Three of the six citizen's Initiatives to the Washington State Legislature will receive public hearings next week.  The initiatives were signed by over 2.5 million registered voters in Washington and were sent to lawmakers for their consideration during the current legislative session.

The House Speaker Laurie Jinkins and Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig confirmed on Friday that Initiative 2113 on police pursuits, I-2111 regarding a state income tax and I-2081 addressing parental rights will be scheduled for joint public hearings Feb. 27th and 28th.

Three other initiatives to the legislature will not receive hearings, according the Jinkins and Billig.  I-2117 would repeal the Climate Commitment Act.  I-2109 ends the capital gains tax, and I-2124, allowing the ability to opt-out of Washington’s long-term care retirement program.  Since the legislature is declining to offer hearings, voters will decide their fate on the November ballot.

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Billig and Jinkins issued a joint statement Friday on why three initiatives will not receive hearings.

“The three initiatives we are not taking action on would have a dire effect on the day to day lives of every single Washingtonian. These initiatives would dramatically decrease quality of life and devastate progress on K-12 education, childcare, clean air, clean water, climate action, and aging with dignity – matters that are important to people across the state. The fiscal notes on I-2109 and I-2117 confirm this and we expect the final fiscal note on I-2124 to reveal the same.

“There is not support for any idea that would fundamentally weaken childcare, early learning and K-12 education, reduce efforts to protect clean air and clean water, or remove the state’s program that will help seniors to age in place and live with dignity.

“Washington voters will hear a lot between now and November on any initiatives that end up on the ballot. It will be up to them to decide what sort of state they want to live in. For example, they’ll have the chance to choose between tax cuts for the super-rich or affordable childcare for families across Washington.

“The effect of the remaining three initiatives is less obvious. Hearings will allow us to gather more information and hear from the public and others so that we can make informed decisions. These initiatives will have a lasting effect on all Washingtonians. It is crucial we have every bit of information available and at our disposal so that we fully understand the consequences – both intended and not – of these initiatives and the ways they will affect the lives of every Washingtonian.”

The group Lets Go Washington gathered 2.6 million signatures to bring the six initiatives to the legislature.  These are different than initiatives that qualify to go direct to the ballot in November.  The citizen's initiatives to the legislature requires lawmakers to adopt, reject or propose an alternative to any of the six measures.  Rejecting them outright or failing to take action by the end of the legislative session sends the initiatives directly to the general election ballot this November along with any proposals lawmakers craft as an alternative option for voters to consider.

Lets Go Washington founder Brian Heywood issued a response to the decision that measures on  police pursuits, a state income tax and parental rights will get hearings.

In a news release reported by The Center Square, Heywood said “The fact Democrats in the Legislature have scheduled three hearings is a step in the right direction,"

"Next, they need to pass those three initiatives into law to stop an income tax, restore reasonable police pursuit, and reestablish parents as the primary stakeholders in their children’s lives."

Heywood had harsh criticism for the decision to deny hearings for the 3 initiatives that won't get hearings in Olympia.

“At the same time, voters who signed these initiatives have been asking why only these three are getting hearings," Heywood said. "What about the hidden gas tax, the hidden income tax, and the mandatory payroll tax."

“It is intriguing to me that the pet projects of [Gov.] Jay Inslee and his crony union bosses won’t be getting hearings. Voters have said that all six of these issues are important, and they deserve to be heard.”

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Gallery Credit: Ryan Antoinette Valenzuela


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