Difference between revisions of "Laws governing the initiative process in Washington"

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(Single-subject rule)
(Single-subject rule)
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::''See also: [[Single-subject rule]]s''
 
::''See also: [[Single-subject rule]]s''
  
Washington has a single-subject rule for ballot measures. The relevant law restricts bills in the legislature. However, this restriction has be found to apply to initiatives as well. Key legal decisions to this effect are included.   
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Washington has a single-subject rule for ballot measures. The relevant law restricts bills in the legislature. However, this restriction has be found to apply to initiatives as well. Key legal decisions to this effect are listed below.   
  
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [[Article II, Washington State Constitution#Section 19|Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 19]] ''';''' [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6400935451117877198&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Fritz v. Gorton (1974)] ''';''' [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9395314236670900027&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Washington Fed. of State Emp. v. State (1995)] & [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1823136209530606834&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Amalgamated Transit v. State (2000)] ''</span>
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#404040">'''''See law:''' [[Article II, Washington State Constitution#Section 19|Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 19]] ''';''' [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6400935451117877198&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Fritz v. Gorton (1974)] ''';''' [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9395314236670900027&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Washington Fed. of State Emp. v. State (1995)] & [http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1823136209530606834&q=I-695&hl=en&as_sdt=2,36 Amalgamated Transit v. State (2000)] ''</span>

Revision as of 10:33, 5 March 2012

[edit]

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Petition summary
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.4.3 Fiscal review
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Litigation
1.5.3 Legislative tampering
1.5.4 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State statutes
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Washington may initiate legislation as either a direct or indirect state statute. In Washington, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. Citizens may not initiate constitutional amendments. The Washington State Legislature, however, may place legislatively-referred constitutional amendments on the ballot with a two-thirds majority vote of each chamber.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the scope and content of proposed initiatives. These regulations may include laws that mandate that an initiative address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws; prohibit unfunded mandates; and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rules

Washington has a single-subject rule for ballot measures. The relevant law restricts bills in the legislature. However, this restriction has be found to apply to initiatives as well. Key legal decisions to this effect are listed below.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 19 ; Fritz v. Gorton (1974) ; Washington Fed. of State Emp. v. State (1995) & Amalgamated Transit v. State (2000)

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Any initiated measure that would authorize gambling or a lottery requires a 60% supermajority in Washington.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 24

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiatives; "Poison pills"; List of Washington ballot measures

In Washington, competing measures are arranged on the ballot so voters can express two separate preferences. First, voters choose between either measure or neither measure. Second, voters choose between one measure and the other. If a majority prefer neither, both measures fail. If a majority prefer either, then the second vote determines which measure will be approved.

When a measure has been rejected by the legislature, lawmakers may submit an alternative competing measure to voters.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

Prior to collecting signatures, one sponsor (acting individually or for a group) must file a copy of the proposed statute with the Washington Secretary of State. The sponsor must also file an affidavit certifying that he or she is a legal Washington voter. There is a nominal fee for this filing.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 010

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

Once the measure is submitted, the Secretary sends a copy to the Office of the Code Reviser. The office reviews the measure and recommends changes to the initiative sponsor. These recommendations are advisory and do not oblige the sponsor to make any revisions.

Once the review is complete, the office issues the sponsor a certificate of review. The sponsor must then refile the measure and certificate with the Secretary of State who then assigns the petition a number (e.g. Initiative Measure No. 1183 or Initiative Measure No. 1163).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 020 & Section 040

Petition summary

See also: Ballot measure summary statement

After the Secretary has assigned the initiative a number, he or she transmits a copy to the Washington Attorney General. The Attorney General drafts a ballot title consisting of three parts--a short statement of the measure's subject, a concise description, and a question asking whether the measure should be adopted. In addition, the Attorney General drafts a longer (75 word) statement impartially summarizing the measure. Only the full text is required on the petition form, but the ballot title or summary may be included.

  • An example of this language can be found here.
  • An example of an initiative petition can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 040 ; Section 050 ; Section 060 & Section 100

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signature may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Washington signature requirements

Washington's signature requirement is based on the total number of votes cast for the office of governor at the last regular gubernatorial election. Initiatives to the People require signatures equal to eight percent of the votes cast for the office of governor in the last election. Initiatives to the Legislature also require signatures equal to eight percent of the votes cast for the office of governor in the last election. Veto referendum petitions require signatures equal to four percent of the votes cast for the office of governor.

