The Rest of the Ballot: “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people” – John Adams

By Connor Tee

It’s easy to forget in this current political climate that there’s more to the ballot than just the presidency. In addition to a large number of judges, there are representatives and senators, both at the state and federal. There are also various other elected government positions, from the superintendent of public education to the insurance commissioner. And we are also given the opportunity to vote on the fate of any number of initiatives, resolutions, and advisory votes every year. These non-legislative votes will be the focus of this article. We at the Ebbtide implore you to go beyond what we present here and form your own meaningful opinions on all the items on your ballot, laws and candidates alike, even and especially if you don’t fully understand them or their positions. Read your voters pamphlets, hear from both sides, discuss with your friends and family, find reputable endorsements that match your values. One way or another, every bubble you choose to fill or not fill has an effect on your life.

***For and Against endorsements are not comprehensive.
See page 15 for one man’s opinion.

Washington State:

Initiative 1433

This measure would increase the state minimum wage to $11 in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019, and $13.50 in 2020, require employers to provide paid sick leave, and adopt related laws.
For: various citizens (including low-wage workers, EMTs, nurses), Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Cafe Affogato, Hoesly EcoAutomotive.
Against: various independent business owners, high ranking members of the Washington Farm Bureau, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Zip’s Drive-In, the president/CEO of the Association of Washington Business.

Initiative 1464

This measure would create 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.

For: League of Women Voters of Washington, Spokane City Council President, co-founder of Seattle Tea Party Patriots, a current Democratic state representative, the former director of Fix Democracy First faith action network, a former State Superintendent.

Against: former state auditor (D), former Washington state attorney general (R), a Democratic party activist for education funding, a former U.S. senator and attorney general, former Washington secretary of state.

Initiative 1491

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.

For: various domestic abuse and gun violence survivors, the King County sheriff, YWCA of Spokane, Valley Cities Behavioral Health Care, a retired Washington state supreme court justice.

Against: mental health advocates, journalists, a mother and educator, a state senator (D), a state representative (R).

Initiative 732

This measure would impose a carbon emission tax on certain fossil fuels and fossil fuel generated electricity, reduce the sales tax by one percent and increase the low-income exemption, as well as reduce certain manufacturing taxes.

For: UW professor of atmospheric sciences, former president of Starbucks, former chairman of Washington Utility Commision & Consumer Reports, a former WA state senate majority leader (R), a former WA Department of Commerce director, a co-chair of Energy & Environment at Singularity University.

Against: One America, Got Green, the Washington State Labor Council, Community to Community, a Tukwila city council member, Puget Sound SAGE.

Initiative 735

This measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment stating that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and that constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

For: Washington Coalition to Amend the Constitution, Fix Democracy First, Spokane city council president, former superior court judge, a state senator/founder of One America.

Against: self-proclaimed First Amendment protectors.

Advisory votes

When the state legislature passes certain bills, they have to ask the people for their opinion on it. This process merely tells lawmakers how the public feels, but in no way mandates that they follow their suggestions of repealing or maintaining.

Advisory Vote 14

The legislature extended the insurance premium tax to some insurance for stand-alone family dental plans, costing an indeterminate amount in the first ten years, for government spending.

Advisory Vote 15

The legislature imposed certain limitations on the retail sales and use tax exemptions for clean alternative-fuel vehicles, costing $2 million in the first ten years, for government spending.