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16 initiatives filed in Massachusetts targeting 2020 and 2022 ballots

Sixteen initiatives targeting the 2020 and 2022 ballot were filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office by the August 7, 2019, deadline. Thirteen of the 16 measures are statutory and may appear on the 2020 ballot. Three of the measures would amend the state constitution, and the soonest they could appear on the ballot is 2022.
 
The process:
 
After an application is submitted, the attorney general must review the proposal to ensure that it complies with the state’s subject restrictions. If it complies, proponents then submit the petition to the secretary of the commonwealth, and he or she drafts a summary of the proposed law to be included on the official petition form. This summary must be approved by the attorney general. The attorney general’s office is set to announce certification decisions on September 4, 2019.
 
The requirements to get an initiated state statute certified for the 2020 ballot:
  • Signatures required (first round): 80,239 signatures
  • Signatures required (second round): 13,374 signatures
  • Deadline (first round): The deadline to submit the first round of signatures to the secretary of state is December 4, 2019. Signatures need to be submitted to local registrars by November 20, 2019.
  • Deadline (second round): The deadline to submit the second round of signatures is July 1, 2020.
If enough signatures are submitted in the first round, the legislature must act on a successful petition by the first Wednesday of May. The measure only goes on the ballot if the legislature does not pass it and if the second round of signatures is successfully collected.
 
The requirements to get an initiated constitutional amendment certified for the 2022 ballot:
  • Valid signatures required: 80,239 valid signatures
  • Deadline (2019 petitions): The deadline to submit signatures for consideration by the legislature in 2020 and 2021 sessions is December 4, 2019.
  • Deadline (2020 petitions): The deadline to submit signatures for consideration by the legislature in 2021 and 2022 sessions is December 2, 2020.
If enough signatures are submitted by the deadline, the initiative goes to the legislature, where it must garner the approval of 25 percent of all lawmakers, with senators and representatives voting jointly, in two successive sessions. If this requirement is met, the initiative goes on the ballot at the next general election. Because of this unique requirement, the earliest an initiated constitutional amendment can reach the ballot is two years following signature submission. And, depending on the year, it can be three years after signature submission before voters decide on the measure.
 
Filed petitions:
 
2020 statutes:
  • #19-02 would implement storage requirements for firearms.
  • #19-04 and 19-05 would ban the use of electric shocks to punish or change behavior in disabled individuals, specifically at Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts.
  • #19-06, named the “Right to Repair” initiative by proponents, concerns access to mechanical data in a vehicle’s on-board diagnostics or telematics system.
  • #19-08 enacts limits on campaign contributions from non-residents and out-of-state PACs.
  • #19-09 determines whale-safe status and bans certain fishing equipment.
  • #19-10 enacts a ranked-choice voting system in Massachusetts.
  • #19-11 changes the formula for Medicaid ratemaking for nursing homes.
  • #19-12 enacts a top-two primary system for elections in Massachusetts.
  • #19-13 establishes the Reducing Risks of Technology Commission.
  • #19-14 allows food stores to sell beer and wine.
  • #19-15 allows law enforcement officers to detain a person and transfer custody of the person to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under certain circumstances.
  • #19-16 prohibits public employees from accruing more than 1,000 hours of unused sick leave
 
2022 constitutional amendments:
  • #19-01 amends the constitution to say “Nothing in this constitution requires the public funding of abortion.”
  • #19-03 restores the right to vote to incarcerated individuals convicted of a felony.
  • #19-07 excludes corporations from the definition of people and allows the Massachusetts General Court to regulate and set limits on political contributions and expenditures.
 
In the ten-year period from 1998 to 2018, 32 citizen initiatives appeared on the statewide ballot in Massachusetts, of which 15 were approved and 17 were defeated. Between 1998 and 2018, an average of three measures appeared on the ballot in Massachusetts during even-numbered election years.
 


Wichita mayor faces Kansas state representative in general election

The Wichita mayoral general election ballot is set following the August 6 primary. The nonpartisan general election takes place on November 5, 2019.
 