Year Initiative to the People Initiative to the Legislature Veto referendum
2014 246,372 246,372 123,186
2013 246,372 246,372 123,186
2012 240,229 240,229 120,114
2010 240,229 240,229 120,114
2009 240,229 240,229 120,114
2008 224,880 224,880 112,440

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

Washington does not have a distribution requirement for petition signatures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1

Restrictions on circulators

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Washington used to ban paying circulators by the signature. However, that ban was struck down in LIMIT v. Maleng (1994).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 84, Section 250 (Formerly, 29.79.490) & LIMIT v. Maleng

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Washington does not require signature gatherers to be residents of the state.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Washington law does not require a circulator's paid/volunteer status to be disclosed.[4]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Washington does mandate that petitions be printed on "paper of good writing quality."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 100

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In Washington, initial filings for direct initiatives cannot be made more than ten months before the general election at which their proposal would be presented to voters. Initial filings for indirect initiatives cannot be made more than ten months before the regular session at which their proposal would be presented to lawmakers.

Signatures for direct initiatives are due at least 4 months prior to the general election. Signatures for indirect initiatives are due at least 10 days prior to the beginning of the session.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 030 & Section 160

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Once the signatures have been gathered and filed, the Secretary of State verifies the signatures using a random sample method. If the sample indicates that the measure has sufficient signatures, the measure will be certified for the ballot. However, if the sample indicates that the measure has insufficient signatures, every signature will be checked. Under Washington law, a random sample result may not invalidate a petition. However, the Secretary of State is not required to review any petition that "clearly bears insufficient signatures."

Observers representing proponents and opponents of the measure may be present to watch the verification process.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 170

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

In Washington, the ballot includes the ballot title and the initiative's serial number. These are designated shortly after the initial filing. After a measure has been certified for the ballot, it also receives a section in the state's voters' pamphlet with arguments for and against the initiative.

  • A sample ballot can be found here.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 050 & Section 290 & Chapter 32, Section 060

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statements

Once a measure has been certified for the ballot, the Office of Financial Management drafts a fiscal impact statement describing the "projected increase or decrease in revenues, costs, expenditures, or indebtedness" created by the measure. It is made available online or in the state's voter pamphlet.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 025

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

In Washington, any initiated measure that would authorize gambling or a lottery requires a 60% supermajority vote. Other measures require only a simple majority vote. Regardless, for any ballot measure to be approved, at least one third of the voters voting in the election must cast a vote on the measure.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1 (d) & Section 24

Effective date

Washington ballot measures take effect 30 days after the election. The official canvas of the vote must also be certified to the governor by this date. Initiated measures may also specify an effective date.[5]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1 (d) & Section 24

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

Within five days of the decision, any person may challenge a ballot title or summary. Within five days of the determination of sufficiency, any citizen may challenge the signature count. If the Secretary of State refuses to perform a signature count, the person/s filing the measure may challenge the decision within 10 days. All of these challenges should be filed in the Thurston County Superior Court. The decisions of this court may be appealed to the Washington Supreme Court

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Revised Code of Washington, Title 29A, Chapter 72, Section 080 ; Section 180 ; Section 190 & Section 240

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

In Washington, no initiated statute may be amended or repealed for two years without a 2/3 supermajority vote of both chambers. Any initiated law, so amended, is not subject to veto referendum. After two years, the law may be repealed or amended by a simple majority vote.[6]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1

Re-attempting an initiative

Washington does not limit how soon an initiative can be re-attempted.[7] For example, after the defeat of Initiative 1100 (2010), the measure was revised and reintroduced as Initiative 1183 (2011) -- it was subsequently approved.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 1

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Washington ballot measures

Some of the notable features of Washington State's campaign finance laws include:

  • Washington State treats groups in support or opposition of a ballot question the same like other political committees on most matters except campaign disclosure.
  • Washington uses a frequent reporting system for filing disclosure reports in which most reports are due on a monthly basis.
  • Washington State limits any person or other committee to donating $5,000 in the last 21 days of the election. State party organizations are exempt.
  • Washington State requires electronic reporting of all campaign finance disclosure.

State initiative law

Article II of the Washington Constitution address initiatives.

Chapter 72, Title 29A of the Washington Codified Laws govern initiatives.

External links

References


Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2011
2.1.2 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Washington.

Proposed changes by year

2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures

Bills that have or might be introduced in the 2011 session of the Washington State Legislature include:

2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures

The following proposals were made during the 2009-2010 session of the Washington Legislature: