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."

Bob Martinek January 04, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Tim only cares about HIS wallet. He would eliminate ALL taxes if he could. I suppose there are many out there that thinking good. They are the same ones that would be happy with gravel roads and chalk boards! His only reason to make initiatives easier is so he can make more money running them and ruining us! You all know, he has an initiative money making business, right?
Paul Thorpe January 04, 2013 at 06:50 PM
I don't think the extra six months is a big deal. The real problem in this proposal is the requirement that, no matter how defective an inititive is, it must appear on the ballot. Why clutter a ballot with intitives that will be struck down by the courts as soon as it it passed.
Thomas Imrich January 04, 2013 at 07:00 PM
As long as there are political officials continuing to push illogical, inappropriate, personal, or special interest agendas, contrary to majority public support, or without even a public vote... Such as heavily subsidized trains to nowhere; Heavily subsidized tunnels to nowhere; Public money subsidized sports stadiums that would have been voted down; Fiscal Cliff $43M tax breaks to NASCAR; Fiscal Cliff Goldman Sachs $1.6 billion in tax free financing for its new massive headquarters via Liberty Bonds; Fiscal Cliff $9B Off-shore financing loopholes for banks – Sec. 322 “Extension of the Active Financing"; To our very own MI local north end zoning debacle, giveaway of HOV access, and "Road Diet"... There will be a serious need for concerned citizen efforts, like those of Tim Eyman.
Bob Martinek January 04, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I'll sign that petition!
Bob Martinek January 04, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Yep Thomas, As long as the roads, bridges deteriorate, our world standing in education declines, our parks are closed, our tolls are raised, and our trails need access passes.
Ruth Williams January 04, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Except that Eyman is in it only for his own personal enrichment and has never offered a useful solution to any problem. His goal is to lower taxes and make life better for the wealthy who feel they don't need the benefit of the commonweal.
Thomas Imrich January 05, 2013 at 02:27 AM
We have a fiscal cliff, our roads and bridges are deteriorating, education failing, and traffic is congested largely because of inappropriate or failed government policy, and wasted or diverted resources, not from lack of tax revenue. The examples of waste that I cited above stand, and are compelling. They represent but the start of a much longer list. While Mr. Eyman may have various reasons for his positions, his general messages happen to be valid, and appropriate.
Joy Hill January 05, 2013 at 03:44 AM
What ever happened to the money that casinos were suppose to bring in? They went to the general fund. Not to schools..we NEVER hear about that issue. Just because our taxes go up doesn't mean they will repair roads, give school money etc. It means our taxes go up and we haven't a clue what they are doing with it. We are one of the few states that have initiative process and we should be glad we do.
Wendy DiPeso January 06, 2013 at 09:00 PM
The initiative process has been undermined. What used to be a resource for citizens is now a tool used by moneyed interests and in some cases out of state corporations that use paid signature gatherers to get something on the ballot and spend mega dollars to ensure passage. A better initiative would be one that makes it illegal to use paid signature gatherers. We need additional separate initiatives that would: 1) Ban all political advertising 2) Make all campaign contributions illegal 3) Provide for public broadcasting of political debates. There would be no more campaign mailers, elected officials would have more time to legislate since they would not be spending their time dialing for campaign dollars and interested citizens could tune in to the debates to hear about actual issues instead of hearing campaign slogans. It would not be perfect, but it would be an improvement over the current year round campaigning we have now.
dexterjibs January 07, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Yea, Wendy, let the 1st Amendment be damned. No chance for an incumbent to be exposed by a competitor if you cut off the financial part of elections.
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:13 AM
Interesting that the most criticism comes at Tim on a personal level. Not much in terms of actual specifics when it comes to the initiatives themselves. Bottom line - Tim is the result of single party rule in this state that has overstayed it's expiration date. He is using the law of the land to fill an unmet need. Don't shoot the messenger is what they say. Just examine the multiple super majority for tax hikes votes; yet the legislature fails to address the root issue and plays games around the edges of the law. Start voting against the incumbent. That is likely the best choice.
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:18 AM
Too bad we have free speech! Wendy - I'd love to know how you expect someone to campaign for office if they cannot actually contact voters in the context of the campaign other than some 'public broadcast' (ooh let me set my TIVO). Also, do we really need to give them more time to 'legislate'? I do not think time is their constraint.
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:19 AM
They went the same place your I-90 tolls will go... pooof
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:22 AM
Ruth do you have any evidence that your statement is in fact true in whole or in part? I appreciate the lower taxes and I am not rich. So please tell me...
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:30 AM
You could say the same about any law passed... so what is your point? Seems like the powers that be are extra interested in busting these laws.
Jon H January 07, 2013 at 06:31 AM
Really... that is a big ass-u-mption on your part...
Wendy DiPeso January 07, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Our first amendment rights mean little in a society where the average voters concerns cannot be heard over the screaming from corporations that control the vast majority of what passes for media today. Holding public debates on the issues will do more to inform voters than is possible through the sound bites that currently sway voters but do nothing to actually inform anyone.
John Locatelli January 07, 2013 at 07:06 PM
Democracy can only work when there is a “level playing field” between all the players (wealthy and poor voters, corporations, men, women, special interests, etc.). The trick is to let the wealthy have their say, but to not allow them to unfairly use media (which most of the citizens cannot pay for) to influence elections through propaganda and sound bites. It’s debatable if we were better served during the periods of the great debates (Lincoln vrs. Douglas for example), but some tremendous political work was accomplished then. It’s pretty shameful that it has taken us until now to even approach an equitable system for providing healthcare for all our citizens. This failure can be laid at the feet of the power of money to influence public opinion.
Joy Hill January 07, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Just remember Wendy, those horrible corporations are paying 80-90 percent of our debt. So, don't bite the hand that feeds you. They may even be paying for your bread and butter. I never worked for a poor man or woman..usually the good jobs were bigger companies. Sadly, it seems its government jobs now.
Wendy DiPeso January 07, 2013 at 10:34 PM
I beg to differ,..corporations pay very little tax compared to the middle class and they are working to pay even less: http://www.nationofchange.org/tax-avoidance-rise-it-s-twice-amount-social-security-and-medicare-1357569601 In the 1950's corporations paid a significant amount of tax. Companies could reduce the amount of tax they paid by reinvesting in the company. My Dad was an engineer at Honeywell back in the '50's and with a couple buddies started Minco Products. In those days the focus was on long term health of the corporation. A lot was spent on R & D, which reduced the tax burden but also went in to making the company more competitive. Today it is on next quarter profits to keep the investors happy and to hell with worrying about the future. Corporations would do better if they stopped paying for golden parachutes, paid taxes and invested in their employees and R & D. And what about capital gains? Why should people who produce no product or service but make money from money not pay taxes on their income? Why should middle class Americans who produce goods and services be the ones to pay for everything?
Bob Martinek January 08, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Generalizations and inaccuracies seem to be your only argument Hill. Show me where corporations are paying 80-90%. Good jobs were bigger companies? Hmm, Unions!?
Bob Martinek January 08, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Good insight, corporations are too investor oriented. But, capital gains and dividend income are a substitute form many middle income, under $100K, Americans that don't have pensions but invested their money in stocks and mutual funds to subsidize their social security. Pensions are also financed by dividends and capital gains. Corporations do need to make money, and should be encouraged to do so. Corporate executives should be paying higher taxes, not the companies themselves, they should be left to make money, pay salaries and compete. I still can't stand Eyman!
John Locatelli January 08, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Unfortunately ,from the first time our ancestors stood upright, started to communicate, use tools, and interact with each other quickly arose people who wanted to help the group they were in, people who only wanted to help themselves, con men and suckers who fell for their polemics. Reading all these comments shows that not much has changed in thousands of years. However I take heart in the undisputable fact that the” intelligent idea” always prevails in the long run---but------the immense suffering caused by poor ideas in the meantime is discouraging real.
Joy Hill January 08, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Wendy, you want to prove your point so you link your numbers provided by a newspaper called Nation of change/the progressive journalism for positive action? Who are they? The New York Times answer: “The problem is not with the 5 percent who pay half of all federal income taxes, but with the 50 percent who pay no federal income taxes,” wrote James A. Rowan Jr., an investment banker from Baltimore. “That’s the obvious and fair place to go for increased tax revenue.” and I agree with them...
Joe M January 08, 2013 at 10:55 PM
So this genius investment banker wants to squeeze money out of college students, soldiers, retirees and the destitute. Because that's who make up most of that 50%. I don't know whether his view is ignorant or simply self-serving greed. Either way, it explains how the banking system got this country into trouble.
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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