voting No included Spokane, Snohomish, Thurston, Whitman, Garfield and Adams. Overall, I-1125 is down by about 40,000 votes out of nearly 1.3 million cast, or about 51.5 percent No and 48.5 percent Yes.
For a map of the county-by-county results on I-1125, click here.