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Tag: ballot measures

WA voters will face two first-ever tax advisory measures ?>

WA voters will face two first-ever tax advisory measures

Washington voters will get a first-ever chance to give their non-binding opinion on a pair of revenue bills passed by the Legislature this year and signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire in May.

According to Solicitor General Maureen Hart, voter-approved Initiative 960 triggers advisory votes on provisions of House Bill 2590, extending the petroleum tax that pays for the pollution liability insurance trust account, and Senate Bill 6635, an omnibus bill dealing with tax preferences, including a provision removing a special tax treatment for certain large banks. During debate, the banking provision was described as an $18 million boost to the state treasury. Both bills were deemed tax increases.

The non-binding tax advisory votes are the first to be conducted under terms of Tim Eyman’s I-960. That measure, adopted in a 2007 statewide vote by a 51-49 tally, is best known for requiring a two-thirds vote to approve taxes in Olympia. A lesser known provision requires the public advisory vote on such actions.  After seeing the results of the advisory vote this November, the Legislature can revisit the issue, or let their original votes stand.

Both 2012 measures passed handily. In the case of HB2590, the vote was almost unanimous – 40-0 in the Senate and 93-1 in the House.  For SB6635, the vote was lopsided, more than a (more…)

WA 2011 election turnout: almost 53 percent ?>

WA 2011 election turnout: almost 53 percent

Counties have certified election returns for the 2011 General Election, with results from 1.94 million ballots. Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire will certify the election next Monday.

The state enjoyed a better-than-expected “turnout” of 52.95 percent, or 6 percentage points higher than forecast for the off-year election with no statewide contests such as governor, U.S. senator or president on the ballot.  Secretary Reed said Wednesday he was pleased with the turnout:

 

“This was our first statewide election conducted completely by mail, and there was a flurry of interest in our statewide ballot measures, including Tim Eyman’s initiative dealing with tolls and light rail and the Costco-sponsored liquor privatization proposal.  There was record spending on the liquor measure, including saturation advertising, and lots of people were talking about it.”

Eyman’s I-1125 was defeated 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent, with a margin of defeat of about 120,000, primarily in King County.  The liquor measure, I-1183, passed handily, 58.7 percent to 41.3 percent, carrying most counties.  A third initiative, I-1163, sponsored by Service Employees International Union, to require training of homecare workers, was even more popular, passing 65-35 and carrying all 39 counties.

San Juan County had the highest turnout, almost 70 percent (69.55 percent). Other counties also broke 60 percent, including Columbia, Garfield, Island, Jefferson, Lincoln, Pacific, and Pend Oreille. Others were close.  King had 52.11 percent, Spokane 56.5 and Snohomish 52.1.

We’ve got your ballot measure info online ?>

We’ve got your ballot measure info online

If you’re looking for a one-stop place to read up on the six statewide initiatives and the three other ballot measures that will be on this November’s ballot, you’re in luck.

Our State Elections Division has posted a State Measures link on its website. When you click on it and go to one of the ballot measures, you’ll find such features as its ballot title, fiscal impact statement, explanatory statement, and statements for and against it.

The six initiatives that Washington voters will decide this fall are:
• I-1053 would restate existing statutory requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.
• I-1082 would authorize employers to purchase private industrial insurance beginning July 1, 2012; direct the Legislature to enact conforming legislation by March 1, 2012; and eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums. (more…)

Here’s your quick guide to WA ballot measures ?>

Here’s your quick guide to WA ballot measures

Here’s a quick once-over from our state Elections Division (recap only, not the fancy wording from the Attorney General wordsmiths):

Office of the Secretary of State 2010 Ballot Measures Overview

Initiatives on the Ballot

Initiative Measure 1098 – State Income Tax on High Income Earners

This measure would tax “adjusted gross income” above $200,000 (individuals) and $400,000 (joint-filers), reduce state property tax levies, reduce certain business and occupation taxes, and direct any increased revenues to education and health.

Initiative Measure 1100Regulating Liquor—Retailers Proposal

This measure would close state liquor stores; authorize sale, distribution, and importation of spirits by private parties; and repeal certain requirements that govern the business operations of beer and wine distributors and producers.

Initiative Measure 1105Regulating Liquor—Wholesalers Proposal

This measure would close all state liquor stores and license private parties to sell or distribute spirits. It would revise laws concerning regulation, taxation and government revenues from distribution and sale of spirits.

Initiative Measure 1053Requiring a Two-Thirds Vote for Legislature to Raise Taxes

This measure would restate existing statutory requirements that legislative actions raising taxes must be approved by two-thirds legislative majorities or receive voter approval, and that new or increased fees require majority legislative approval.

Initiative Measure 1107Repealing Tax on Candy, Bottled Water and Soda Pop

This measure would end sales tax on candy; end temporary sales tax on some bottled water; end temporary excise taxes on carbonated beverages; and reduce tax rates for certain food processors.

Initiative Measure 1082Creating Three Way Industrial Insurance System

This measure would authorize employers to purchase private industrial insurance beginning July 1, 2012; direct the Legislature to enact conforming legislation by March 1, 2012; and eliminate the worker-paid share of medical-benefit premiums.

