Washington, USA, regional Popular or citizen-initiated referendum [PCR] - Referendum

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizen-initiated referendum [PCR]
Location
Washington, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Referendum
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article II 

SECTION 1 LEGISLATIVE POWERS, WHERE VESTED.

The legislative authority of the state of Washington shall be vested in the legislature, consisting of a senate and house of representatives, which shall be called the legislature of the state of Washington, but the people reserve to themselves the power to propose bills, laws, and to enact or reject the same at the polls, independent of the legislature, and also reserve power, at their own option, to approve or reject at the polls any act, item, section, or part of any bill, act, or law passed by the legislature. 

(..)

(b) Referendum. The second power reserved by the people is the referendum, and it may be ordered on any act, bill, law, or any part thereof passed by the legislature, except such laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institutions, either by petition signed by the required percentage of the legal voters, or by he legislature as other bills are enacted: Provided, That the legislature may not order a referendum on any initiative measure enacted by the legislature under the foregoing subsection
(a). The number of valid signatures of registered voters required on a petition for referendum of an act of the legislature or any part thereof, shall be equal to or exceeding four percent of the votes cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of the text of the referendum measure with the secretary of state.
(c) No act, law, or bill subject to referendum shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was enacted. No act, law, or bill approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon shall be amended or repealed by the legislature within a period of two years following such enactment: Provided, That any such act, law, or bill may be amended within two years after such enactment at any regular or special session of the legislature by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house with full compliance with section 12, Article III, of the Washington Constitution, and no amendatory law adopted in accordance with this provision shall be subject to referendum. But such enactment may be amended or repealed at any general regular or special election by direct vote of the people thereon.
(d) The filing of a referendum petition against one or more items, sections, or parts of any act, law, or bill shall not delay the remainder of the measure from becoming operative. Referendum petitions against measures passed by the legislature shall be filed with the secretary of state not later than ninety days after the final adjournment of the session of the legislature which passed the measure on which the referendum is demanded. The veto power of the governor shall not extend to measures initiated by or referred to the people. All elections on measures referred to the people of the state shall be had at the next succeeding regular general election following the filing of the measure with the secretary of state, except when the legislature shall order a special election.
Any measure initiated by the people or referred to the people as herein provided shall take effect and become the law if it is approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon: Provided, That the vote cast upon such question or measure shall equal one-third of the total votes cast at such election and not otherwise. Such measure shall be in operation on and after the thirtieth day after the election at which it is approved. The style of all bills proposed by initiative petition shall be: "Be it enacted by the people of the State of Washington." This section shall not be construed to deprive any member of the legislature of the right to introduce any measure. All such petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state, who shall be guided by the general laws in submitting the same to the people until additional legislation shall especially provide therefor. This section is self-executing, but legislation may be enacted especially to facilitate its operation.
(e) The legislature shall provide methods of publicity of all laws or parts of laws, and amendments to the Constitution referred to the people with arguments for and against the laws and amendments so referred. The secretary of state shall send one copy of the publication to each individual place of residence in the state and shall make such additional distribution as he shall determine necessary to reasonably assure that each voter will have an opportunity to study the measures prior to election.

SECTION 41 LAWS, EFFECTIVE DATE, INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM AMENDMENT OR REPEAL.
No act, law, or bill subject to referendum shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was enacted. No act, law or bill approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon shall be amended or repealed by the legislature within a period of two years following such enactment: Provided, That any such act, law or bill may be amended within two years after such enactment at any regular or special session of the legislature by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house with full compliance with section 12, Article III, of the Washington Constitution, and no amendatory law adopted in accordance with this provision shall be subject to referendum. But such enactment may be amended or repealed at any general regular or special election by direct vote of the people thereon. These provisions supersede the provisions of subsection (c) of section 1 of this article as amended by the seventh amendment to the Constitution of this state. [AMENDMENT 26, 1951

SECTION 41 LAWS, EFFECTIVE DATE, INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM AMENDMENT OR REPEAL.
No act, law, or bill subject to referendum shall take effect until ninety days after the adjournment of the session at which it was enacted. No act, law or bill approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon shall be amended or repealed by the legislature within a period of two years following such enactment: Provided, That any such act, law or bill may be amended within two years after such enactment at any regular or special session of the legislature by a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house with full compliance with section 12, Article III, of the Washington Constitution, and no amendatory law adopted in accordance with this provision shall be subject to referendum. But such enactment may be amended or repealed at any general regular or special election by direct vote of the people thereon. These provisions supersede the provisions of subsection (c) of section 1 of this article as amended by the seventh amendment to the Constitution of this state. [AMENDMENT 26, 1951

