ballot initiatives

Austin Jenkins

Over the years, Washington lawmakers have pondered ways to rein in the state’s initiative process. Now comes a ballot measure designed to make it easier to qualify for the ballot. Retailers and grocers are waving the “no” signs. But it’s Washington voters who will decide this initiative on initiatives next month.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

Washington voters will decide this fall whether foods that contain genetically-engineered ingredients must carry a special label.

Initiative 522 is similar to a California measure that failed last fall. But so far, the race for political contributions is shaping up quite differently. 

Frank Kovalchek

Alaska Air Group is trying to quash a ballot initiative in the city of SeaTac that would hike wages for airport ground crew and other workers. 

The initiative would set a $15 per-hour minimum wage for hospitality and transportation workers in SeaTac—people at the airport like baggage handlers and folks who push wheelchairs, as well as hotel workers and employees at rental car companies.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Workers at Sea-Tac Airport are trying to get a big pay raise by way of a ballot initiative. If approved, the increase would put them 60 percent over the state’s minimum wage of $9.19 per hour.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Democrats say it’s a victory for democracy. Republicans call it a defeat for taxpayers. In a major decision Thursday, the Washington Supreme Court tossed out the state’s two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes. In a 6-3 decision, the court ruled that the voter-approved law violates a provision of the Washington state constitution that requires a simple majority vote in the state legislature to approve bills.

Seka Ojdrovic-Phillips / KPLU

With ballots and voters’ guides in-hand, it’s time to narrow in on the issues. For those who prefer an interactive way to exchange opinions on the ballot measures, there’s the Living Voters Guide, sponsored by Seattle CityClub and the University of Washington.

Statewide initiatives on the Washington ballot have many people here still studying up and wondering how to vote. Registered voters have about a week left to make up their minds. Two of the most talked about issues are whether to get rid of state-run liquor stores and on how highway tolls can be spent. A survey of voters, done by researchers at the University of Washington, offers some insight into what voters might decide after all the votes are tallied.

The statewide Washington Poll, put together by UW political science Professor Matt Barreto, says the liquor privatization measure, I-1183, will likely pass because it has the hit the crucial tipping point of 50 percent. Barreto's poll says only 43 percent of those surveyed opposed the measure.

Joel Goodman / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The fight to privatize liquor sales in Washington just got a lot more expensive. Costco has dumped another $9 million into the Yes on Initiative 1183 campaign.

That brings the wholesale giant’s total spending to more than $22 million – a state record for a ballot measure.

Northwest News Network

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Usually, high dollar political contributors let their money do the talking. They write big checks to campaigns, but otherwise stay behind the scenes. Not so with Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman. He’s become the money and the mouth behind Tim Eyman’s latest initiative – to limit highway tolling.

Seattle voters will face a proposed car tab fee on the November ballot. The city council has unanimously agreed to ask for an additional $60 annually for the next 10 years to help pay for road and transit projects. 

The news comes just a day after the King County Council added a temporary $20 car tab fee to maintain bus service.

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Animal welfare groups in Oregon and Washington are shelving initiative petition drives that could have required egg producers to give hens more spacious cages.

The Humane Society of the United States says it's hatched a surprise national agreement with the egg industry for the treatment of chickens on farms. This comes as a ballot measure drive in Oregon for the 2012 election was getting started.