Key issues for state on the ballot for Nov. 8
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff
Election Day is coming up with ballots due Tuesday, Nov. 8. While the national races that are garnering plenty of attention, the Washington State ballot will have several important initiatives that you should look at. Here’s a general summary of each initiative proposed in this election’s voter’s pamphlet.
Initiative Measure No. 1433 – Raising the State Minimum Wage
This initiative would raise the state minimum wage to $11 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020 requiring employers to provide paid sick leave and adopt related laws.
Currently, Washington’s minimum wage for employees who are at least 18 years is $9.47 per hour for 2016. This initiative would increase the hourly minimum wage over four years. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018 employers would be required to provide paid sick leave to employees.
Initiative Measure No. 1464 – Campaign Finance Laws and Lobbyists
This measure would creature a campaign-finance system, allow residents to direct state funds to candidates, repeal the non-resident sales-tax exemption, restrict lobbying employment by certain former public employees, and add enforcement requirements.
Currently, candidates for elected offices pay for their campaigns through private contributions and their own money. State law limits some contribution amounts.
These limits apply to contributions from individuals, corporations, unions and political action committees. The contribution limit for legislative candidates is $1,000 per election. For statewide offices and judicial offices the contribution limit is $2,000 per election.
Initiative Measure No. 1491 – Court-Issued Extreme Risk Protection Orders Temporarily Prevent Access to Firearms
This measure would allow police, family or household members to obtain court orders temporarily preventing firearms access by persons exhibiting mental illness, violent or other behavior indicating they may harm themselves or others.
Currently, Washington law provides civil protection orders during criminal cases and other circumstances where a person can show he or she is in danger from another person. That person with a protection order may be required to surrender their firearms.
The new initiative would allow courts to issue “extreme risk protection orders.” They would prevent a person who poses a significant danger to himself/herself or others from possessing or accessing firearms.
Initiative No. 1501 – Seniors and Vulnerable Individuals
The measure would increase the penalties for criminal identity theft and civil consumer fraud targeted at seniors or vulnerable individuals. It would exempt certain information of vulnerable individuals and in-home caregivers from public disclosure.
Currently, identity theft is a class C felony unless the theft is valued over $1,500, then it is considered a class B felony which means longer maximum prison sentences and higher fines.
The measure would increase the criminal penalty for identity theft when a senior or vulnerable individual is targeted to a class B felony. It would also increase civil penalties for consumer fraud.
Initiative No. 732 – Carbon Tax
This measure would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil-fuel-generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percentage point and increase low-income exemption, and reduce certain manufacturing taxes.
Currently the sales tax is imposed on retail sales of most articles of personal property, digital products and some services. The current sales tax is 6.5 percent.
Right now there is no state tax on carbon dioxide emissions in Washington.
The initiative would create a new tax and reduce certain existing taxes. It would impose a new “carbon emission tax” that applies to the sale or use of certain fossil fuels and electricity generated from fossil fuels. It would also reduce the state sales tax rate, the business and occupation tax rate on manufacturing and the fund a partial sales tax exemption for low-income families.
Initiative No. 735 – Constitutional Rights For Individuals, Not Corporations
This measure would urge Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.
Currently, the United States constitution gives corporations the right to independently spend money to support or oppose candidates.
The measure would urge Washington’s lawmakers to propose a joint resolution to amend the United States Constitution. The Amendment would hold that only individuals could spend money as free speech and that the governments are fully empowered to regulate political contributions and expenditures to prevent undue influence on government and those contributions and expenditures must be promptly disclosed to the public.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We highly recommend that you read your voter’s pamphlet. There is much, much more information on each initiative along with opposing viewpoints of why you should or shouldn’t vote for an initiative. If we were to run that information in our paper, it would take a whole month of Independents. So please do your homework and read your voter’s pamphlet.
You can download that pamphlet online at…