Here are the Initiatives Coming to Your Ballot this November

This November we’ll see four initiatives on our ballot. And one of those “Advisory Votes” required by law, but which do not carry the force of law. The requirement to hold advisory votes came about through an initiative (I-960) approved by voters in November, 2007.

The online voter’s guide contains a good deal of useful information about each of the initiatives. There you will find a link to the full text of the initiative, an explanatory statement, fiscal impacts, and official arguments for and against each initiative.

Initiative Measure No. 940 “concerns law enforcement.”

According to the explanatory statement, “This measure addresses three aspects of law enforcement. First, it addresses when law enforcement officers may use deadly force. Second, it requires de-escalation and mental health training for officers. Third, it requires officers to provide first aid in certain circumstances.”

It’s important that voters realize the importance of this this initiative removes de facto immunity enjoyed by law enforcement in Washington, when deadly force is used. That immunity from prosecution is replaced with a so-called “good faith” standard. It also requires independent investigations of police who use deadly force.

The website at https://www.deescalatewa.org/ provides information in favor of the initiative.

I have been unable to locate a comprehensive website representing arguments opposing the initiative. However, voters should know the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police agreed to restrictions on the use of deadly force, and some of the ideas contained within I-940. But the FOP ultimately announced it opposes I-940. The history for this is confusing. It has to do with steps taken by the Legislature.

The State Legislature passed a bill, HB 303, which was signed in to law this last Spring. You can read that law here and the FOP has said it supports HB 303. The Legislature had expected the passage of HB 303 would ensure I-940 would never make it to voters. A court challenge, however, put the initiative on the ballot, even after a compromise law was passed. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled the passage of HB 303 didn’t follow the law. In its ruling, the Court said lawmakers only have three options when an initiative is qualified for the ballot: approve a competing ballot initiative; reject the voter’s initiative; or amend it, in which case voters have to make the final decision between the original initiative and the amended version. In passing HB 303, the Legislature didn’t choose any of these options. So the Court voided HB 303 and cleared the way for I-940 to appear on the ballot.

Leslie Cushman, co-chair of De-Escalate Washington, was reported to have written, “We appreciate and honor the work we did with law enforcement and will work with law enforcement to make sure the policies in 3003 become law. And to do that, we need the solid policies of 940 in place.”

Initiative Measure No. 1631 “concerns pollution.”

“This measure would impose a pollution fee on large emitters of greenhouse gases. Money raised by the fee would be used for certain environmental programs and projects. The measure would create a public oversight board to implement the measure and approve funding for programs and projects. It also sets forth procedures for proposing and approving the programs and projects that could be funded by money generated from the new fee.”

There is a “Yes on 1631” website, at https://yeson1631.org/

There is a “No on 1631” website, at https://votenoon1631.com/

Here is a link to the initiative’s information at Ballotpedia. This includes information about who is funding the campaigns for and against the initiative.

Initiative Measure No. 1634 “concerns taxation of certain items intended for human consumption.”

“This measure would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees, or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages (with exceptions), or ingredients thereof, unless effective by January 15, 2018, or generally applicable.”

It’s important for voters to know the committee registered to support this initiative, according to Ballotpedia, “reported a total of $4,760,000.00 in contributions—all cash donations. Top donors to the committee include the Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Red Bull North America, and the Washington Grocery Association.”

The committee’s “Yes on 1634” website is at http://yestoaffordablegroceries.com/

To my knowledge, no comprehensive single website exists to oppose I-1634.

The online voter’s guide contains arguments for and against the initiative.

Initiative Measure No. 1639 “concerns firearms.”

“This measure would change state laws regarding firearms. Some of these changes would relate only to semiautomatic assault rifles, as defined. Other changes would apply to other types of firearms as well.”

According to the explanatory statement in the online voter’s guide, this initiative:

  • Includes a definition of the term, “semiautomatic assault rifle”
  • Adds new requirements for the purchase of these weapons
  • Makes it illegal for a person under 21 years of age to buy a pistol or semiautomatic assault rifle
  • Imposes a 10-day waiting period on the purchase of a semiautomatic assault rifle
  • Allows the state to impose a fee of up to $25 on each purchaser of a semiautomatic assault rifle
  • Creates new criminal offenses for the unsafe storage of a firearm if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm gets it and uses it in to commit certain violent crimes
  • Require firearm dealers to offer a secure gun storage device or trigger lock
  • “Would require the development of a . . . process to verify that people who have acquired pistols or semiautomatic assault rifles remain eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law.”

There are several websites opposing the initiative. Among those I found are:

https://saveoursecurity.net/
https://www.i1639.org/
https://www.initiative1639.org/

And here’s the website in favor of the initiative: https://yeson1639.org/

Advisory Vote No. 19 Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6269

This is not an initiative. It is a so-called “advisory vote” and cannot result in the passage of a law. Instead, an advisory vote asks for voters to weigh in on an expenditure already voted into law by the state Legislature.

The legislature expanded, without a vote of the people, the oil spill response and administration taxes to crude oil or petroleum products received by pipeline, costing $13,000,000 over ten years for government spending. The full text of the bill, SB 6269, is here.

What Are Your Voter Resources?

Many voters find it challenging to form an informed opinion regarding some ballot initiatives. What are some of the resources you have found, to help? Click here, scroll to the bottom, and add your own comment.

This is part of what may develop into a series of articles regarding the upcoming election. Click here to see all of them.

You cannot vote, if you’re not registered. Until October 8th, you can register online on the Washington Secretary of State’s website. After that date, until October 29th, you can register, but only in-person

Posted in 2018 Midterm, Elections.

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