Ballot Measures referred by the Legislature (more…)

Booze on ballot: Make it a double ?>

Booze on ballot: Make it a double

Two liquor privatization measures will appear on the Washington state ballot this year.

The state Elections Division announced Friday afternoon that sponsors for Initiative 1105 submitted enough voter signatures to make the November ballot. Secretary of State Sam Reed is expected to officially certify I-1105 early next week.

Whereas the other liquor privatization proposal, Initiative1100, would let retailers buy liquor stock directly from manufacturers, I-1105 would require use of wholesalers.

I-1105, backed by wholesalers, submitted 358,525 signatures, a large enough cushion to allow a 3 percent random sample check. More than 81 percent of the 10,935 sample signatures were valid – 9,193 were accepted, and 1,742 were rejected. Nearly all of the rejections were because the signers were not registered voters. The error rate was 18.55 percent.

The last of the six initiatives to be checked will be I-1107. That review starts Monday. This measure would repeal new taxes on candy, pop, beer and bottled water. (more…)

Voting, again? Ballots coming your way ?>

Voting, again? Ballots coming your way

It seems like we just counted the last of the November ballots and put the election equipment away, but any day now, most Washington voters will be getting ballots in the mail for the February 9 election.

ballots

The state Elections Division has tallied it up: 254 measures are on the ballot in 37 counties, mostly special property tax levies for support of local schools.  Most of the state’s 3.5 million registered voters will take part, although Ferry and Pend Oreille counties don’t have a February election this year and portions of other counties won’t have elections. Check at MyVote  and with your County Auditor to find out what you’re voting on. (more…)

Thurston judge OKs pause in Eyman lawsuit ?>

Thurston judge OKs pause in Eyman lawsuit

scalesThurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks has granted the state’s request to pause  further proceedings in initiative activist Tim Eyman’s court challenge of the Secretary of State’s policy of releasing initiative petitions under terms of the Public Records Act.

Hicks agreed with a motion brought by a senior official of the Attorney General’s Office, Deputy Solicitor General James Pharris, to put a hold on the Thurston County lawsuit while the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to review a federal lawsuit that raises a similar constitutional challenge to the disclosure policy.

The high court has been asked by foes of Referendum 71 to hear a challenge of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that recently upheld Washington’s practice of releasing petition sheets to comply with the state’s voter-approved Public Records Act.  The foes, calling themselves Protect Marriage Washington, obtained a district court order in Tacoma in September that temporarily stopped the state from releasing the R-71 petitions; the appeals court reversed it, saying the practice was perfectly constitutional.  In the meantime, Eyman and his partners got a similar order from Judge Hicks that temporarily expanded the ban to all initiatives and referenda. The full hearing hasn’t been set; it will probably take months to hear back from the Supreme Court on whether the R-71 petition case will be heard. (more…)

R-71 Part Deux: Will high court take up disclosure ban? ?>

R-71 Part Deux: Will high court take up disclosure ban?

The continuing court battle by foes of Referendum 71 to shield their petitions from public view stepped up a notch Friday with filing of papers formally outlining the reasons why they want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case and uphold a disclosure ban.

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A 30-second recap: In September, U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma agreed to Protect Marriage Washington’s request to block the Secretary of State from the scheduled release of over 9,000 R-71  petition sheets in response to public records requests.  In October, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Settle and said the state could release the records. A state judge, acting in a parallel case brought by initiative activist Tim Eyman, froze release of all petitions while litigation was afoot.

Protect Marriage Washington asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the 9th Circuit decision on hold while a request for a high court review was drafted. The justices said fine.  On Friday, the official paperwork was filed with all of their reasoning spelled out. (more…)

R-71: Effective 12-3-09 ?>

R-71: Effective 12-3-09

123Media outlets have declared Referendum 71 approved by voters, describing it as the country’s first voter-ratified gay-rights measure.   As of Friday afternoon, the measure had an approval margin of nearly 71,000, or about 5 percentage points –754,180 to 683,320.  King County, which accounts for nearly a third of the electorate, was giving the measure an approval margin of over 150,000. King’s approval rate has been running 68 percent, and a number of the ballots remaining to be counted are from that county.

The referendum, placed on the ballot by foes of expanded rights for state-registered domestic partners, has been on hold since it was passed by the Legislature earlier this year. If the vote holds, Senate Bill 5688 will go into effect Dec. 3.  The election returns will be certified by Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov.  Chris Gregoire, probably on Dec. 1, but under provisions of the Constitution, a bill referred to voters and approved takes effect 30 days after Election Day, or Dec. 3 in this case.

R-71 signature battle heads to federal appeals judges ?>

R-71 signature battle heads to federal appeals judges

R71main

Washington’s Attorney General and Secretary of State will ask a federal appeals court on Wednesday to overturn a lower court ruling and allow release of Referendum 71 petitions.

There’s some question, though, whether voters will be able to actually see the public records before the election is over and done, even if the state proves its case that the voter-approved Public Records Act requires disclosure of the documents.

R-71 sponsors, Protect Marriage Washington, won a federal court order in Tacoma blocking the Secretary of State’s Office from releasing the petitions.  Attorney General Rob McKenna and Secretary Sam Reed appealed, saying the public strongly supports transparency in government and expects release of public records. (more…)