INITIATIVES ON NOVEMBER BALLOT
On January 23, 2018, the office of the Secretary of State certified that enough valid signatures had been submitted. The initiative was sent to the legislature, which approved the initiative and in a non-standard move, passed a bill (HB 3003) to immediately amend the initiative, precluding an election on it. The bill resulted from discussion with and input from certain law enforcement agencies and De-Escalate Washington. On April 20, 2018, the Thurston County Superior Court ruled that the legislature acted in violation of the Washington Constitution by approving the proposed amendment and passing House Bill 3003 to immediately amend it, and ruled that Initiative 940 must be placed on the ballot. That decision was appealed by attorneys for the legislature.
Since Initiative 940 is not the compromise initiative that was agreed upon by all parties, I will vote NO on I-940 and wait for House Bill 3003 to be passed in the legislature in the next session.
INITIATIVE 1631 CARBON TAX
This initiative is 38 pages long. Almost no voters will read it and it is designed that way intentionally. It is supposed to reduce pollution but it exempts 8 of the top polluters in the state. It creates a new, large and unaccountable branch of government with one board and three panels, and their associated staffs, which could be several hundred new state jobs paid for by tax-payers. Paying for this is will raise your fuel taxes and home heating bill by hundreds of dollars in the first few years and eventually over one thousand dollars. Since it raises fuel prices on businesses, it will raise the price of nearly everything you buy. Since there are no definable goals, the prices of gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas can continue to be raised without limits. If you happen to read all 38 pages, you will find a real surprise on page 38. If, after passed, this Initiative is found to be unconstitutional then the Department of Ecology is directed to enforce WAC 173-442 and WAC 173-441. This is Gov. Inslee’s cap-and-trade system that was ruled illegal by a judge. Rather than take this cap-and-trade rule directly to the voters or the legislature, as the judge required, it is simply slipped into the initiative on the last page.
It is great to be for preserving our environment and addressing climate change, but that’s not what this is about. This initiative is not only dishonest, but it creates huge new taxes for tax-payers and businesses, while creating a huge new expansion of government, which is unaccountable and exempts many of the worst polluters. I will vote NO on this unbelievably bad initiative.
INITIATIVE 1634 KEEPING GROCERIES AFFORDABLE
This initiative is three pages long and you should read it. It is very simple. “No local governmental entity may impose any new tax, fee, or other assessment that targets grocery items.” “Groceries means- any raw or processed food or beverage, or any ingredient thereof, intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, marijuana products, and tobacco.” This is easy to understand. I am voting YES because I don’t want cities and counties to be able to tax our groceries – picking and choosing what they want to tax.
INITIATIVE 1639 GUN OWNERSHIP AND PURCHASE
Again, this initiative is one that almost no voter will read since it is 30 pages long. Trying to address school shootings is an important issue but it requires thoughtful and well-crafted legislation. This initiative fails on both accounts. It requires a ten day waiting period and completion of gun safety training course. What happens if you are threatened and you need a weapon to protect yourself? After a proper background check, you should be able to get one immediately. Requiring that you complete a training course is a good idea but you should be given a time period of maybe 30-90 days to do so. You should not have to wait 10 days. There must be provisions for people who have legitimate safety concerns.
The existing state endangerment law has been used to hold people accountable for unsafe storage of firearms that result in being accessed by children and others who should not have them, and then is used to cause injury.
There are several other aspects of this initiative that make it unacceptable. This is a perfect example of what the legislature should be doing. When one group writes an initiative it often is deeply flawed because they do not consider all the unintended consequences of the wording. Initiative writers also tend to throw in the “kitchen sink” to try to do as many things as possible. Initiatives need to be simple so that voters can read and understand them. Reserve more complex issues for the Legislature. There are some valid points in this initiative but it is too flawed and I will vote NO.