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The four most interesting things I learned in 2014 Spokane County elections

4. Voters at Fairchild Air Force Base support expanded background checks for gun sales – resoundingly.

Initiative 594 won the precinct at Fairchild 72 votes to 38. On the other hand, maybe they don't. Voters there also supported Initiative 591, though not by as much (59 votes to 51)

3. The days of calling the 6th Legislative District a swing district are gone.

When working on an election story recently, I was about to refer to the 6th as a swing district when my colleague, Jim Camden, reminded me that it only really swung for two elections. I might argue that the closeness of some other races besides the 2006 and 2008 cycles when Democrats won seats in the district made it a legitimate swing district longer than that, but his point is accurate; the 6th Legislative District, especially since redistricting, is Republican territory even when Democrats attract a well-known candidate and spend big.

2. Spokane loves its parks and loves its smooth streets even more.

Recent controversies about salaries of Mayor David Condon and other administrators at City Hall made many city leaders worried that voters would turn against the street levy and, especially, the park bond.

But whatever griping you might hear about City Hall, city leaders apparently have earned the trust of voters when it comes to streets and parks. Considering that voters under Mayor John Powers rejected a street tax at a time when streets clearly were in much worse condition, passing the street levy with nearly 78 percent support is a major turnaround. I’m guessing that the voters’ mood reflects that the city kept its promises after voters approved a street tax in 2004 under Mayor Jim West.

Gun initiatives get second hearing

OLYMPIA – A pair of initiatives on gun control had their second and likely last hearing Wednesday with supporters and opponents disagreeing sharply on when giving a gun to another person would require a background check.

Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Law and Justice Committee didn’t have the same “star power” as Tuesday’s House hearing without former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and former astronaut Mark Kelly to speak in favor of Initiative 594. But it did feature more questions by legislators of the two initiatives sponsors and sparked a debate over what it means to “transfer” a firearm. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Giffords: ‘Be bold’, pass gun control measure

OLYMPIA – Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords urged legislators to “be bold, be courageous” and require wider background checks on gun sales. Gun rights advocates urged them to protect constitutional rights and pass a competing initiative.

But even before testimony began in the packed hearing room Tuesday, it was clear the Legislature is likely to do neither.

Initiative 594, which would subject most Washington gun sales to the kind of background checks now required when buying from a dealer, and Initiative 591, which would expand background checks in the state only if there's a new federal standard, aren’t likely to pass the Legislature. They're headed, instead, for the fall ballot, Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, indicated.

“This is the beginning of a dialogue we'll be having at least until November,” Jinkins said. “Let's keep it civil.”

And for the most part, it was… .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog. 

Live coverage: Gun control initiatives hearing

OLYMPIA — Spin Control is providing live coverage of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Initiatives 591 and 594, two measures on gun control expected to be on the November ballot.

 

 

 

Live coverage coming: House gun control initiatives hearing

OLYMPIA — The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the two gun control initiatives likely to go on the ballot later this year.

Among the speakers supporting Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for most gun purchases, will be former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Also on the agenda is Initiative 591, which would require a federal standard for expanding background checks before any changes could take effect in Washington. 

The hearing is expected to draw an overflow crowd, with additional seating in the House gallery, something that's usually reserved for hearings on the very big, very contentious issues. 

We'll be covering it live, via Twitter, with reports being filed here on Spin Control.

Giffords to testify at gun initiative hearing

Gabrielle Giffords waves to reporters earlier this month at an event to mark the third anniversary of her shooting in Arizona.

OLYMPIA — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting rampage that killed six, will testify in favor of a proposed initiative to require broader background checks for gun purchases.

Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are expected to testify in favor of Initiative 594 at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The committee is holding a hearing on both I-594, which would extend the current requirements for background checks on purchases from dealers to most public sales, and I-591, which would only allow broader background checks if the federal standard changes. Both proposals gathered more than 340,000 signatures in campaigns last year. I-594 has already been certified as an initiative to the Legislature and I-591 is in the middle of the having signatures verified but is expected to be certified soon.

Under state law, the Legislature could pass either into law. But it is expected to pass on both, sending the two measures to voters on the November ballot.

Giffords was severely wounded and six people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a congressional gathering in her Tucson, Ariz., congressional district three years ago. She and Kelly formed Americans for Responsible Solutions to help reduce gun violent after the Sand Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. 

The House Judiciary Committee's hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Senate Law and Justice Committee also will hold a hearing on the two measures starting at 1:30 Wednesday. Both are expected to attract a wide range of supporters and opponents of the conflicting initiatives.

Gun control supporters to turn in some petitions Wednesday

Sponsors of an initiative to require background checks for more gun sales will turn in some of the signatures Wednesday that they need to send the measure to the Legislature next year.

Members of the Initiative 594 campaign said Tuesday they plan to turn in about 225,000 signatures. or about 70 percent of their goal, as a way of “demonstrating tremendous support” for the proposal. It would require background checks for most private gun sales or transfers, beyond the current requirement of background checks for sales by dealers.

To be certified as an initiative to the Legislature, a proposal needs a minimum of about 250,000 signatures, although most campaigns try to get a substantial cushion of extra signatures to cover names that aren't registered or are duplicates. Most campaigns wait until they have reached their targets, or the deadline in late December, before submitting signatures.

Also gathering signatures this year is I-591, a separate initiative to the Legislature that would forbid gun confiscation without due process and require a national standard for expanded background checks. 

The Legislature can pass an initiative without changes and make it law, or it can ignore or reject it, which puts it on the ballot next November. It can also pass an alternative, which would put both the original initiative and the alternative on the November ballot.