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I-594 ballot title revised; gun-control group free to collect sigs

by David Ammons | July 15th, 2013

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I-594 sponsor Cheryl Stumbo

Sponsors of an initiative for background checks on gun sales now have a green light to begin collecting signatures for Initiative to the Legislature 594.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham has made some changes to the ballot title, the last step before backers could print petition sheets and begin gathering voter signatures for the 2014 Legislature and/or the 2014 general election ballot.

The Attorney General’s Office, which drafted the original version, said the new version “more closely mirrors what the proponents were requested. Judge Wickham rejected several changes requested by opponents to the measure.”

The sponsors, including Cheryl Stumbo, have until close of business Jan. 3 to submit valid signatures of 246,372 registered Washington voters.  That is 8 percent of the total vote for governor in 2012. The state Elections Division recommends bringing in at least 325,000 to allow for invalid signatures. Text of the measure and contact information are available on the Secretary of State’s initiative website.

If backers qualify, the measure will go to the Legislature, which can adopt it as submitted, let it go to the 2014 fall ballot, or place I-594 and a legislative alternative on the ballot.

Although less used than the Initiative to the People, the Initiative to the Legislature process proved more popular this year. There are no Initiatives to the People on the ballot this fall, but two Initiatives to the Legislature — I-517, Tim Eyman’s “initiative on initiatives,” and I-522, dealing with GMO labeling of foods that are genetically modified.

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