Nine candidates appeared on the primary ballot; Mayor Jeff Longwell faced eight challengers in the first leg of his bid for re-election. Longwell received the most votes in the primary, garnering 32.3% of the vote (7,136 votes). In second place was Kansas House of Representatives District 96 member, Brandon Whipple, with 25.9% of the vote (5,729 votes). One other candidate, Lyndy Wells, received double-digit percentage points in the race, with 25.2% of the vote (5,569 votes). The fourth runner-up received 6.4% of the vote (1,412 votes).
 
Longwell was first elected in 2015. Before becoming mayor, Longwell was a member of the Wichita City Council, representing District 5 from 2007 to 2015. He was the vice-mayor of Wichita from April 2010 to April 2011.
 
Whipple began serving in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2012. He was most recently re-elected in 2018 without opposition.
 
Although the mayoral election is officially nonpartisan, commentary in The Wichita Eagle identified Mayor Longwell as a Republican. Whipple is a Democratic member of the Kansas State Legislature.
 
Three city council seats are also on the general election ballot. None of the seats held a primary because the races did not have enough candidates to require one. Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 
 


Tucson sanctuary city initiative officially certified for the November 2019 ballot

The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to put an initiative on the November 2019 ballot that would enact sanctuary city policies in the city’s code.
 
If the mayor and city council had approved the measure, it would have become law without an election.
 
If the initiative is approved, Tucson would become the first sanctuary city in Arizona.
 
The initiative would include in city code a declaration of the city’s sanctuary status and add the following provisions:
  • restricting law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibiting officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status;
  • and prohibiting city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.
 
The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures on July 3, 2019. They needed to collect 9,241 valid signatures by July 5, 2019, to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. Through a random sampling of 871 signatures, the Pima County Recorder found that a projected 71.8% of the submitted signatures were valid. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options: approve the initiative and enact it into law without an election, or send it to the voters.
 
Tucson mayoral candidates Randi Dorman (D), Regina Romero (D), Steve Farley (D), and Ed Ackerley (I) have announced their opposition to the initiative. U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R) and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) also stated that they oppose the measure.
 
Three Tucson voters, assisted by the Pima County Republican Party, filed a legal challenge against the sufficiency of the initiative petition based on the number of valid signatures required and the percentage of submitted signatures counted as valid.
 
Ballotpedia’s August 2017 review of municipal immigration policies found that 32 of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population self-identified as sanctuary cities or maintained sanctuary policies. As of 2017, 30 of the 32 cities identified as sanctuary jurisdictions had Democratic mayors. The other two had Republican mayors.
 


Lee and Lundquist face off in Los Angeles City Council special election August 13

The city of Los Angeles, California, is holding a nonpartisan special general election on August 13 for one of the 15 seats on the city council. John Lee and Loraine Lundquist are facing off after advancing from a pool of 15 candidates in the special primary on June 4.
 
The vacancy on the city council occurred when District 12 representative Mitchell Englander stepped down on December 31, 2018, to work for a sports and entertainment firm.
 
Lundquist received 19.7% of the vote in the primary, while Lee came in second with 18.7%. Lee was endorsed by the L.A. Jobs PAC, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lundquist was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times and a number of Democratic Party clubs.
 
Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the U.S. by population.
 


The Daily Brew: White House agency has reviewed 235 rules in 2019

Today’s Brew highlights the number of reviews by the White House’s regulatory affairs office + Washington voters will decide affirmative action policy in 2019

 
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Monday, August 12, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. White House agency reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July
  2. Washington voters to decide state affirmative action policy in November
  3. Special election to be held to replace sole Republican on Los Angeles city council

White House agency reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July

You may not be familiar with it, but the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a federal office within the Office of Management and Budget that reviews the actions of other federal agencies. It was created in 1993 by an executive order issued by President Clinton.

