State initiative advocate Tim Eyman is at it again—this time with a petition that addresses the petitioning process itself.
I-517, titled the Protect the Initiative Act, lengthens the amount of time signatures can be gathered from six to 12 months. It also broadens the legal definition of disorderly conduct to include interference or retaliation against a signature-gatherer and requires that all valid initiatives appear on the ballot.
This section may not be construed in any way to impede the right to legal review of the sufficiency of valid voter signatures or post-election legal review; however, under no circumstances may an initiative be prohibited from submission to the people for a vote if sufficient valid voter signatures are submitted.
A PDF of the complete initiative is attached to this post.
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Eyman submitted about 345,000 signatures for I-517 to the secretary of state's office on Thursday, according to KING 5. A total of 241,153 valid signatures must be submitted for a measure to qualify for the ballot.
Eyman sued the City of Redmond last year when officials failed to hand over signatures collected against the city's red-light camera program. A King County judge later tossed out the lawsuit, citing a previous legal ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals that had determined red-light cameras are not valid matters for initiative.
Eyman is continuing to fight the King County ruling through the Washington Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled that voters don't have the right to repeal red-light programs, and the City of Redmond has removed its four cameras.
In a statement he emailed to local news media, Eyman specifically linked I-517 to his legal struggles with red-light camera initiatives in Mukilteo, Monroe, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Longview and Redmond.
"In every one of those campaigns, no money was raised or spent for their signature drives," Eyman said. "But once our initiatives were filed and/or qualified for the ballot, we were forced to 'lawyer up' because each initiative faced costly lawsuits seeking to prevent the people from voting."