Eyman’s latest would also aid other initiative drives

The kingpin of Washington initiatives is out to defend and expand the political realm he rules.

And give residents help in unplugging red-light cameras as well.

Thursday, Tim Eyman plans to turn in petitions for Initiative 517 which would give signature-gatherers more time, locations and legal protections for exercising their craft.

As proposed, sponsors of initiatives would gain an extra six months to collect signatures and those found to be harassing a petitioner could face criminal charges.

The measure would etch into state law the ability to circulate petitions inside public buildings such as sports stadiums, convention centers, city halls, fairgrounds and the Capitol.

And, most importantly to Eyman, all state and local measures receiving enough signatures must be placed on the ballot. No longer will elected officials or corporate lawyers be able to use the courts to try to block a vote on something they don’t like.

Eyman’s motives stem specifically from his battles against red-light camera use in Mukilteo, Monroe and other cities since 2010. Seven times, Eyman said, camera opponents qualified measures aimed at curbing their use and each time city councils or camera supporters sued to impede their path to the ballot.

“It’s not just red-light cameras, although that’s my driving motivation behind this thing,” Eyman said of the initiative in November.

I-517 is an initiative to the Legislature which means it will get handled like the marijuana legalization measure. If Eyman turns in enough valid signatures of registered voters, the measure will be sent to lawmakers who can adopt it or ignore it and let it go to the ballot. They also could put an alternative on the ballot as a competing measure.

He figures lawmakers will punt it to the ballot as they did with the marijuana initiative.

Then Eyman, who recorded a resounding ballot box victory against taxes in November with passage of Initiative 1185, may have to overcome an ally in that fight to succeed.

The Washington Retail Association is concerned I-517 gives paid petitioners carte blanche to operate in and around their stores.

They fret about language guaranteeing protection for circulation of petitions on “all sidewalks and walkways that carry pedestrian traffic, including those in front of the entrances and exits of any store.”

WRA leaders are talking about supporting an alternative from lawmakers or on their own.

It is “an onerous proposal that puts private property owners at risk of lawsuits for not allowing Eyman’s signature gatherers to be anywhere they want to be on our property,” Jan Teague, the association president and chief executive officer, wrote in the group’s November newsletter.

“I could see these signature gatherers going so far as to be in the store, or at cash registers bogging down the lines, or at consumers’ cars in the parking lots,” she wrote.

Eyman said nothing in the initiative enables a petitioner to operate inside a store as Teague described.

State Supreme Court rulings make clear gathering signatures at regional malls and large supermarkets are constitutionally protected and the initiative only seeks to chisel those protections into law, Eyman said.

What is new is making sure the practice is guaranteed as well inside and outside of public buildings, he said.

“If the taxpayers are paying for it, you should have access to it,” he said, noting petitioners would still have to buy a ticket if they wanted to solicit fans at, say, a Seahawks or Mariners game.

Taxpayers also are WRA customers and Teague doesn’t want that to be forgotten in this pending political tussle.

“The time has come to bring customer rights and property rights into the picture,” she said. “We know it’s time to focus public policy on a balance that respects citizens’ rights to petition their government with other citizens’ rights to not be harassed in public.”

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623 or jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Pride flag vandalism raises concerns on Whidbey Island

Reports of theft involving LGBTQ+ pride-themed displays have increased around South Whidbey.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As deadly overdoses decline, Snohomish County builds on what’s working

Opioid-related deaths have decreased 20% compared to this time last year. Local health officials say there’s “still much work to do.”

Police blocked off southbound I-5 near Marine View Drive in Everett after an “incident” blocked the roadway on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
None injured in shooting that closed I-5 south in Everett

The shooting shut down traffic on the freeway Wednesday near Marine View Drive, causing a major backup.

Edmonds City Council members answer questions during an Edmonds City Council Town Hall on Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds begins process to join South County Fire

To avoid a lapse in services, the city will likely come to voters in April asking for their final approval.

A man led police on a high speed chase through north Snohomish County on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
New public database answers Snohomish County’s pressing crime questions

Prosecutor Jason Cummings hopes the database can give a better understanding of the local criminal justice system.

PUD employee Kyle Tucker opens part of the breaker system at the Jennings Park Substation in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
With eye on growing county, PUD replaces aging Marysville substation

The $8.4 million project north of Jennings Park is expected to be finished in October. It’s one part of a 10-year PUD plan.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.