Posts tagged: signature gathering
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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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. ..
Left in the legislative ash heap last week was a bill to revise rules for initiative campaigns by charging as much as $500 to file a ballot measure and putting stricter rules on people paid to gather signatures.
Like previous attempts to change ballot measure rules, SB 5297 brought out Tim Eyman and other initiative entrepreneurs who understandably don’t want the Legislature messing with a system they’ve figured out. Certain progressive “good-government” groups, eager to clean up abuses they see, provided the opposing view and generated heartfelt if conflicting testimony at the hearings.
Eyman is always quotable, in an “Armageddon is the next stop if we get on this railroad” sort of way. The good government groups warned of dastardly deeds by signature collectors, and usually mentioned a case from Spokane involving the mother-daughter team of Theresa and Mercedes Dedeaux.
The Spokesman-Review detailed the case early last year, when it became a cause célèbre for another bill with another set of restrictions on paid signature gatherers which also ultimately died. This seems a good time for an update…
OLYMPIA – Some animals fared well this week as the Legislature rushed to pass bills before a critical deadline. Folks hoping to sip local liquor at the farmers market, buy pot at a state liquor store or require proof of citizenship before the state gives out a driver’s license, didn’t do as well.
As is the case in most legislative sessions, many bills are all but dead after failing to pass at least one chamber before Monday’s cut off. There are a few parliamentary maneuvers that can shock a bill back to life, but they are far less frequent than a patient recovering when someone grabs defibrillator paddles and yells “Clear” in a TV doctor drama.
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OLYMPIA — Proposed changes to the state's initiative laws were blasted as unconstitutional, arrogant and un-American by a Republican senator who tried to block them Thursday.
No, they're an attempt to bring modernize the system and protect it, said the Democrat who sponsored the changes.
In a series of 4-3 votes, the Senate Government Operations Committee rejected most attempts by Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, to change the proposal and sent it to the next step of the legislative process. Senate Bill 5297 would raise the fee for filing an initiative from the current $5 to $500, require businesses that pay people to gather signatures to register with the state and require paid signature gatherers to present photo identification whenever asked.
“Last time I checked, we live in America,” said Benton in explaining an amendment to strip out provisions for paid-signature collectors to have identification. “We don't have to carry papers. You shouldn't have to provide a photo ID to anybody other than law enforcement.”
OLYMPIA — Hearings today run the gamut from rules covering collecting signatures on initiatives to abolishing the death penalty to eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual assault.
A morning hearing at the State Government Committee generated familiar testimony for and against a plan to requires signature gathering businesses to register with the state, paid signature gatherers to sign the back of their petitions and provide other information. The bill also would raise the filing fee from $5 to $50.
An afternoon hearing in Senate Judiciary would abolish the death penalty in Washington, substituting life in prison without parole for cases that currently carry capital punishment.
Also in the afternoon, the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee has a bill that would allow prosecution for first or second-degree rape of a minor. Rape of an adult could be prosecuted within 10 years if the crime is reported to police within a year of the attack, but would have to be prosecuted within the current three-year limit if the attack is not reported within a year of the attack.
No word yet on when the Legislature will revisit proposals to block tax increases for unemployment insurance or the supplemental budget.
It's Immigrants Day and Employment Day for All at the Capitol.