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Egg-laying initiative won’t turn in signatures

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.