Update: March 6th We submitted a letter (click this link to open: SDvsElections-Pro-Con v1) to the WA House Reps for the 17th; 18th and 49th LD’s asking for their help on this issue. Feel free to reach out to your legislators as well and share your thoughts.
The Washington House Bill 1272 is progressing through the process. Please consider using the link below to register your vote AGAINST the following section of the bill. If you want to make sure that both sides are heard tell them to stop this proposed revision.
What is the change?
- Currently if no one wants to write a yes or no position statement on a school bond or levy the State says anyone can offer to write the statement…no matter where they live. In the past year some Counties have created restrictions saying you can only write a position if you live in the County. There is no special effort required to find people to write the Pro or Con statement.
- The proposed change is to require a person to live within the jurisdiction to write a statement. Specifically here’s the proposed change language:
- The authority shall appoint persons that reside within the jurisdictional boundaries and are known to favor the measure to serve on the committee advocating approval and shall, whenever possible, appoint persons that reside within the jurisdictional boundaries and are known to oppose the measure to serve on the committee advocating rejection. Each committee shall have not more than three members, 4 however, a committee may seek the advice of any person or persons. If the legislative authority of a unit of local government fails to make such appointments by the prescribed deadline, the county auditor shall (whenever possible make the appointments) issue a media release and publish information on the auditor’s election website announcing the opportunity to form committees and provide statements. If the legislative authority is unable to make appointments, the auditor shall make appointments on a first-come, first-served basis if qualified committee members contact the auditor by the appropriate deadline. If no statement is produced, the auditor shall include a statement in the pamphlet stating that no person in the jurisdiction contacted the auditor to provide a statement, and there are no statements for that measure.
Why is this important?
- Someone needs to share the opposing view (whether Pro or Con). This wording means that the chances of no one writing the Con position increase. If the jurisdiction fails to find someone to write a position why shouldn’t someone (no matter where they live) be able to share information? This is a subtle attempt to stop people from sharing information so voters have a full view and not just one position.
Is this really an issue?
- Yes. Take a few minutes to review the information in this link: Recommended Policy Changes Regarding Local Voters’ Pamphlets And Property Tax Impact Analyses For Local Property Tax Measures | The School Data Project As you will see there is already an effort afoot to block opposition statements from being provided.
Here are links for your consideration:
- Here’s the current version of the Bill: 1272-S2.pdf (wa.gov)
- Here’s a link to the Bill’s page where you can click (upper right) to comment about the bill: Washington State Legislature