Republican Lawmakers Growing More Frustrated Over Initiative Stalemate
Republican lawmakers in Olympia are becoming increasingly disquieted about what they say is a lack of progress in addressing several initiatives during this year's legislative sessions.
The conservative group, Let's Go Washington, brought the bevy of initiatives before lawmakers after collecting millions of signatures from the state's registered voters to qualify them for consideration.
"Not every state has an initiative process," says 12th District Rep. Mike Steele (R-Chelan). "In order to qualify an initiative it takes over four-hundred-thousand people to tell us they want us to take up an issue and it must be certified by the Secretary of State. Then, after it makes it over all of those hurdles, it comes to the legislature and our constitution says once it arrives, it will come before every other piece of business."
Many of the initiatives are asking for the repeal of numerous laws which have passed the legislature in recent years, including those involving tighter restrictions on police pursuits; additional fuel taxes created by the Climate Commitment Act; and the implementation of a tax on capital gains of more than $250,000.
There are also initiatives which seek to allow Washingtonians to opt out of the state's Long Term Care Trust Act, prevent the adoption of a state income tax, and allowing parents to withhold their children from the state's comprehensive sexual education curriculum.
Steele says when added all up, the initiatives prove that many residents are fed up with recent and current policymaking decisions by the state's Democratic lawmakers.
"People are frustrated. When you pull up to the pump, and it's a dollar more on average than any other state in the nation, people recognize that. I think we've ignored the voice of the people for too long, and that's what these initiatives represent. People are starting to get really fed up with some of these progressive policies that are making the lives of Washingtonians more difficult to live."
Steele says the prevailing reason that's been given by the state's largely Democratic governing body for essentially ignoring the initiatives is they simply have more important matters at hand.
Should lawmakers fail to act on the initiatives during the current legislative session, they will all be headed to the ballot for a vote of the people in November.
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