OIRA’s responsibilities include regulatory review, clearance and approval of government information collection requests, and oversight of government statistical practices and privacy policies. It is also responsible for reviewing and coordinating what it deems to be all significant regulatory actions—rules that may have a large impact on the economy, environment, public health, or state and local governments and communities—made by federal agencies.

OIRA reviewed 51 significant regulatory actions in July issued by federal agencies. It approved one rule without changes and approved the intent of 45 rules while recommending changes to their content. Five rules were withdrawn.

As part of its review process, OIRA examines the rulemaking agency’s analysis of the costs and benefits of the rule. It also attempts to ensure that executive agency policies reflect the priorities of the president. OIRA has 90 days—with a possible 30- day extension—to complete its review of a significant regulatory action. 

OIRA has reviewed 235 significant rules so far in 2019. The agency reviewed 355 significant rules in 2018 and 237 significant rules in 2017. OIRA’s website listed 120 regulatory actions under review as of August 8.

Learn more

        

 

Washington voters to decide state affirmative action policy in November 

Washington voters will decide November 5 whether to allow affirmative action to be used when considering a person for public education or public employment opportunities. Referendum Measure 88 (R-88) will appear on the ballot before voters as a veto referendum. This referendum petition effort seeks to overturn the legislature’s approval of Initiative 1000 (I-1000), which would allow affirmative action without the use of quotas by the state of Washington. 

The path to the ballot for R-88 is an example of the chain reaction of our political process in action. A series of political events led to this point, so buckle up for a summary of how we got here: 

  • I-1000 originally qualified for the 2019 ballot February 7 through a successful petition drive. As an Initiative to the Legislature—the name of indirect initiatives in Washington—the state legislature had two options: a) approve it or b) have voters decide it as a statewide ballot measure. 
  • I-1000 was approved by the legislature in April by a 56-42 vote in the state House and a 26-22 vote in the state Senate, with all votes in favor coming from Democratic legislators. 
  • Following the approval of I-1000 by the legislature, a campaign was started to place a veto referendum before voters. That campaign—R-88—was certified August 7, requiring that voters decide whether or not to enact I-1000 through a vote on R-88.

Washington Initiative 200, approved by voters in 1998, banned affirmative action, discrimination, and preferential treatment based on certain characteristics, such as race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. I-1000 was designed to explicitly allow the state of Washington to implement affirmative action laws and policies while continuing to ban discrimination and preferential treatment—meaning those characteristics could not be the sole or deciding factor when considering a person for education or employment opportunities.

I-1000 was sponsored by the One WA Equality Campaign and was supported by Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) and the NAACP. Regarding I-1000, Inslee said, “I-1000 is a well-considered approach to updating our state’s policies and ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in government contracts, employment and schools.”

Let People Vote led the R-88 petition drive and is leading the campaign for a vote against I-1000 at the November election. Let People Vote stated, “I-1000…would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of races, sex, color, age, ethnicity, or national origin, as required by Washington Civil Rights Act, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races.”

Washington voters have decided 37 statewide veto referendum measures since 1914. Thirty, or 81%, have resulted in the targeted bill being repealed. Two previous referendum efforts were filed against Initiatives to the Legislature—such as I-1000—that were approved by the legislature rather than being placed on the ballot. Both veto referendums—one in 1943 and the other in 1995—succeeded in overturning the initiative. 

The map below identifies the 23 states that provide for citizen-initiated veto referendums: States in a darker shade have had more veto referendums. Between 1906 and 2018, voters decided 521 veto referendums in 23 states, repealing 340—65.3%—of the targeted laws.

States with veto referendum ballot measures

Learn more→

Special election to be held to replace sole Republican on Los Angeles city council

The city of Los Angeles is holding a nonpartisan special election August 13 for one of 15 city council seats. John Lee and Loraine Lundquist advanced from a primary field of 15 candidates June 4.  

Mitchell Englander—who was the only Republican on the city council—resigned his seat in December 2018 to work for a sports and entertainment firm.

