Posts tagged: initiatives
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business, which is occupies the role of the state's chamber of commerce, likes the ballot measure to turn the state's liquor business over to private business.
It doesn't like the ballot measure to restrict tolling policies on roads and bridges. Nor does it like a measure to require extra training and background checks for long-term care workers.
At its “policy summit” meeting in Suncadia — that's a lodge on the eastern slope of the Cascades near Cle Elum — the AWB decided to come out in favor of I-1183, which would end the state monopoly on wholesale and retail liquor operations. Better than previous attempts, the group says, by keeping sales out of convenience stores in cities and bringing in more revenue for the state.”
It doesn't like I-1163, which applies to health workers. Too expensive at a time when the state's budget is “$2 billion in the hole” and can least afford it.(Technically, the budget isn't $2 billion in the hole. The gap between projected revenue and scheduled expenses is $1.4 billion, or $1.27 billion if the state were to blow through its reserves in an effort to head off red ink. Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking the Legislature to come back starting Nov. 28 to cut $2 billion because by then the revenue projections may be worse and the state really needs to have reserves. But $2 billion probably is easier to remember.)
And it's against I-1125, which would restrict the use of tolls to the roads or bridges where they are levied, ban variable tolls for different times or days, and require tolls be set by the Legislature. It would jeopardize some big projects and cause “more delays and traffic headaches for Washington drivers,” the group said.
OLYMPIA — For those who are Jonesing for some campaign-style polling, a Seattle political consulting firm is trying to supply a fix.
It has a new poll of 500 voters that suggest if the election were held today, Republican Rob McKenna would beat Democrat Jay Inslee for governor. And President Barack Obama would beat either of the two current GOP frontrunners, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, for president in Washington state.
Two initiatives on this November's ballot would also pass, according to the Strategies 360 poll.
But there are some caveats and some details beneath the surface of the raw numbers, Kevin Ingham, the firm's vice president for polling, explained Monday morning in the big rollout of the numbers.
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Republican Party announced Wednesday it is endorsing Initiative 1125, the proposal to limit the use of money collected for road and bridge tolls.
The proposal is this year's offering by Tim Eyman and allies to rein in some aspect of state spending. The endorsement can't be considered that surprising, because it's hard to think of a time when the state GOP didn't back a measure by Eyman to limit state spending.
In other I-1125 news, the Washington Policy Center, a research group that supports “market solutions”, has issued a long report about the eight different questions the initative raises, and the way supporters and opponents answer them.
OLYMPIA — As retail giants pour money into an intiative campaign to get the state completely out of the liquor business, a special state committee meets today to discuss cutting loose just a part of it.
The Liquor Distribution Advisory Committee has an 11 a.m. hearing, which some members apparently will attend by phone, to work on coming up with bid specifications for the possible sale of the wholesale end of the booze biz.
One problem to wrestle with: by the time the committee gets the bids out and back, voters may have passed judgment on the state's control of the liquor wholesale and retail system, and decided to turn the whole thing over to private enterprise. That's what Initiative 1183 would do.
Supporting I-1183 are Costco, Trader Joe's, Safeway and some other large retailers. Opposing it are the national wine and liquor distributors, some of the smaller grocery chains, and some unions.
Washington state got an F in initiatives last week.
Not that the state enrolled in Ballot Measures 101 or anything. We graduated with a degree in initiatives and referendums in 1914, when state residents added that power to the constitution.
But the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, a Washington, D.C., group which bills itself as a place that “strengthens democracy by building a national progressive strategy for ballot issues”, annually grades states for the kinds of changes it thinks the states should make to “ensure the integrity of their initiative process.” It has looked at our laws and determined that we don’t rate. For the third year in a row.
Don’t be smirking over there, Idaho. You got an F, too.
In its 25-point test, Washington got graded down for not having 14 of the things the center thought a good state should have. Things like keeping folks from re-running the same initiative for at least three years or requiring notarized affidavits that all signatures are gathered within the law or banning companies for paying people based on the number of signatures they gather. They have some interesting and even debatable ideas, which could be why the Legislature has debated many of them, but never approved them.
Chances are good some Washington progressive groups will propose legislation along those lines again next year.
But those groups might want to think twice about citing Washington’s failing grade from the Center as a reason to change state law. In grading all 24 states that have the initiative process, the Center flunked half, gave out one B, one C, and the rest Ds. That’s not a curve, it’s a slope like a ski jump.
Most teachers who turned in a grade book like that would be answering questions about what was wrong with their methods, not with their class.
Seems like a more honest way to grade initiatives might be to give states that don’t allow them an F, and work up from there. Just sayin.
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.
OLYMPIA — An initiative to turn wholesale and retail liquor sales over to the private sector qualified for the ballot, state elections officials said Wednesday.
Initiative 1183, sometimes called the Costco initiative because the discount retailer is among its most ardent supporters, passed a random check of its petitions, David Ammons, a spokesman for Secretary of State Sam Reed said.
It joins I-1125, which would limit tolls and fees on roads, bridges and ferries. Elections officials begin a spot check of petitions Thursday on a third initiative, I-1163 which would require training and background checks for home health care workers.
All three initiatives submitted enough signatures that they were likely to qualify for the ballot.
OLYMPIA — Sponsors of the last of three initatives likely headed for the November ballot turned in signatures Friday afternoon.
The Service Employees International Union and other supporters of Initiative 1163 turned in what they estimated were more than 320,000 for the ballot measure that would require training and background checks for long-term care workers.
Earlier in the day, Tim Eyman and other sponsors of I-1125 turned in what they estimated were 327,000 signatures and sponsors of I-1183, which would privatize state liquor retail and wholesal operations, turned in 354,000 signatures.
Supporters of an initative to legalize marijuana notified the Elections Division that they would not be turning in signatures, Director Katie Blinn said.
Initiative sponsors Tim Eyman (right) and Mike Fagan hold a press conference Friday while elections workers begin counting their petitions.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of an initiative to limit the use of road taxes and tolls dropped off their petitions Friday morning with a comfortable cushion that suggests they'll be on the November ballot.
Sponsors Tim Eyman and Mike Fagan wheeled in boxes of petitions they said held some 327,000 signatures for Initiative 1125, an effort to rein in tolls, taxes and fares and force any increases to be approved by the Legislature.
“These kinds of decisions need to be made by elected officials,” Eyman said. Tolls would also come off of different projects when the bonds sold to build them are paid off.
Waiting for Eyman and company were members of a forming coalition against the plan. Former State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald called the proposal “a mish mash” of ideas that doesn't understand modern systems of tolling. It could cause problems for plans to enlarge the 520 bridge across Lake Washington by restricting the use of funds from tolls on the I-90 bridge, he said.
Assuming that the cost of a road or bridge stops when the bonds are paid off is like assuming the cost of owning a house stops when the mortgage is paid off, he said; tolls need to continue to pay for ongoing maintenance.
Employees at the Secretary of State's Elections Division handle boxes of petitions submitted for I-1183.
OLYMPIA — Sponsors of Initiative 1183, a proposal to get the state out of the liquor business, may have achieved a modern-day record by collecting some 354,000 in just three weeks.
They turned in their petitions this morning, the first of three campaigns that definitely plan to turn in signatures on the last day allowed for petition drives. A fourth, to legalize marijuana for those 18 and older, has informed the Secretary of State's office they, too, may have enough to submit.
I-1183 would sell off the state's wholesale and retail liquor operations. Unlike last year's failed attempt to revamp the liquor system, it offers more money to the state, requires more training and tougher penalties for employees of stores that sell liquor and limits sales in most communities to stores with 10,000 square feet or larger — the size of most supermarkets — to avoid a complaint that liquor could be at every Mini Mart and gas station that currently sells beer or wine.
If every store that qualifies were to obtain a liquor license, the number of liquor outlets in the state — currently 340 — could triple.
Bruce Beckett of the Washington Restaurant Association, one of the sponsors of the initiative, also said it may help to have only one liquor-related initiative on this year's ballot. Last year there were two competing initiatives, and when voters didn't know much about the differences, they probably voted no, he said.
One unknown, he added was whether the the nation's beer industry, which came out strongly against the most similar initiative in 2010, will get into the campaign this year, Beckett said.
OLYMPIA — Sponsors of an initiative that would have allowed voters to order larger cages and other changes for hens on egg-laying farms say they will not turn in signatures Friday.
Washingtonians for Humane Farms say they are suspending their campaign for Initiative 1130 because of progress on federal legislation that will set nationwide standards for the farms.
The group said it had gathered more than 355,000 signatures, but “in light of a promising new agreement reached between animal welfare groups and the United Egg Producers” they will not turn them in. Instead the two groups will support the national standard.
Friday afternoon is the deadline for submitting signatures for initiatives to the people, proposals that can bypass the Legislature to become law if they receive a simple majority in the general election. To qualify for the ballot, an initiative needs nearly 242,000 signatures from registered state voters; a cushion of 100,000 signatures, whicht I-1130 would have had, almost guarantees a spot on the ballot.
