A look at the upcoming November ballot issues:

I-1351:  Initiative to reduce school class size. The Legislature has failed in its Constitutional mandate to adequately fund public schools. The State Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to provide funding, and has since found the Legislature in contempt. In 2000, I-728 was passed which established a “goal” for the Legislature. I-1351 establishes the “goal” numbers as statutory law:  17 students per teacher for grades K-3, and 25 for grades 4-12.

Pro:  Provides additional pressure on the Legislature to comply with law, court order, and Constitutional mandate.

Con:  Redundant. Does not provide any funding source. The Legislature will act or not at its own risk.

 

I-591:  Protection of gun rights.  Prohibits confiscation of firearms without due process. Requires a uniform national standard for background checks.

Pro:  Promotes consistent standards nationwide. Retains Constitutional Rights and the State’s ability to deny possession to felons and those mentally incompetent.

Con:  Murder rates and gun violence will continue.

 

I-594:  Expands background checks for firearms. Requires background checks for all sales, transfers, and loans of firearms, including gun shows and online sales.

Pro:  Standardized background check (within Washington) for all firearm purchases. Prevents dangerous people from easy access to guns. Would reduce rates of murder and gun violence.

Con:  Creates a “registration”, the first step to confiscation. Criminals and nut cases would still find access, with no real reduction in gun violence. Possible violation of Second Amendment.

 

Advisory Vote No. 8 (Senate Bill 6505):  Bill passed by legislature that declares that marijuana and derived products are NOT agricultural products. Part of restructuring required to implement I-502 which requires marijuana products be taxed at every transfer point in the distribution system. Technical adjustment.

Repeal:  Advises legislature that public does not agree with their action.

Maintain:  Advises legislature that public agrees with the legislation.

 

Advisory Vote No. 9 (Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1287):  Bill passed by legislature which adjusts the method of taxation of leasehold excise tax (property tax) on property owned by Indians which is not located on reservation lands. Technical adjustment

Repeal:  Advises legislature that public does not agree with their action.

Maintain:  Advises legislature that public agrees with the legislation.

Note:  Advisory votes result from voter approval of I-960 in 2007, which requires a non-binding vote of the citizens to advise the legislature whether they should repeal or maintain a tax increase which the legislature has imposed.

Source:  The above information was extracted from the State voters’ guide, the full text of the legislative bills, and interviews with our elected legislators. 

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