References: Constitution of Washington, 1889 (accessed Sept. 22, 2017)

Subject Matter:

Referendum ordered on any act, bill, law, or any part thereof passed by the legislature

Actors

Author:
Legislature
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Equal to or exceeding four percent of the votes cast
Available Time:
90 days after passed by legislature
Turnout Quorum:
1/3rd of total votes cast
Approval Quorum:
Majority of votes cast
Geographical Quorum:
No geographical quorum found in legal source
Excluded Issues:

Laws as may be necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety, support of the state government and its existing public institution

Other Formal Requirements:

RCW 29A.72.130 Referendum petitions--Form. Petitions ordering that acts or parts of acts passed by the legislature be referred to the people at the next ensuing general election, or special election ordered by the legislature, must be substantially in the following form:
The warning prescribed by RCW 29A.72.140; followed by:
PETITION FOR REFERENDUM
To the Honorable . . . . . ., Secretary of State of the State of Washington:
We, the undersigned citizens and legal voters of the State of Washington, respectfully order and direct that Referendum Measure No. . . . . ., filed to revoke a (or part or parts of a) bill that (concise statement required by RCW 29A.36.071) and that was passed by the . . . . . . legislature of the State of Washington at the last regular (special) session of said legislature, shall be referred to the people of the state for their approval or rejection at the regular (special) election to be held on the . . . . day of November, (year); and each of us for himself or herself says: I have personally signed this petition; I am a legal voter of the State of Washington, in the city (or town) and county written after my name, my residence address is correctly stated, and I have knowingly signed this petition only once.
The following declaration must be printed on the reverse side of the petition:
I, . . . . . . . . . . . ., swear or affirm under penalty of law that I circulated this sheet of the foregoing petition, and that, to the best of my knowledge, every person who signed this sheet of the foregoing petition knowingly and without any compensation or promise of compensation willingly signed his or her true name and that the information provided therewith is true and correct. I further acknowledge that under chapter 29A.84 RCW, forgery of signatures on this petition constitutes a class C felony, and that offering any consideration or gratuity to any person to induce them to sign a petition is a gross misdemeanor, such violations being punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.
RCW 9A.46.020 applies to any conduct constituting harassment against a petition signature gatherer. This penalty does not preclude the victim from seeking any other remedy otherwise available under law.
The petition must include a place for each petitioner to sign and print his or her name, and the address, city, and county at which he or she is registered to vote. [2005 c 239 § 3; 2003 c 111 § 1814; 1993 c 256 § 10; 1982 c 116 § 11; 1965 c 9 § 29.79.110. Prior: 1913 c 138 § 7, part; RRS § 5403, part. Formerly RCW 29.79.110.]
RCW 29A.72.140 Warning statement--Further requirements.
The word "warning" and the following warning statement regarding signing petitions must appear on petitions as prescribed by this title and must be printed on each petition sheet such that they occupy not less than four square inches of the front of the petition sheet.
WARNING
Every person who signs this petition with any other than his or her true name, knowingly signs more than one of these petitions, signs this petition when he or she is not a legal voter, or makes any false statement on this petition may be punished by fine or imprisonment or both.

References: Washington State Statutes TITLE 29A RCW ELECTIONS (accessed Sept.22, 2017)

Procedural Elements

Collection Mode:
free
Specify Collection Mode:
Wording Of Ballot Question:

RCW 29A.72.050 Ballot title--Formulation, ballot display.
(5) For a referendum measure by state voters on a bill the legislature has passed, the ballot issue must be displayed on the ballot substantially as follows:
"The legislature passed . . . Bill No. . . . concerning (statement of subject) and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill. This bill would (concise description). Should this bill be:
Approved ...o
Rejected ...o
"
(6) The legislature may specify the statement of subject or concise description, or both, in a referendum bill that it refers to the people. The legislature may specify the concise description for an alternative it submits for an initiative to the legislature. If the legislature fails to specify these matters, the attorney general shall prepare the material that was not specified. The statement of subject and concise description as so provided must be included as part of the ballot title unless changed on appeal.
The attorney general shall specify the statement of subject and concise description for an initiative to the people, an initiative to the legislature, and a referendum measure. The statement of subject and concise description as so provided must be included as part of the ballot title unless changed on appeal.
[2003 c 111 § 1806. Prior: 2000 c 197 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.79.035.]

