I-517: What is a public building for purposes of signature gathering?

August 23, 2013 in Blog

Among the provisions of Initiative 517 is the requirement to allow signature gathering “inside or outside public buildings such as public sports stadiums, convention/exhibition centers, and public fairs.” Public buildings, however, is not defined by the measure. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Department of Enterprise Services, and the Attorney General’s Office there is currently no standard rule for signature gathering on public property though most public entities provide some opportunity for signature gathering with certain restrictions.

Farmer for a Day

August 15, 2013 in Blog

What do you get when you add more than a dozen lawmakers, beautiful weather, an irrigated desert, policy wonks and the efforts of the Franklin County Farm Bureau, Washington State Potato Commission and Washington State Farm Bureau?

A successful "Farmer for a Day" program in Pasco.

Evolution of tax increase proposals for 2013-15 budget

July 30, 2013 in Blog

Despite projected revenue growth of $2 billion for the 2013-15 biennium, proposals for significant tax increases dominated the budget debate and contributed to the Legislature going into two special sessions to finish its work on the budget. The final tax increase package included in the 2013-15 budget was a fraction of what state Democrats initially proposed. Below is a breakdown of how the tax increase proposals evolved.

Does I-517 interfere with private property rights?

July 22, 2013 in Blog

One of the most contentious debates about I-517 (Concerning initiative and referendum measures) is whether its provisions would run roughshod over businesses' private property rights.

There is at least one prominent attorney that believes it does. Former Attorney General Rob McKenna is concerned I-517 doesn't comply with constitutional property right protections for businesses:

Did liquor privatization increase DUIs and alcohol related arrests?

July 16, 2013 in Blog

No. Based on the latest numbers, the alcohol infused Armageddon that we were warned about if voters approved I-1183 ending the state's nearly 80 year old-liquor monopoly was more of a scare tactic than based on the actual experience of the 33 states across the country with private liquor sales.

Here is data provided by the Washington State Patrol:

Public records fail

July 10, 2013 in Blog

Life is full of teachable moments. Consider the following exchange between the Mayor of Coulee Dam and the Washington Coalition for Open Government (WPC serves on the WCOG board) as an example of how a government official should NOT respond to a public records request.

2013 statewide ballot will include non-binding tax increase advisory votes

July 8, 2013 in Blog

As reported by the Spokesman Review, statewide initiative efforts went 0-84 this year with none qualifying for the ballot. This means the 2013 statewide ballot will only include two initiatives to the Legislature that lawmakers didn't act on (I-517 and I-522) and a handful of non-binding tax increase advisory votes. 

Legislature requires Tax Performance Statement for new tax preferences

July 2, 2013 in Blog

Sometimes in the darkest moments of the legislative process a flickering light can begin to grow bright.

Governor vetoes several budget provisos

July 1, 2013 in Blog

Perhaps being one of only a handful of people provided the time to actually read the 2013-15 budget before making a decision, Governor Inslee did not sign the state budget without first making several changes via vetoes.

2013-15 Budget: From 'light years apart' to light speed legislative action

June 28, 2013 in Blog

By the time you read this the Legislature will have likely already approved the 482 page 2013-15 operating budget first publicly released around 12:56 a.m. this morning. Don't feel bad if you haven't had a chance to read it; you're in good company. It's doubtful many lawmakers have either.

Budget announcement in tweets

June 27, 2013 in Blog

As you can see from the below tweets of reporters, the just concluded press conference with Governor Inslee and budget writers announcing the details of the 2013-15 budget agreement leaves lots to the imagination of what exactly lawmakers are being asked to vote on and have on the Governor's desk by 5 p.m. tomorrow (of course they'll read it first):

I-517: Are new harassment protections needed for signature gatherers?

June 27, 2013 in Blog

One of the major focuses of Initiative 517 is to provide harassment protection for signature gatherers. The Yes on I-517 campaign has posted a 1995 letter by then Secretary of State Ralph Munro that says (in-part):

You know what's in the pending 2013-15 budget, right?

June 25, 2013 in Blog

With a 2013-15 budget deal "imminent" one of the remaining questions left to be answered is whether lawmakers and the public will be provided adequate time to review the details before a vote on final passage occurs. We believe at a minimum the time provided for budget transparency should be at least 24 hrs.