Expected to turn in signatures tomorrow are proposals to set new standards for training and background checks for long-term care workers, to privatize the state's retail and wholesale liquor sales, and to limit the use of transportation taxes and tolls to transportation projects. Another proposal to legalize marijuana use and possession for those 18 and older in Washington will be turning in petitions if it has enough signatures.
OLYMPIA—Latest idea for a ballot measure: Let's change the state song.
Quick, what is the state song right now?
If you said “Louie, Louie” or “Roll On, Columbia” you're wrong. Those are the state's unofficial rock song, and the state's official folk song, respectively.
The official state song is” Washington My Home”. But an initiative has been filed by Kristopher Bannon of Tacoma that would let voters change it to “Not In Our House,” By Sir Mix A-Lot. This is in honor (or possibly in dishonor) of the Seattle Supersonics being spirited out of Seattle and plunked down in someplace like East Podunk, Oklahoma.
The initiative, if it should get at least 241,153 valid signatures from voters, and get a simple majority in the November election (admittedly a pair of substantial ifs) would turn the state song back to Washington My Home if an NBA franchise were to return to a city in Washington.
Not in Our House, (above) was remixed back when the Sonics made their playoff run in 92-93. It is much loved by true Sonics fans, among whom Bannon counts himself.
So, let's get this straight. The desire to land an NBA team is so close to the tipping point that it requires a boost from folks who prefer sappy anthems over rap? And they'll be rewarded for joining the find an NBA team effort by getting their sappy anthem back when Washington gets a team? Does that make sense to anyone out there?
Getting the state out of the liquor business is such a popular idea that voters have two chances to do it in the Nov. 2 election.
Based on their ballot titles, Initiatives 1100 and 1105 may seem close enough that anyone in favor of state-operated liquor stores could reasonably vote no on both.
One can make an argument for voting yes on one but not the other. Costco card holders, for example, might be more fond of I-1100, on the theory that if their favorite discount house spent millions pushing the intitiative, they may see some great deals on a case of booze.
But anyone who thinks the state should stick to core services – things like schools, prisons, roads and drawing numbers for the Lottery – may decide to fill in the “yes” ovals on both to double their chances of buying their liquor from someone not on the state payroll.
Then what happens? Suddenly, after decades of talking about getting the state out of the liquor business, we have not one but two laws ordering it out.
The short answer is – and we reporters love this because it’s like the political writers’ full employment act – no one knows.
Seriously. No. One. Knows…
OLYMPIA — King County will prosecute a state worker for signature fraud in a case involving at least 19 phony signatures on Initiative 1098, the income tax proposal.
Claudia McKinney, a member of Service Employees International Union who was paid by the union for the time she took off work to gather signatures, is being charged with forging other people’s signatures on some of the petitions she turned in.
Elections workers doing random checks of petitions found several signatures that didn’t match and others for people who weren’t registered votes on petitions McKinney submitted. All the petitions she turned in were then pulled from the piles, and about 300 of the 349 signatures she submitted were questioned. A Washington State Patrol investigation contacted 19 of the people who said the signatures on the petitions weren’t theirs.
An attorney for SEIU told the patrol that McKinney was not paid by the signature but was among union members who were paid out of a union fund for the time they took off work to gather signatures. McKinney declined to talk to patrol investigators and referred them to her attorney.
McKinney, who lives in Burien, is being charged in King County with signature fraud, a Class C felony with a maximum penalities of five years in prison and $10,000 fine.
Three initiatives that would change the state’s tax policies — instituting an income tax, dropping a series of consumer taxes or requiring supermajorities to pass new taxes — have more support than opposition among voters, a new poll by Elway Research Inc. indicates.
But none of the three has a majority of voters saying they’d vote yes if they were casting ballots right now.
One of the proposals, which would require any new tax imposed by the state to get a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Legislature, seems to have lost support over the summer, pollster H. Stuart Elway said.
Three other initiative to change the way the state handles liquor sales or the compensation system for injured workers also have less than half the voters polled saying they will definitely or probably vote yes.
“I think the initiatives are in trouble,” Elway said. “You bette be well over 50 percent before the heavy campaign season starts, because support tends to erode” when the opposition starts its advertising push.
I-1053, which would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to pass any tax increase, has lost support from a similar survey in June. The current poll has 48 percent of voters saying they would definitely or probably vote yes on that measure; in June, 65 percent said they would probably or definitely vote yes. The opposition stayed relatively the same in both polls, with about a fourth of voters in both surveys saying they’d probably or definitely vote no. The real shift was in undecided voters, which jumpted to about one in four voters now, up from about one in 10 voters in June.
Also of note: Many of the initiatives have significant numbers of voters who are undecided on those initiatives. That could be because some are confusing — for example, there are two separate proposals to end the state monopoly on liquor store sales, although in slightly different ways.
“One old adage is that confused voters tend to vote no on ballot measures,” Elway said.
For details on the Elway Poll for initiatives, click here to go inside the blog.
Labor Day weekend is often the point when campaigns kick into high gear with television commercials, and seveal initiative campaigns did so this year.
Among them was a television spot in favor of Initiative 1098, which would make some significant changes in state tax law. That is to say it would impose an income tax on people making more than $200,000 a year, or couples making more than $400,000 a year.
Missing from the commercial, however, is any use of the phrase “income tax.” It talks about removing the business and occupation tax for some operations and lowering overall taxes for many people. But the I-T phrase doesn’t come up.
Opponents say that’s a significant omission. They have a new radio ad, which uses the phrase “income tax” at least six times.
So are the Yes on 1098 folks trying to hide the fact that? No, says spokesman Sandeep Kaushik. “We think that’s one of the things people know about 1098. What a lot of people don’t know about 1098 is the benefits. The point of the ad is to inform the people about the benefits.”
How one gets those benefits, however, is by placing an income tax on the so-called “high earners.”
To see the commercial and judge for yourself, go inside the blog.
Soda pop sellers, liquor distributors and discount retailers are pouring millions of dollars into Washington to convince you how to vote on a slew of statewide ballot measures.
Some $30 million so far – the majority from out of state – has flooded the coffers of campaigns for or against a wide array of initiatives to the people, a process in Washington that lets voters enact laws they feel their legislators won’t.
While that right was initially given to the public in 1914 as a way to counterbalance the influence of powerful interests on the Legislature, this year’s campaign contributions illustrate how it has increasingly become the province of special interests, big business and unions.
“The old purpose of the (initiative) process is being subverted,” Blaine Gavin, professor of political science at Gonzaga University, said. “Interest groups recognize there’s another way to make law, and big powerful interests know how to conduct good advertising campaigns.”
To read more, go inside the blog…
Or check the list of the Top 25 contributors to all initiative campaigns, and the Top 10 Spokane area donors in the post below.
OLYMPIA — The sixth initiative to the people qualified for the Nov. 2 ballot this afternoon. Initiative 1107 asks voters to repeal taxes the Legislature levied earlier this year on soda, candy, bottled water and some processed foods.
That means voters will have two chances to undo things the Legislature did: repeal some of the taxes the Democrats passed as a temporary measure to ease the state’s budget problems, and reinstate a two-thirds majority for any tax increase (I-1053).
And they’ll have four chances to do things the Legislature has been asked to do several times, but has never had the votes to accomplish: end state-run liquor stores (I-1100 and I-1105); add private insurance to the workers compensation system (I-1082); and pass a state income tax for the upper income levels (1-1098).
There will also be three referenda on the ballot: R-52 to approve bonds for energy efficiency projects at schools and colleges; HJR 4220, to amend the state constitution to expand bail requirements and HJR 8225, to change the constitution’s rules on debt limits for the state.
OLYMPIA — Initiative 1098, which would place an income tax on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year, and couples who make more than $400,000, has enough valid signatures to make the ballot.
This despite having about 350 signatures pulled out because the person who gathered them is suspected of fraud.
The state Elections Office said it checked 11,876 signatures and 10,090 were good. The rest were people who weren’t registered, or the signature on the sheet didn’t match the one on file, or they were duplicates. That’s a validation rate that’s fairly normal for petition drives.
The campaign turned in about 385,000 signatures, and needed less than 242,000 good ones.
So I-1098 becomes the third of six initiatives that to go from almost certain to for sure. I-1100, the first of two proposals to get the state out of the liquor business, qualified first. I-1082, which would add private insurance to the mix for workers compensation coverage in Washington, qualified on Tuesday.
OLYMPIA — Initiative 1100, the first of two proposals to knock the state out of the liquor business, is for sure on the general election ballot.
Not that there was really muhc doubt after they turned in an estimated 396,000 signatures on their petitions.
Elections workers doing a spot check of signatures last week said it had more than enough valid signatures, and Secretary of State Sam Reed gave I-1100 the official greenlight this afternoon. Staff began checking signatures for I-1082, which would allow private insurance companies access to the workers comp system.
I-1100 is the state out of the booze-biz proposal backed by retailers because it allows them to deal directly with distilleries for their supplies. I-1105, which requires retailers to deal with wholesalers or distributors, will have its signatures checked in a week or so.
In all, six initiatives are thought to be in line to join the three referenda already on the ballot.