RCW 29A.72.060 Ballot title and summary by attorney general. Within five days after the receipt of an initiative or referendum the attorney general shall formulate the ballot title, or portion of the ballot title that the legislature has not provided, required by RCW 29A.72.050 and a summary of the measure, not to exceed seventy-five words, and transmit the serial number for the measure, complete ballot title, and summary to the secretary of state. Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays are not counted in calculating the time limits in this section.

Interaction With Authorities:

RCW 29A.72.170 Petitions--Acceptance or rejection by secretary of state.
The secretary of state may refuse to file any initiative or referendum petition being submitted upon any of the following grounds:
(1) That the petition does not contain the information required by RCW 29A.72.110, 29A.72.120, or 29A.72.130.
(2) That the petition clearly bears insufficient signatures.
(3) That the time within which the petition may be filed has expired. In case of such refusal, the secretary of state shall endorse on the petition the word "submitted" and the date, and retain the petition pending appeal.
If none of the grounds for refusal exists, the secretary of state must accept and file the petition. [2003 c 111 § 1818; 1982 c 116 § 13; 1965 c 9 § 29.79.150. Prior: (i) 1913 c 138 § 11, part; RRS § 5407, part. (ii) 1913 c 138 § 12, part; RRS § 5408, part. Formerly RCW 29.79.150.]

RCW 29A.72.180 Petitions--Review of refusal to file.
If the secretary of state refuses to file an initiative or referendum petition when submitted for filing, the persons submitting it for filing may, within ten days after the refusal, apply to the superior court of Thurston county for an order requiring the secretary of state to bring the petitions before the court, and for a writ of mandate to compel the secretary of state to file it. The application takes precedence over other cases and matters and must be speedily heard and determined.
If the court issues the citation, and determines that the petition is legal in form and apparently contains the requisite number of signatures and was submitted for filing within the time prescribed in the Constitution, it shall issue its mandate requiring the secretary of state to file it as of the date of submission for filing.
The decision of the superior court granting a writ of mandate is final. [2003 c 111 § 1819; 1965 c 9 § 29.79.160. Prior: 1913 c 138 § 13, part; RRS § 5409, part. Formerly RCW 29.79.160.]

RCW 29A.72.230 Petitions--Verification and canvass of signatures, observers--Statistical sampling--Initiatives to legislature, certification of.
Upon the filing of an initiative or referendum petition, the secretary of state shall proceed to verify and canvass the names of the legal voters on the petition.
The verification and canvass of signatures on the petition may be observed by persons representing the advocates and opponents of the proposed measure so long as they make no record of the names, addresses, or other information on the petitions or related records during the verification process except upon the order of the superior court of Thurston county. The secretary of state may limit the number of observers to not less than two on each side, if in his or her opinion, a greater number would cause undue delay or disruption of the verification process. Any such limitation shall apply equally to both sides. The secretary of state may use any statistical sampling techniques for this verification and canvass which have been adopted by rule as provided by chapter 34.05 RCW. No petition will be rejected on the basis of any statistical method employed, and no petition will be accepted on the basis of any statistical method employed if such method indicates that the petition contains fewer than the requisite number of signatures of legal voters. If the secretary of state finds the same name signed to more than one petition, he or she shall reject all but the first such valid signature. For an initiative to the legislature, the secretary of state shall transmit a certified copy of the proposed measure to the legislature at the opening of its session and, as soon as the signatures on the petition have been verified and canvassed, the secretary of state shall send to the legislature a certificate of the facts relating to the filing, verification, and canvass of the petition. [2003 c 111 § 1823. Prior: 1993 c 368 § 1; 1982 c 116 § 15; 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 105; 1969 ex.s. c 107 § 1; 1965 c 9 § 29.79.200; prior: 1933 c 144 § 1; 1913 c 138 § 15; RRS § 5411. Formerly RCW 29.79.200.]

References: Washington State Statutes TITLE 29A RCW ELECTIONS (accessed Sept.22, 2017)

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: