We need Sec of State Kim Wyman’s help to stop anti-initiative bill – email her TODAY!!!
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Tomorrow is our last chance to stop the gotta-register-with-the-government-to-collect-signatures-for-initiatives bill. The people’s initiative process is in mortal danger — if this bill becomes law, it will cripple the initiative process in our state forever.
This horrible anti-initiative bill passed the Democrat-controlled Senate last week and is now being considered in the House. There’s a legislative hearing tomorrow at 8 am in the State Government committee and we need to convince Secretary of State Kim Wyman, or one of her office’s representatives, to attend that hearing and speak out against it.
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.
In 2011, the Democrat-controlled legislature was pushing a register-petitioners-bill and the Secretary of State’s office sent Katie Blinn to the hearing to explain to legislators that a much more modest registration bill had already been found unconstitutional. Kitsap Sun, February 9, 2011, http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/bill-to-restrict-signature-gatherers-gets: Blinn said the Secretary of State’s Office office tried to register paid signature gatherers about 10 years ago and was legally challenged. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that registering only paid signature gathers was unconstitutional, she said. SEATTLE TIMES, February 10, 2011, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2014189004_edit11signatures.html: The parts of the bills that would treat paid people differently from unpaid people are unconstitutional under current case law, said Katie Blinn, the state’s co-director of elections.
This year, Kim Wyman and her office have not weighed in on the bill.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for a good Secretary of State to do nothing.”
I need your help to convince her to come out strongly against this bill.
I implore you to send her an email RIGHT NOW.
Cut and paste these email addresses into the To line of your email:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject line: Secretary Wyman, tell legislators at tomorrow’s hearing about the many flaws in anti-initiative bill SB 5397
Send her this or something like this (tell her what you think):
“Secretary of State Kim Wyman, I ask you to testify tomorrow against this year’s worst anti-initiative bill: Senate Bill 5397. Here’s why:
* The Secretary of State’s 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 Ninth 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. Tell legislators that.
* The ACLU testified vigorously against SB 5397, saying it “makes no sense” and highlighted some, but not all, of its more egregious constitutional flaws. Tell legislators that you agree with the ACLU.
* During a secretary of state debate in 2012, you said, “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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rscPJz4Ip0). Just say that again tomorrow.
* 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 circulator. The Ninth 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.” Tell legislators that.
* 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. Tell legislators that.
* 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. Tell legislators that.
* Some of us believe that your silence is due to pressure from big retailers which are a powerful special interest group and donor and supporter of Republicans. 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 ask you to ignore the pressure you’re getting from anti-initiative forces, stick with the promises you made during the 2012 campaign, and stand up for the citizens who value the initiative process and who don’t want it destroyed.
* Many legislators don’t know anything about this stuff — legislators know that this is your area of expertise and so they are looking to you for guidance. Your silence will be seen as acceptance. Remind legislators that this is not legislation requested by your office and that you haven’t spoken out in favor of it. It’s critical that you go the extra mile and highlight the bill’s many flaws to legislators in tomorrow’s legislative hearing.
* 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
(https://tinyurl.com/yc45xpva). There are far better ways to spend taxpayer money than on destroying the people’s right to be heard.
It’s absolutely true: if this bill becomes law, it’s because Secretary of State Kim Wyman stayed silent and refused to speak out against it at tomorrow’s hearing.
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Please send your message RIGHT NOW. Emailing the Secretary of State will really help — BUT IT’S ONLY EFFECTIVE IF WE ALL DO IT.
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.