Eyman Introduces Initiative on Initiatives—What Do You Think?

I-517 doubles the amount of time signatures can be gathered and introduce penalties for those who harass petitioners.

State initiative advocate Tim Eyman is at it again—this time with a petition that addresses the petitioning process itself.

I-517, titled the Protect the Initiative Act, lengthens the amount of time signatures can be gathered from six to 12 months. It also broadens the legal definition of disorderly conduct to include interference or retaliation against a signature-gatherer and requires that all valid initiatives appear on the ballot.

This section may not be construed in any way to impede the right to legal review of the sufficiency of valid voter signatures or post-election legal review; however, under no circumstances may an initiative be prohibited from submission to the people for a vote if sufficient valid voter signatures are submitted.   

A PDF of the complete initiative is attached to this post.

Do you support I-517? Tell us in the comments section. 

Eyman submitted about 345,000 signatures for I-517 to the secretary of state's office on Thursday, according to KING 5. A total of 241,153 valid signatures must be submitted for a measure to qualify for the ballot.

Eyman sued the City of Redmond last year when officials failed to hand over signatures collected against the city's red-light camera program. A King County judge later tossed out the lawsuit, citing a previous legal ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals that had determined red-light cameras are not valid matters for initiative.

Eyman is continuing to fight the King County ruling through the Washington Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that voters don't have the right to repeal red-light programs, and the City of Redmond has removed its four cameras.

In a statement he emailed to local news media, Eyman specifically linked I-517 to his legal struggles with red-light camera initiatives in Mukilteo, Monroe, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Longview and Redmond.

"In every one of those campaigns, no money was raised or spent for their signature drives," Eyman said. "But once our initiatives were filed and/or qualified for the ballot, we were forced to 'lawyer up' because each initiative faced costly lawsuits seeking to prevent the people from voting."

Joe M January 08, 2013 at 11:20 PM
One more thing: if I want to know how best to run this country, I'm not going to ask an investment banker. If I want to know how to run this country into the ground, I'll give him a call.
Wendy DiPeso January 09, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Thanks Joe, you said it better than I could
Beth Asher January 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM
While I don’t always agree with every one of Tim's initiatives, I think he hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s not up to local elected representatives to pass judgment on the legality of an initiative BEFORE it’s voted on. That’s the right of the judiciary arm of government. If the required signatures have been gathered, then obviously the public feels strongly enough about the issue to want a voice in the decision making. And, municipal and local (county) officials are elected representatives of the people. There’s the important point – representatives. We elect them to serve us and represent us, not to push through measures that we as the people who elected them have clearly said we don’t want. In the case of our library initiative we had actually gathered 1,800 non-petition signatures before the Renton City Council ram-rodded through the councilmanic bonds and chose their library site over the public’s clear choice. I think the more than seventy percent vote for the public’s choice in the Library Initiative made clear that Renton’s voters still disagreed with the Council’s choice. The sad fact that we had to threaten a civil rights lawsuit to get our legally validated petition measure on the ballot is sobering.
Norm Elmlund January 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Renton petitioners followed the law. It’s not for local politicians to usurp judiciary powers because they feel thwarted by a public guaranteed the constitutional right to petition and vote. Instead, they should consider their position as representatives of the people they’re supposed to be listening to and serving. Our system works because the voters are the ultimate “check and balance”. We’re guaranteed the right to petition as a form of redress, or as a form of government participation. There’s the other key – participation. Our government is participatory at all levels. Local authorities have no right refuse their constituents the right of petition guaranteed in the First Amendment, especially if those voters have followed state and local statutes to bring their petition to the ballot. Because local officials feel the petition might be “inconvenient” or in opposition to what they want doesn’t remove the right of citizens to have the ultimate say. Putting the wishes of local politicians above the law is a slippery slope. I for one find it unconstitutional. “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures ...” Harry Truman Fortunately, Washington hasn’t gone down that road yet, although it seems some local politicians find voter participation in anything other than electing them an inconvenient nuisance.
Phyllis Forister January 15, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Right on target as usual Beth!


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