Evan Smith on Politics: Eyman looking to Senate to pass "Initiative on Initiatives"

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Evan Smith

When Tim Eyman presented sufficient signatures to qualify I-517 as an initiative to the legislature, he assumed that the legislature would do what it usually does with such initiatives: Ignore them and pass them on to a statewide vote in November.

Now, however, a State Senate committee has held hearings on the "Protect the Initiative Process" initiative and sent it on with a "Do pass" recommendation.

The measure would outlaw harassment of signature gatherers, extend the time for gathering signatures on initiatives, and prevent city and county governments from keeping initiatives and referenda off the ballot if they have gained enough signatures.

 The initiative passed the Senate committee on government operations and elections by a 4-3 party-line vote, but bills that included components of the initiative passed with bi-partisan 7-0 votes.

This gives Eyman hope that enough Democrats will join Republicans to pass the initiative in the Senate, which is controled by a coalition of Republicans and two conservative Democrats.

Eyman expressed hope Sunday that Senate passage with Democratic support would bring along enough members of the solidly Democratic State House of Representatives to pass the initiative in both chambers of the Legislature.

By Monday, he was looking toward a November vote after a State court of appeals ruled that the Monroe City Council could act to keep a qualified local citizen initiative off the ballot. Eyman said that voters could stop this by approving I-517 in November.


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