It appears that the two gun-related initiatives to the Legislature (I-591 and I-594) will be forwarded to the fall ballot. Both measures received legislative hearings and, as most observers predicted, no further action has been taken, meaning the initiatives’ fate appears to be up to the voters. Mail ballots go out in mid-October and are due back by Nov. 4.
It is pretty rare in our 100-year history of “direct democracy” for the Legislature to adopt initiatives to the Legislature, as they often involve very controversial issues, such as assisted suicide, abortion, charter schools, affirmative action, bottle bill, medical malpractice reform, and recreational marijuana. The most recent measures passed by the Legislature were 20 years ago, I-159 (firearm enhancement for sentencing) and I-164 (restricting land-use regulation). The presidential primary initiative, I-99, was adopted by lawmakers in 1989, as was the blanket primary back in 1934.
Here is the full list of initiatives certified to the Legislature since 1914 and what happened to them. The ones that were approved by the Legislature are labeled “enacted” and if they went to the ballot, they are labeled either rejected or approved.
One interesting sidenote is that it is possible for the Legislature to approve an alternative to an Initiative to the Legislature and then both are submitted to the voters for their choice, if either. This happened in 1970, when voters adopted the Legislature’s version of not one, but two, environmental initiatives, creating the Model Litter Control Act and passing the shoreline protection law.