Lee finished first in the primary, receiving 19.2% of the vote. He was endorsed by the L.A. Jobs PAC, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. Lee is Englander’s former chief of staff and is described by the Los Angeles Times as a Republican. Lundquist—who was endorsed by The Los Angeles Times and Our Revolution—was second in the primary with 19%. Lundquist is a university professor and describes herself as a Democrat. 

Los Angeles voters approved a change to the city charter in 2015 that moves municipal primary and general elections to June and November of even-numbered years beginning in 2020 to align them with federal and state elections. The seven even-numbered city council seats will be up for election in 2020 and the eight odd-numbered districts will be up for election in 2022.

Learn more→

 



Yang qualifies for next two primary debates with new poll

 Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing

August 9, 2019: Andrew Yang became the ninth candidate to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic primary debates. Most of the 2020 Democratic field will be in Iowa this weekend at the state fair.


     
Each Friday, we’ll highlight a presidential candidate’s key campaign staffer.

Mike Frosolone is a Democratic staffer with experience organizing in Midwestern states.

Previous campaign work:

  • 2014 Staci Appel U.S. House campaign (IA-03), field director
  • 2012 Michigan state legislative elections, House Democratic organizer
  • 2010 Dan Muhlbauer Iowa House of Representatives campaign, campaign manager

Other experience:

  • 2015-2019: Iowa House Democrats, caucus director
  • 2008-2010: Service Employees International Union, organizer

What he says about Booker:

“Cory’s performance serves as a validation for the folks who have committed their early support to his campaign.”

Notable Quote of the Day

“The [Iowa] State Fair is like half time. We’ve had the first two quarters of the game. We have the 3rd and 4th quarters to play still. If you’re a fan of the NBA, nothing happens until the 4th quarter. I wouldn’t be satisfied being ahead at half time.”

– Jeff Link, Iowa Democratic political strategist

Democrats

  • The Iowa State Fair continues and more Democrats are scheduled to speak at the Soapbox over the next few days. Cory BookerKirsten GillibrandKamala HarrisJohn HickenlooperJay InsleeAmy KlobucharTim RyanJoe Sestak, and Elizabeth Warren will speak Saturday. Michael BennetBill de BlasioBernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer are scheduled Sunday.
  • Bennet campaigned in Ohio Thursday, speaking at the City Club of Cleveland and attending a fundraiser.
  • Booker issued draft legislation of the Climate Stewardship Act Thursday. The bill would call for planting 4 billion trees by 2030 and 15 billion by 2050 to off-set domestic greenhouse gas emissions. The Department of Agriculture and other agencies would receive up to $25 billion annually to develop more voluntary programs for climate-friendly agricultural practices.
  • Joe Biden will speak at the Wing Ding in Iowa Friday night.
  • Steve Bullock will continue to campaign in Iowa on Friday and Saturday.
  • Pete Buttigieg unveiled his plan for improving rural healthcare through a “Medicare for All Who Want It” system. He would also expand loan forgiveness programs for healthcare professionals and the Conrad 30 waiver program, which waives a reentry requirement for some foreign doctors committing to work in underserved or rural areas.
  • In a Medium post, Klobuchar outlined her anti-domestic terrorism proposal. She called for prioritizing law enforcement tracking, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes and white nationalist activity. Under her plan, people with violent misdemeanor hate crime convictions would be barred from purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • Seth Moulton advocated abolishing the filibuster in a series of tweets on Thursday.
  • Marianne Williamson will continue to campaign in Iowa Friday and Saturday.
  • Andrew Yang qualified for the third and fourth Democratic presidential primary debates, reaching the polling threshold of 2 percent or more in a fourth eligible poll. Yang previously announced he had reached the grassroots fundraising bar and the polling threshold last week before the Democratic National Committee clarified its polling rules, leaving Yang one short.

Republicans

  • Donald Trump departs for his New Jersey golf club Friday as part of his annual August holiday.
  • Bill Weld, along with BookerButtigieg, and Sandersparticipated in a presidential candidate’s forum at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Miami Thursday. Weld will also speak at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. 

