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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane recruits for committees address oil train, ‘sanctuary city’ ballot measures

An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the Spokane Public Library on Nov. 7, 2016, downtown Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
An election ballot is placed in ballot box outside of the Spokane Public Library on Nov. 7, 2016, downtown Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane residents with strong feelings about police inquiries into citizenship or the fining of oil trains can help shape the city’s voter guide for this year’s election.

The Spokane City Council is accepting applications for committees that will prepare statements in favor of and opposed to two initiatives scheduled to appear on November’s ballot. The two three-member groups are tasked with providing by Sept. 8 statements shorter than 75 words for each of the questions.

Those interested in serving one of the committees should email Adam McDaniel, the top aide for City Council President Ben Stuckart, at email address amcdaniel@spokanecity.org. Anyone can join the committees, though city law requires at least one of the members to be the sponsor of a petition or their representative.

Proposition 1, which would repeal the city’s prohibition on police asking about immigration status, is scheduled for a court hearing Friday after several groups serving immigrant and refugee communities in Spokane sued to keep it off the ballot. The initiative is sponsored by the group Respect Washington, which says the city’s policy makes Spokane a “sanctuary city.” Opponents argue the initiative is racist and will hurt public safety in Spokane by discouraging reports of crime.

Proposition 2 calls for a $261 fine for oil and coal train cars that don’t meet specific safety conditions. Supporters say Spokane needs to address the potential of a fiery derailment downtown. Opponents say the efforts will lead to a costly legal battle with the railroads and commodities it will likely lose.

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