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`3-way’ workers comp initiative scores fall ballot spot

by David Ammons | July 13th, 2010

Initiative 1082, a plan to allow private insurers to offer coverage for workplace injuries, is headed for the statewide ballot in Washington this fall.

The state Elections Division completed a 3 percent random check late Tuesday,  finding plenty of valid signatures to assure a spot on the ballot. The campaign had turned in 345,541 signatures, and 10,571 were reviewed, with 9,017 accepted. The others were turned down because no registration could be found for the signer, the signature didn’t match the one on file or there was no usable image on file for the signer, or because they were duplicates.  The error rate was a little above average, 18.9 percent.

Secretary of State Sam Reed will make it official by certifying the measure. The so-called “three-way” proposal, long debated in the Legislature, would allow coverage through the state, private insurers, and self-insurance by large employers. The plan is backed by the politically powerful Building Industry Association of Washington, and opposition also has formed.

This marks the second initiative to make the ballot, and four others are widely expected to qualify, as well, along with three measures previously placed before the voters by the Legislature.  On Monday, Secretary Reed certified I-1100, which would end the state liquor monopoly and allow current retailers to sell hard liquor along with their beer and wine.

I-1098: Supported by Bill Gates Sr., it would create a state income tax on high-wage earners and would reduce the state share of the property tax and lower the B&O tax on many businesses. (351,000)

I-1053: The Tim Eyman-sponsored measure would re-establish the two-thirds vote requirement for the state Legislature to raises taxes.  It turned in about 330,000 signatures.

I-1105: The other liquor initiative, supported by wholesalers, would take the state out of the liquor retail business. Whereas I-1100 would let retailers buy liquor stock directly from manufacturers, I-1105 would require use of wholesalers.  (359,000)

I-1107: It would repeal new taxes on certain candy, pop, beer and bottled water. Backed by the American Beverage Association, it brought in 395,000 signatures in only three weeks.

The Legislature has sent three other measures to the statewide ballot this fall:

* Referendum  52 would authorize bonds to finance construction and repair projects increasing energy efficiency in public schools and higher education buildings, and continue the sales tax on bottled water otherwise expiring in 2013.

* House Joint Resolution 4220, known as the “Lakewood Police Officers Memorial Act,” would amend the state constitution on bail requirements for judges.

* Senate Joint Resolution 8225 would amend the state constitution relating to debt limits for the state.

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