Flashback: August 8, 2015

John Kasich said he supported a pathway to legal status for the 11 million immigrants living in the United States without legal permission



Six candidates vie for Fresno seat in special election

The city of Fresno, California, is holding a nonpartisan special election for the District 2 seat on the city council Tuesday. A runoff election is scheduled for November 5 if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the votes cast in the election. The candidate filing deadline was May 17. Six candidates filed in the race, including declared 2020 Congressional candidate Phil Arballo.
 
The District 2 city council seat was previously held by Steve Brandau. He was first elected to the seat in 2012. Brandau stepped down in April 2019 after winning the District 2 seat on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in a special election on March 5.
 
The District 2 city council seat was last up for election in 2016. Brandau won re-election without opposition that year. The winner of the 2019 special election will serve the remainder of Brandau’s term, which ends in 2020. Though the seat is nonpartisan, Brandau was known to be affiliated with the Republican Party.
 
Fresno is the sixth-largest city in California and the 34th-largest city in the U.S. by population. Its city council has a total of seven members elected by district.
 


Massachusetts governor vetoes omnibus public-sector labor bill

On August 2, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) vetoed an omnibus public-sector labor bill after the legislature declined to adopt amendments he had earlier proposed.

  • What does the bill propose? The legislature’s version of H3854 would authorize employers to disclose personal employee information to unions. It would also permit unions to require non-members to pay for the costs associated with grievance and arbitration proceedings. It would require employers to provide unions with access to employees, and it would allow for dues deduction authorizations to be irrevocable for a period of up to one year.
  • What were Baker’s amendments to the bill, and how did the legislature respond?
    • In a letter to state lawmakers dated July 15, Baker recommended the following changes:
      • Prevent unions from accessing employees’ personal cell phone numbers and using text messages to communicate with members without their written consent.
      • Require unions to give new employees written information explaining their rights to join or refrain from joining a union.
      • Require employees’ written consent before releasing certain information to unions.
      • Require unions to provide notice to state agencies before using buildings for union purposes.
    • On July 22, the House voted 128-29 to reject Baker’s amendments. The Senate followed suit on July 25 by a vote of 34-5. The House and Senate re-approved the legislation on July 31, sending it back to the governor for his action.
  • What are the reactions?
    • AFL-CIO president Steve Tolman said, “The legislation passed by both the House and Senate to ensure that public-sector unions remain a strong force for economic fairness in the wake of the Janus Supreme Court ruling received overwhelming bipartisan support after a thorough debate. We urge both branches to override Governor Baker’s veto.”
    • Christopher Carlozzi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “The Governor offered a very common-sense amendment that provided labor unions an opportunity to collect their reasonable fees, while still protecting the rights of workers. The legislature chose to pacify a handful of labor leaders, rather than address serious privacy concerns for public employees.”
  • What is the political makeup of Massachusetts? Democrats control 79 percent of all House seats and 85 percent of all Senate seats, exceeding the two-thirds majorities required in each chamber to override a veto. Baker, a Republican, was first elected in 2014 with a margin of victory of 1.9 percent. Baker was re-elected in 2018 with a margin of victory of 32.5 percent.
  • What comes next? Because they hold veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate, Democrats could override Baker’s veto. Lawmakers will not be able to consider a veto override until they reconvene in September.

 

The big picture

Number of relevant bills by state

We are currently tracking 102 pieces of legislation dealing with public-sector employee union policy. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates a greater number of relevant bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills we’re tracking.

Union Station map August 9, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by current legislative status

Union Station status chart August 9, 2019.png

Number of relevant bills by partisan status of sponsor(s)

Union Station partisan chart August 9, 2019.png

Recent legislative actions

Below is a complete list of legislative actions on relevant bills since the beginning of the year. Bills are listed in alphabetical order, first by state and then by bill number.

  • Michigan HB4821: This bill would allow public school employers to use public resources to collect union dues.
    • Introduced and referred to Education Committee Aug. 6.


