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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Initiative 1501: penalties for fraud targeting seniors

Election Results

Option Votes Pct
Yes 2,004,399 70.88%
No 823,402 29.12%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Measure

This measure would increase penalties when vulnerable individuals or people older than 65 are victims of identity theft or consumer fraud.

Controversy over the initiative centers on its provisions to limit the release of currently public information.

The measure would increase the criminal penalty for identity theft that targets a senior or any person unable to take care of themselves, according to the secretary of state’s voter guide. The crime would become identity theft in the first degree and be punishable as a class B felony. Currently, some of these crimes already are class B felonies, but some are class C felonies. The measure also would increase civil penalties to three times the actual damages for consumer fraud that targets a senior or vulnerable individual.

The measure also would change the Public Records Act to prohibit disclosing “sensitive personal information” of both vulnerable individuals and “in-home caregivers of vulnerable populations.” But the information could still be obtained by unions and government agencies.

Opponents say the proposal weakens public records law and is an attempt by the Service Employees International Union to prevent release of records that would allow in-home caregivers and child care providers from learning they don’t have to pay union dues.

Supporters say identity theft is a significant problem affecting seniors and that those responsible need harsher penalties. They also say the Public Records Act should be amended to prevent the release of information that could be used by thieves.

Complete Coverage

Most Washington voters supporting a minimum wage hike, court review of gun ownership for dangerous individuals

A majority of ballots voted Tuesday were in favor of a measure to stair-step increases to the minimum wage in Washington state, as well as a measure that would allow families to petition to remove guns from those deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Our advice: Yes on I-1491; no on I-1501

Initiative 1491. This measure would give loved ones and law enforcement a speedy way to petition a court to have a gun removed from someone who poses harm to themselves and others. Advocates tried to get the Legislature to adopt “extreme risk protection orders,” but like most gun issues, lawmakers would rather bury them than take a vote. I-594, the background check measure, was easily passed by voters after legislators failed to act.

True aim of Initiative 1501 tangled in political brawl

There is great debate about whether Initiative 1501 on Washington’s Nov. 8 ballot actually protects seniors or is just another spat in the ongoing fight between a caregivers union and a conservative think tank that dislikes unions.

Elway poll: Voters split on November intiatives

Three of six ballot initiatives in the November election would fail if voting were held today, a new poll suggests.

Four initiatives likely headed for ballot in Washington

Initiatives on consumer protection, political reform, minimum wage and gun control likely to be added to the November ballot.

Two more initiatives turn in signatures, likely will make ballot

I-1501 and I-1464 turn in petitions before the Friday afternoon deadline with enough signatures they are likely to make the November ballot.

Minimum wage, gun control and transgender bathroom rules among initiatives that could make ballot

From wages to guns to restroom access, ballot measure topics for voter cover a wide spectrum of issues in Washington this year. To have a chance of making the ballot, signatures on petitions must be turned in by week’s end.