Sec of State Kim Wyman’s heroic & courageous opposition to anti-initiative bill

by | Feb 21, 2018

In the Legislature, 99 times out of 100, powerful special interest groups call the shots, politicians bow to their will, and the voices of grassroots citizens are completely ignored.

That’s what makes what Sec of State Kim Wyman did today so unique. Don’t you find this statement inspiring?

“For the past few days, I have been overwhelmed with emails and phone calls from grassroots folks all across Washington encouraging me to defend the initiative process from legislative attack by speaking out against Senate Bill 5397. But I didn’t need hundreds upon hundreds of people to tell me to do the right thing — I know that that is my responsibility and duty as Secretary of State. Of course I oppose this bill because it puts the citizen initiative process in mortal danger.”

“It’s absolutely true that powerful special interest groups, mainly big retailers who are big supporters and donors to almost all the politicians in Olympia, are pressuring me and legislators in the House & Senate to do their bidding. But I refuse to succumb to their pressure — I was elected by the people of the state of Washington to represent them and I’m not going to let them down. The hundreds of emails and phone calls from regular citizens to oppose this bill have only reinforced my opposition and steeled my resolve.”

“For months, I’ve been telling the lobbyists who have repeatedly visited my office that I meant what I said in 2012 when I was running for Secretary of State: “Our founders wanted direct democracy. And what I love about our initiative process is it works today as well as it did then. And remember, many initiatives are filed, few turn in signatures, even fewer are passed into law. The system is still working and we need to be very careful to add any layers to that that could chill or quelch those efforts.” (forward to 00:57:58:

“I’m against SB 5397 because it does exactly what I said I was against: it adds burdensome layers on the process that will clearly chill or quelch initiative efforts.”

“In 2011, this office sent Katie Blinn to a 2011 legislative hearing to inform legislators that it’s already been found unconstitutional. In 1997, the Washington legislature passed a law that required petitioners to register their name and address. The 9th Circuit in 2000 found that requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment. SB 5397 is worse. Not only does it require petitioners’ names and addresses, but also their phone numbers, email addresses, photo headshots, criminal background checks, registration, licensing, training, etc. If the court rejected requiring name and address, they’ll certainly have an even bigger problem with this bill because it’s even more burdensome. My office sent someone to speak out against registering petitioners in 2011, so I’m obviously going to stay consistent and speak out against registering petitioners in 2018.”

“The ACLU testified vigorously against SB 5397, saying it ‘makes no sense’ and highlighted some, but not all, of its more egregious constitutional flaws. I agree with the ACLU.”

“For the past 20 years in Washington state, there’s been 63 ballot measures that have turned in 19.9 million signatures to the Secretary of State’s office — in all that time, only a handful of bad sigs were ever turned in and in those few instances, several didn’t even involve a professional petitioner. The 9th Circuit, in their 2000 ruling, said: ‘The court has expressly rejected the notion that occasional fraud involving paid circulators for initiatives justifies targeting paid petitioners for special enforcement.’ That’s exactly what SB 5397 does so of course I oppose the bill.”

“In Oregon, registration of petitioners QUADRUPLED the cost to qualify initiatives for the ballot. Such onerous requirements radically decreased the pool of people willing to do petitioning, and the few who did do it demanded higher pay. Initiatives in Washington are spending around $1.5 million to qualify now — having it cost $5 million or $6 million under SB 5397 will cripple the process. That’s another reason I oppose the bill.”

“The courts have repeatedly ruled that petitioning is ‘core political speech’ and any infringement on it must withstand ‘exacting scrutiny,’ which is the highest level of scrutiny. The government must identify a compelling governmental interest (there has to be a documented, recurring problem). And even if they can overcome that massive hurdle, the government’s intrusion on petitioning must be ‘narrowly tailored’ (least restrictive) to address that problem. No way has the government established a compelling governmental interest for SB 5397 and there’s absolutely no way is this bill narrowly tailored. It’s like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.”

“For decades, big retailers have been upset with court rulings that allow petitioning in front of stores when such stores allow Girl Scouts and Salvation Army bell-ringers, etc. So since they can’t get the courts to kill petitioning, their back-door scheme is SB 5397 which guarantees no more petitioners by regulating them out of existence.”

“I encourage all legislators to do what I’ve done, be inspired by my leadership, ignore the pressure being brought to bear by the special interests, and do the right thing by rejecting SB 5397.”

“I remind legislators that this is not legislation requested by my office and that I haven’t spoken out in favor of it. I believe that it is critical that I go the extra mile and highlight the bill’s many flaws and to register my opposition to it.”

“The bill’s fiscal note says that the taxpayers will be forced to pay $310,056 for the extensive bureaucracy necessary to impose this burdensome regime on the initiative process
( There are far better ways to spend taxpayer money than on destroying the people’s right to be heard.”

— END —

Isn’t that inspiring? Heroic? Courageous? I sure think it is.

As we fight so hard to defeat this horrible anti-initiative bill, that kind of statement would’ve really helped.

Too bad Kim Wyman didn’t send out that statement. Instead she skipped yesterday’s hearing and just sent out an email this morning saying she’s neutral on the bill.

Hundreds of you asked, urged, and pleaded with her to assist us in defeating this horrible gotta-register-with-the-government-to-collect-signatures-for-initiatives bill.

You were ignored.

For decades, there have been legislative attacks on the initiative process and consistently the Secretary of State’s office has fought back against those attacks.

Not this time.

To defeat this bill, we’re going to have to do it all on our own.

Cut and paste these email addresses into the To line of your email:;;

Subject line: Here’s how I feel

Tell her what you think.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
After 20 years of fighting for taxpayers, we’ve learned that the most effective way to fight the Democrats’ tax-hiking schemes is by taking our case directly to the people. That’s why we’re moving full steam ahead with We Don’t Want An Income Tax. It prohibits the state and local governments from imposing any kind of income tax, especially a capital gains income tax.

Jack, Mike, and I are committed to protecting taxpayers. But we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.