Ballotpedia’s Daily Brew: Tucson voters to decide sanctuary city status

Today’s Brew highlights a 2019 ballot measure regarding Tucson’s sanctuary city status + the number of judges appointed by Trump compared with other presidents  
 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Friday, Aug. 9, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on Nov. 5
  2. Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years
  3. What’s the tea?

Tucson, Arizona, voters to decide city’s sanctuary status on November 5

Tucson voters head to the polls Nov. 5 to decide a ballot measure that, if approved, would make Tucson Arizona’s first sanctuary city.

The initiative would include a declaration of Tucson’s sanctuary status and add a new section to the city’s code that would:

  • restrict law enforcement officers from actions to determine a person’s immigration status under certain conditions;
  • prohibit officers from contacting federal law enforcement agencies to determine a person’s immigration status; and
  • prohibit city employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status, among other policies.

The group Tucson Families Free and Together submitted about 18,000 signatures on July 3, two days before the deadline, to qualify the initiative for the November general election ballot. They were required to collect 9,241 valid signatures. The Pima County Recorder reviewed a random sample of petition signatures and determined there were enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. This sent the initiative to the city council, which had two options—either approve the initiative and enact it into law without an election, or put it on the ballot. The council voted August 6 to place the measure on the ballot. 

All three of Tucson’s Democratic mayoral candidates—Randi Dorman, Regina Romero, and Steve Farley—and independent mayoral candidate Ed Ackerley oppose the initiative. Tucson will hold partisan primary elections for mayor and three city council seats Aug. 27. The general election is Nov. 5. U.S. Sen. Martha McSally (R) and declared 2020 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly (D) have also stated that they oppose the measure. 

Ballotpedia’s analysis of municipal immigration policies in August 2017 found that 32 of the nation’s 100 largest cities by population self-identified as sanctuary cities or maintained sanctuary policies. At that time, 30 of the 32 cities that identified as sanctuary jurisdictions had Democratic mayors. The other two had Republican mayors.

Learn more

        

Beyond the headlines

Currently, there are 22 Republican and 14 Democratic trifectas. With 5 states holding elections this year those totals could change.

Find out how in our latest episode of Beyond the Headlines.???????

Trump has appointed the second-most federal judges at this point in his presidency in the last 100 years 

Three years into his presidency, Donald Trump has appointed 146 Article III federal judges through August 1. Looking back through history to the Theodore Roosevelt administration, only Bill Clinton appointed more judges—156—through the same point during his first term. 

Presidents appoint Article III federal judges for what can be life terms and must be confirmed by the Senate. These include judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. District Courts, and the Court of International Trade. 

From the Theodore Roosevelt administration to the present, the average number of presidential judicial appointments through Aug. 1 of their third year in office is just over 80. 

Here are some other takeaways about presidential judicial appointments through this point:

  • The median number of Supreme Court appointments is two. William Taft (R) appointed the most—five. Trump has appointed 2 justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—so far.
  • The median number of U.S Court of Appeals appointees is 18. Trump has appointed the most among this group of presidents through Aug. 1 of this third year with 43. His 43 appointments comprise 24% of the 179 judgeships on the appeals courts.
  • The median number of U.S. District Court appointees is 54, with Clinton appointing the most with 128. Trump has appointed 99 district court judges, or 15% of the 677 district court judgeships.

Learn more→

Here’s another weekly edition of our ”What’s the tea?” question so you can tell us what you think.  

Please click on the answer that most closely matches your opinion. 

The August 8th edition of the Brew included two local election stories—from the district attorney primary in Queens, New York, to city council and local ballot races in Seattle. 

Do you feel that news about local politics and government gets covered adequately in your area—not just on Ballotpedia, but from all sources?

 



Washington voters to decide on state affirmative action policy in November through a veto referendum petition

Washington voters will decide in November whether or not to allow affirmative action to be used when considering a person for public education or public employment opportunities. The petition effort for Referendum Measure 88 (R-88) targeted Initiative 1000 (I-1000). After I-1000 qualified for the ballot through a successful initiative petition drive, the measure was approved by the legislature on April 28, 2019, thereby precluding an election. The R-88 petition requires that I-1000, instead, must be placed on the 2019 ballot in Washington for a statewide vote of the people.
 
