Ballotpedia's 2011 Ballot Measure Breakdown: Washington

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October 27, 2011

Breakdown of 2011 ballot measures: Washington

By Al Ortiz

WASHINGTON, United States: In the last report in the series of state breakdowns, for individual states, we take a closer look at Washington ballot measures. The statewide ballot is crowded with three initiatives that qualified for the ballot by turning in petition signatures by the July 8 petition drive deadline.

In next week's report, all states will be broken down in what will be the final in the series of ballot measure breakdowns. A review will be given of all breakdowns covered in the past month.

Stay tuned for the total breakdown report on October 31


State Number of measures in 2009 Number of measures in 2011 Change between the two years
Washington 2 5 +3

Magnifying the states



Big developments have been quickly materializing in the state of Washington. Not only are there three more questions on the ballot than there were in 2009, but campaign activity and contributions have been on a fast track this year.

Five questions are on the ballot for November 8, and one in particular has dominated headlines more so than others - Initiative 1183. The initiative would close state liquor stores and allow state licensing of private parties. Privately owned stores would be required to have at least 10,000 square feet of retail space to sell and distribute liquor. According to reports, the proposal has received a total of $34 million worth of contributions, from both supporters and opponents.

In fact, as of October 24, the warehouse club chain Costco Wholesale has reportedly contributed about $21 million of the $22.7 million donated to the campaign effort in support of Initiative 1183.

This makes Costco Wholesale the largest single donor to a ballot measure in state history, as previous reports stated the second largest donation made was $16.7 million by the American Beverage Association in 2010 to support Initiative 1107.

The two other initiatives on the ballot are Initiative 1125 and Initiative 1163. I-1125 would prohibit gas tax and toll revenues to be diverted to non-transportation purposes. The other initiative, I-1163 would reenact background checks, training, and certain other requirements for long-term care workers and providers.

The two legislative referrals on the ballot are SJR 8205 and SJR 8206. 8205 removes a provision from constitution about the length of time a voter must reside in Washington to vote for president or vice president, while 8206 requires the transfer of additional funds to the budget stabilization account if the state has received "extraordinary revenue growth."

Impacts of 2011 measures:

Notable Quotes:

  • Kathryn Stenger, Yes on 1183 spokesperson:
"On the one hand, people love the idea because they already have a good relationship with Costco and being able to go in there and find their favorite brands, but it’s also given them some peace of mind. They know that Costco is selling beer and wine now, they know that Costco sells liquor in other states and has done so safely."[1]
"As a matter of policy, the tradeoffs aren’t there for me. I just don’t think it’s the right thing for Washington State." Gregoire argues that expanded sales would help generate more revenue for the state but cautions that more sales may generate new costs to the state. For example, in treatment for drug and alcohol abusers.[2]

Looking ahead: The following are measures that have been proposed for the 2012 ballot:

Next week's Breakdown: A breakdown summary of all states covered in the past month
Last week's Breakdown: Ohio and Texas

See also

Ballotpedia News

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