Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Initiatives: Many are filed, but few are sane

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on May 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
May 31, 2010 11:29 am

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Initiatives. Pity the state that lacks the political entertainment.

A few of this year’s bumper crop of ballot measures have gotten all the media, including Tim Eyman’s anti-tax measures, and proposals to create an income tax and legalize marijuana.

Also Initiative 1069, the brainchild of Orting’s James E. Vaughn, which would “require the Seal of the State of Washington to be changed to depict a vignette of a tapeworm dressed in a three- piece suit attached to the lower intestine of a taxpayer shown as the central figure.”

But those are just the beginning. Dozens and dozens of initiatives – an all-time record – have been registered with the secretary of state’s office this year. Some of the high points (or low points, if you prefer):

I-1056 would outdo Arizona by requiring all “state and local agencies to assist in enforcing federal immigration laws.” Also, all “private and public employers would be required to ‘E-Verify’ immigration status of employees …” Also “nonprofit organizations would be prohibited from offering employment services without proof of immigration status.”

Hard core.

I-1058 would require the teaching of and testing on the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Washington Constitution, Lincoln’s first inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address, plus a few other seminal documents, as a prerequisite to graduation from high school.
Not a bad idea, really, but you’d hope this is happening already.

A string of states’ rights initiatives comes out of what seems to be a mini-Confederate States of America in Liberty Lake.

One would require the state to seize some federal taxes and hold or release them “depending on whether the federal government is acting in a constitutional manner.”

Another would prevent the FBI or other federal agents “from acting without the sheriff’s permission … subject to criminal charges.”

Another “would declare federal laws invalid in Washington that directly regulate, or potentially indirectly regulate, health care in specified ways …”

Yet another “would repeal all laws adopted in 2010, other than initiatives, that were ineligible for referendum; and undo all changes to state law based on, or made possible by, the repealed laws.”

Let’s not overlook I-1072, which “would authorize people to sell and provide alcoholic beverages to persons age nineteen and older …”

The sponsor turns out to be a student at Washington State University. The school that pioneered the beer riot. Goofy.

Only a few of these initiatives will actually reach the ballot. Thank heaven.

The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for Report violators to