Victory in case to protect your right of initiative

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  May 9, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Our legislative session is over, but we are still dealing with its aftermath. One of the most troubling things we saw this year was the new majority’s disregard for the rules and procedures laid out by the state constitution. I was among the parties to a lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s mishandling of an initiative submitted by the people this year. Voters were given no say in the matter, contrary to what the constitution requires. I am pleased to report that a judge in Thurston County has agreed with our position, making it very likely that voters will have an opportunity to pass judgment.

You can read more about that and other issues below.

If there is anything I can do for you, or if you have questions about anything in this e-newsletter, please give me a call or send me an e-mail. We are here to serve!


Senator Mike Padden

Community coffees stir discussion

eagle scout
Eagle Scout Gavin McAllister and his Mom, Dorianne, were among the 4th district residents who attended a community coffee meeting at Cozy Coffee.

Thanks to everyone who attended our recent community coffee meeting at Cozy Coffee on Barker Road! From time to time we arrange one-on-one meetings with constituents to talk about issues of concern to the 4th Legislative District. We had quite a number of enjoyable discussions, and it is always a pleasure to meet with the people we serve. We plan to hold at least one more community coffee meeting this year.

Inslee and Ferguson sacrificing public safety to score points against Trump

by Sen. Mike Padden,
Published in the Washington State Wire

Many people were surprised by a recent disclosure that the state Department of Licensing would no longer provide Social Security numbers for the database that law enforcement uses to conduct background checks for gun purchases.

They shouldn’t have been.

For anyone watching closely enough, it has been clear for some time that Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have made their political opposition to the federal government a higher priority than the safety of Washingtonians and our law-enforcement community.

…Since the election of President Donald Trump, Inslee and Ferguson have been using every means at their disposal to oppose the president’s immigration agenda.

Serving as the loyal opposition is fair game, and state officials have every right to oppose a president with whom they fundamentally disagree. In their zealousness to do so, however, Inslee and Ferguson appear to have put their ideology ahead of public safety.

Click here to read my full editorial.

Ruling sends I-940 to fall ballot – a victory for constitutional rights

Thurston Superior Court Judge Christine Schaller listening to an attorney representing I-940 sponsors. Photo courtesy of Glen Morgan.

Legislators have many duties, but the most important of all is to uphold the state constitution. From this single document, government derives all its powers, within limits designed to protect the people’s rights.

Unfortunately, during this year’s session in Olympia, the Legislature’s new majority seemed determined to twist, torture and circumvent the constitution’s rules when they became inconvenient. Nowhere was this clearer than in the case of Initiative 940, a measure that would impose new rules on the police use of deadly force.

Supporters gathered more than 350,000 signatures to place this proposed law before the Legislature. The constitution gives lawmakers only three options for responding to initiatives from the people. They may pass it without changes; refuse to pass it and thus send the proposal to the ballot; or pass an alternative and place it on the ballot alongside the original proposal.

There is no fourth option. Yet our colleagues invented one anyway. They passed the initiative – but also amended it, and took the position that the matter was settled. This cut Washington voters out of the loop, because the majority’s refusal to enact the measure in its unaltered form should have automatically pushed the proposal to the ballot.

This was an unusual case. Everyone agreed the initiative has problems. The compromise proposal was supported by the initiative sponsors, the Legislature as a whole, even myself. But voters still must have a say. The constitution says the initiative is the “first power reserved by the people.” If this year’s action is allowed to stand, lawmakers will be free to eliminate voters from the discussion any time an initiative is submitted to the Legislature.

For this reason, I joined a lawsuit that was heard April 20 in Thurston County Superior Court. Judge Christine Schaller agreed the initiative was not properly enacted, and ordered that the measure instead appear on the November ballot. This decision has been appealed, and further hearings can be expected this summer. All of this might have been avoided if the majority party had accepted an amendment I offered on the Senate floor, which would have sent the Legislature’s alternative to the ballot together with the original proposal.

Now that the Legislature has adjourned for the year, it is unclear whether lawmakers still have the opportunity to present a side-by-side alternative to voters, even if we are called back into a special session to address this matter. The Thurston County ruling underscores the point that the Legislature must never ignore the constitution and the rights of the people.

In the news – editorials voice opposition to Legislature’s approach on I-940


Editorial writers across the state have seconded our position on the Legislature’s improper handling of Initiative 940, both before and after the judge’s ruling. Here are some of the comments that have appeared on the state’s editorial pages:

  • Walla Walla Union Bulletin: “The give and take of the legislative process generally results in better laws than initiatives, which are written by special-interest groups that usually look at only one side of an issue. In seeking ways to improve on I-940, the Legislature looked at various points of view in crafting the amendments. A compromise was reached, crafted with input from law enforcement officials and community activists, and it seems a good one. But the law is clear: Put the initiative and the alternative on the ballot and let voters make the call.”
  • Seattle Times: “What is to stop the Legislature in the future from drastically altering any initiative without public support, then denying citizens the chance to vote on it?”
  • The (Tacoma) News Tribune: “Short-circuiting Washington’s initiative process is a clear case of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.”
  • Tim Eyman in the Everett Herald: “Lawmakers were too cute by half in how they handled I-940, regarding policies on police shootings. … The Legislature took away the voters’ right to vote. Rather than letting the voters choose between the two, lawmakers decided for us. That’s not how it works.”

Central Valley High School girls’ basketball team is honored


Congratulations again to the Central Valley High School girls’ basketball team for its outstanding performance this season. The team took top honors at the state 4A championship, and after winning the state tournament, it won the championship in the invitational 2018 GEICO High School Nationals. The Spokane Valley City Council has issued a proclamation honoring the team, and it has given players, coaches and managers a “key to the city.” Their achievements have made our community proud.

The team roster includes Mady Simmelink, Kate Sams, Hailey Christopher, Lexie Hull, Michaela Laabs, Anika Chalich, Camryn Skaife, Peyton Howard, Tomekia Whitman, and Lacie Hull. The coaching staff includes head coach Freddie Rehkow and assistant coaches Judy Waters, Josh Thomas, Nick Seaman, and Rob Rowe. Team managers are Emma Horton, Grace Williams and Cameron Rehkow.

I look forward to offering a Senate resolution next year to recognize and honor their great achievement.

Apply to intern at the Legislature

Our 2018 intern Karlie Lodjic

Each year, 70 students are selected to participate in the Legislative Internship Program and spend the legislative session on the Capitol campus working in legislator offices. Students are paid during their time in the Legislature and must be able to receive college credit.

Interns play a valuable role in our offices by tracking legislation, developing support information, helping constituents with issues, and meeting with stakeholders.

The intern program website provides a great deal of information. Applications are usually due in the fall, but there is no need to wait. If you know someone who will be a junior in college next year, keep this program in mind and encourage them to apply.

Visit Intern Program web site

Watch Intern Program video


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