The Six-Pack: Initiatives to the Legislature
Fed up with the destructive and burdensome policies passed by the Democrat majority in the Washington State Legislature, citizens collected more than 2.3 million signatures to put six initiatives before the Legislature. All six received more than 400,000 signatures each and were certified by the Washington State Secretary of State in January and February of 2024.
On Feb. 19, majority Democrats announced they would grant hearings to three of the initiatives on Feb. 27 and 28. These will be joint hearings so they will be heard by the House and the Senate at the same time.
- I-2081: Support parental rights in public education
- I-2111: Ban an income tax in Washington
- I-2113: Restore “reasonable suspicion” standard for police pursuit
Times and locations for the hearings are yet to be finalized, but this webpage will be updated with that information by noon on Feb. 22.
If the Legislature passes these initiatives in both the Senate and the House, they will go into effect 90 days later and will not go on the ballot in November.
Majority Democrats also said they would not grant hearings to the following initiatives, but we will not give up fighting for hearings so the people can be heard.
- I-2109: Repeal the income tax on capital gains
- I-2117: Repeal the hidden gas tax
- I-2124: Repeal the “long-term care” payroll tax
Any of the initiatives that the Legislature doesn’t pass by the time it adjourns on March 7 will become ballot measures and will go to a vote of the people in November. The Legislature could offer alternatives, which would also go on the ballot, but it appears unlikely that the Democrat majority will allow that.
Click below to access information about each of the six initiatives.
NOTE: No updates or changes will be made to this webpage or the individual webpages for each initiative from March 7, 2024, until after the election in November, as per state law. Similarly, no updates or changes will be made to any content linked to from these webpages from March 7, 2024 until after the November election.
FACT CHECK: Will repealing the income tax on capital gains “devastate” basic education? No.
The Seattle Times Says…
Regardless, the Democrats should hold committee hearings — and soon — on all the initiatives for two reasons. First, debating their merits in such a hearing would provide a public vetting before what is likely to be a contentious campaign season leading up to fall’s general election. Major public policies are on the line, including the state’s landmark cap-and-trade system and a new capital gains tax funding education programs. Surely, Democratic leaders are not reticent to defend them. This editorial board strongly supported the former, although clearly it needs some legislative improvement, and opposed the latter.
Second, the Legislature has options to adopt any of the initiatives, not act and let the measure appear on the ballot or propose an alternative to also go on the ballot. Lawmakers also have an opportunity to show responsiveness to citizens who signed, exercising their right to open a formal conversation with elected representatives. For instance, adopting the initiative to roll back the state’s unpopular pursuit law could bring together a coalition of lawmakers to pass it.
Watch: The year the people fight back
Listen: Only three initiatives will get hearings
Sen. John Braun talks to Northwest Newsradio about Democrats' willingness to give only half of the initiatives a hearing
From Article II, Section I of the Washington Constitution: “Such initiative measures, whether certified or provisionally certified, shall take precedence over all other measures in the legislature except appropriation bills and shall be either enacted or rejected without change or amendment by the legislature before the end of such regular session.”
Initiatives to the Legislature
Citizen Initiatives are Direct Democracy
Some majority Democrats have argued recently that legislators who support the initiatives to the Legislature are undermining Democracy. This is ironic, given that the initiative is a form of direct democracy by which a petition meeting certain hurdles can force a legal procedure on a proposition. And Washington has the initiative process thanks to a vote of the people.
Sometimes, citizens bring initiatives forward because they don’t like what representative democracy has done on their behalf. That is what we have this year with the six initiatives to the Legislature. More than 2.3 million signatures were collected, and then validated by the Secretary of State.
There is no more pure form of Democracy than the people rising up to tell their elected officials “you got it wrong.” And now that the initiatives are certified, it is our constitutional and moral duty to give them each a hearing. That is what we are calling for — for majority Democrats to let the people speak on the initiatives while they are before the Legislature. #ListenToThePeople
Call To Action
Tell the Senate Democrat majority leader to give all six initiatives to the Legislature a hearing
Tell the Senate Democrat majority leader to allow legislators to do their constitutional and moral duty. Grant a hearing to all six initiatives before the Legislature.