Msg to legislators: just because voters approve an initiative you don’t like doesn’t mean…

by | Jan 29, 2015

Legislators say it to themselves all the time:  “This initiative (that I opposed) never would have passed if the voters had been properly educated.”  

         The voters-are-stupid-when-they-don’t-vote-the-way-I-do belief has really infected the thinking of a huge number of Republican and Democrat legislators this year.

         Republicans are upset over the voters approval of I-1351, the Washington Education Association’s initiative.  Democrats continue to soil themselves over the passage of our $30 car tabs and 1% property tax cap initiatives (never acknowledging that the Legislature itself implemented both of them).  

        There’s a new bill this year House Bill 1228 — co-sponsored by R’s and D’s — that requires the state budget office (OFM) to do a fiscal analysis of any initiative that qualifies for the ballot and requires their fiscal report to be printed in the voters pamphlet.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Who can be against that? 

         The problem? 

          It’s already the law.  It’s been the law for 12 years.  In 2002, after the voters passed several initiatives legislators didn’t like, the Legislature pushed and passed Senate Bill 6571:

         Which was codified as RCW 29A.72.025:

         Many of this year’s anti-initiative bills presume and assume that voters aren’t being provided with fiscal analyses done by OFM.  They are.  They’re in the voters pamphlet.  They have been for 12 years.  

         It is silly for legislators to be co-sponsoring bills that mirror current law (HB 1228).  

        It is dangerous for legislators to push anti-initiative bills that require citizens to get the government’s permission for an initiative to be filed (SJR 8201, HJR 4204).

        It is arrogant and condescending for legislators to blow up the initiative process because they’re angry with voters for approving some initiatives that they opposed.  Get over it.  Grow up.  

       Over the past 16 years, the Legislature has passed 6112 laws.  During that time, voters approved just 27 citizen-initiative laws (14 liberal, 13 conservative). 

       That means for the past 16 years, the Legislature has created 99.56% of all laws, voters just .44%. 

       Citizens are forced to accept thousands of the Legislature’s laws; it’s not too much to ask that elected representatives stop throwing childish temper tantrums over the handful passed by the people.  Below are the email addresses for all 49 senators and all 98 House members (both Republicans and Democrats).  

        Send them an email today (preferably RIGHT NOW).  

       Write something like this (feel free to add more, tell ’em how you feel): 

       “Stop attacking the initiative process.  You’ve got a 99.56% monopoly, stop trying for 100%.   Stop it.  Just stop it.  These anti-initiative bills are bad, convince your colleagues to oppose them:
HB 1228:  totally redundant.
SJR 8201, HJR 4204:  forces citizens to get government’s permission before being allowed to file an initiative.
HB 1463, SB 5375:  requires people to get government permission before collecting signatures. 
Hands off the people’s initiative.  It’s ours, not yours.  Leave it alone.”

       You’ll likely have to do 2 emails, one for the senators and one for the house members.  Cut and paste these email addresses into the “To” line of your email (if you have trouble, send me your email and I’ll forward it to legislators).  

       Here are the 49 senators:;;mark.mullet@leg.wa.govsharon.nelson@leg.wa.govsteve.oban@leg.wa.govmike.padden@leg.wa.go;

       Here are the 98 House members:

        Your emails and phone calls are incredibly effective.  Send your email today.  

        And as we wrote above:  Please forward this email to everyone you can.  Share it on social media.  We gotta get the word out on this.

         We not only need your help this year fighting against tax hikes — it turns out we need your help to save the initiative process itself from legislative extinction.