R-88 was certified for the ballot on August 7, 2019. In a random sample check of 6,399 signatures, the secretary of state’s office found that 5,528 were valid, projecting a signature validity rate of 86.4%. This means that of 213,268 signatures submitted by proponents, 184,239 were deemed valid through the random sample verification. To qualify for the ballot, 129,811 valid signatures were required.
 
Initiative 1000 was designed to allow affirmative action without the use of quotas by the state of Washington. This means that characteristics such as race, sex, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status could be used as factors when considering a person for public education or public employment opportunities. I-1000 would ban preferential treatment, meaning those characteristics could not be the sole or deciding factor when considering a person for education or employment opportunities. Initiative 200 (I-200), approved by voters in 1998, banned discrimination and preferential treatment by the state. I-200 was sponsored by Washington initiative activist Tim Eyman. Eyman said, “Voters have accepted the principle that the government should treat everyone equally, without different rules for different races.”
 
I-1000 was sponsored by the One WA Equality Campaign and was supported by Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) and the NAACP. Regarding I-1000, Inslee said, “We know systemic inequities remain that cause communities of color, veterans, people with disabilities and women to face persistent barriers to work and education opportunities. I-1000 is a well-considered approach to updating our state’s policies and ensuring diversity, equity and inclusion in government contracts, employment and schools. This policy will help provide the pathways to opportunity that all our communities deserve. It embraces the parts of the 20-year-old I-200 initiative that work well while recognizing what we can do better to address the challenges facing businesses, workers and students today.”
 
As an Initiative to the Legislature—the name of indirect initiatives in Washington—the state legislature could either approve I-1000 or send it to the voters once it had qualified through a sufficient signature petition. The state legislature approved I-1000 on April 28, 2019, largely along party lines with all votes in favor coming from Democratic legislators. In the House, one Democrat, Brian Blake of District 19b, joined all House Republicans in voting no. Two Senate Democrats, Mark Mullet of District 5 and Tim Sheldon of District 35, joined the 20 Senate Republicans in voting no. Senator Guy Palumbo (D-1) was excused from voting.
 
Let People Vote led the R-88 petition drive and is leading the campaign for a vote against I-1000 at the November election. Let People Vote argued, “I-1000 can be summed up in one sentence: It would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of races, sex, color, age, ethnicity, or national origin, as required by Washington Civil Rights Act, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races. Initiative 1000 seeks to repeal Washington Civil Rights Act (I-200) and was enacted by the Legislature on the last day of the session in order to deny a public vote on the matter. Voter[s] approved I-200 by more than 58% of votes in 1998. Why shouldn’t voters be allowed to decide whether to change it?”
 
Of the 38 Initiatives to the Legislature (ITLs) that have been certified and presented to the legislature, five were approved by legislators instead of being sent to the ballot. Veto referendum efforts were subsequently filed against two of the ITLs and succeeded in overturning them.
 
Since the first in 1914, Washington voters have decided 37 statewide veto referendum measures at the ballot. The most recent veto referendum was on the ballot in Washington in 2012. In 81% of cases (30 of 37), the veto referendum resulted in the targeted bill being repealed. Conversely, 19% (seven of 37) of veto referendum measures resulted in the targeted law being upheld. In Washington, successful veto referendum petitions suspend the targeted law until the veto referendum is placed on the ballot and voted on in an election.
 
Nation-wide since the first in 1906, 521 veto referendums appeared on the ballot in 23 states. Voters repealed 340 (65.3 percent) of the targeted laws. Voters upheld 181 (34.7 percent) of the targeted laws. The states with the most veto referendums on the ballot were North Dakota (75), Oregon (68), and California(48). The states that allowed for veto referendums but had the least number of them were Wyoming (1), Nevada (2), and New Mexico (3).