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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

R-71 proponents drop lawsuit over ballot language, say petitions ready tomorrow…

Washington Values Alliance President Larry Stickney has dropped his challenge to the ballot language for Stickney's Referendum 71, and organizers say that petitions could hit the streets as early as tomorrow.

The measure asks voters to veto legislation that gives domestic partners many of the same rights and responsibilities as spouses, but not the right to actually marry.

The language, as is normal, was written by the attorney general's office. Stickney last week filed a challenge, wanting to tweak some of the language. But proponents already face a very tight timeline -- July 25th -- to gather the 120,577 voter signatures required to get the measure on the ballot.

"After a meeting in Olympia yesterday, we decided to withdraw our filing in favor of having a few more days to collect signatures," R-71 proponent Gary Randall said in an e-mail to supporters over the weekend. "We became aware of several things that were in motion to further delay our signature-gathering."

Randall says that petitions should be available Tuesday. They'll apparently be several pages long. That's because Senate Bill 5688 was 112 pages long, and the initiative process requires that an entire bill be printed on the petitions that voters are asked to sign. (Virtually no one reads this text, but it has to be there.)

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.