Washington, USA, regional Popular or citizens initiative [PCI] - Initiative to the people

General Typology

Instrument
Popular or citizens initiative [PCI]
Location
Washington, USA
Political level
regional
Local Name:
Initiative to the people
Normative Level:
constitutional
Legally Binding:
yes
Legally Defined:

Article II
SECTION 34 SAME.
(..)
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.
(a) Initiative: The first power reserved by the people is the initiative. Every such petition shall include the full text of the measure so proposed. In the case of (..) initiatives to the people, the number of valid signatures of legal voters required shall be equal to eight percent of the votes cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election preceding the initial filing of the text of the initiative measure with the secretary of state. Initiative petitions shall be filed with the secretary of state not less than four months before the election at which they are to be voted upon, (..) If filed at least four months before the election at which they are to be voted upon, he shall submit the same to the vote of the people at the said 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. (..)

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

RCW 29A.72.010 Filing proposed measures with secretary of state.
If any legal voter of the state, either individually or on behalf of an organization, desires to petition the legislature to enact a proposed measure, or submit a proposed initiative measure to the people, or order that a referendum of all or part of any act, bill, or law, passed by the legislature be submitted to the people, he or she shall file with the secretary of state a legible copy of the measure proposed, or the act or part of such act on which a referendum is desired, accompanied by an affidavit that the sponsor is a legal voter and a filing fee prescribed under RCW 43.07.120. [2003 c 111 1802; 1982 c 116 1; 1965 c 9 29.79.010. Prior: 1913 c 138 1, part; RRS 5397, part. Formerly RCW 29.79.010.]

RCW 29A.72.020 Review of proposed initiatives--Certificate required.
Upon receipt of a proposed initiative measure, and before giving it a serial number, the secretary of state shall submit a copy thereof to the office of the code reviser and give notice to the sponsor of such transmittal. Upon receipt of the measure, the assistant code reviser to whom it has been assigned may confer with the sponsor and shall within seven working days from its receipt, review the proposal and recommend to the sponsor such revision or alteration of the measure as may be deemed necessary and appropriate. The recommendations of the code reviser's office are advisory only, and the sponsor may accept or reject them in whole or in part. The code reviser shall issue a certificate of review certifying that he or she has reviewed the measure and that any recommendations have been communicated to the sponsor. The certificate must be issued whether or not the sponsor accepts such recommendations. Within fifteen working days after notification of submittal of the proposed measure to the code reviser's office, the sponsor, if he or she desires to proceed with sponsorship, shall file the measure together with the certificate of review with the secretary of state for assignment of a serial number, and the secretary of state shall then submit to the code reviser's office a certified copy of the measure filed. Upon submission of the proposal to the secretary of state for assignment of a serial number, the secretary of state shall refuse to make such assignment unless the proposal is accompanied by a certificate of review. [2003 c 111 1803; 1982 c 116 2; 1973 c 122 2. Formerly RCW 29.79.015.]

RCW 29A.72.025 Fiscal impact statements.
The office of financial management, in consultation with the secretary of state, the attorney general, and any other appropriate state or local agency, shall prepare a fiscal impact statement for each of the following state ballot measures: (1) An initiative to the people that is certified to the ballot; (2) an initiative to the legislature that will appear on the ballot; (3) an alternative measure appearing on the ballot that the legislature proposes to an initiative to the legislature; (4) a referendum bill referred to voters by the legislature; and (5) a referendum measure appearing on the ballot. Fiscal impact statements must be written in clear and concise language, avoid legal and technical terms when possible, and be filed with the secretary of state no later than the tenth day of August. Fiscal impact statements may include easily understood graphics.
A fiscal impact statement must describe any projected increase or decrease in revenues, costs, expenditures, or indebtedness that the state or local governments will experience if the ballot measure were approved by state voters. Where appropriate, a fiscal impact statement may include both estimated dollar amounts and a description placing the estimated dollar amounts into context. A fiscal impact statement must include both a summary of not to exceed one hundred words and a more detailed statement that includes the assumptions that were made to develop the fiscal impacts.
Fiscal impact statements must be available online from the secretary of state's web site and included in the state voters' pamphlet. Additional information may be posted on the web site of the office of financial management. [2009 c 415 7; 2004 c 266 4. Prior: 2002 c 139 1. Formerly RCW 29.79.075.]

RCW 29A.72.030 Time for filing various types.
Initiative measures proposed to be submitted to the people must be filed with the secretary of state within ten months prior to the election at which they are to be submitted, and the signature petitions must be filed with the secretary of state not less than four months before the next general statewide election.

References: TITLE 29A RCW - ELECTIONS (accessed Sept.22, 2017)

Subject Matter:

To propose bills, laws, and to enact or reject the same at the polls, independent of the legislature

Actors

Author:
Citizens
Initiator:
Citizens
Decision maker:
Electorate

Requirements

Number Of Signatures:
Equal to or exceeding eight percent of the votes cast
Available Time:
Within ten months prior to the election at which they are to be submitted, and the signature petitions must be filed with the secretary of state not less than four months before the next general statewide election.
Turnout Quorum:
1/3rd of the total votes cast
Approval Quorum:
Majority of votes cast
Geographical Quorum:
No geographical quorum found in legal source
Excluded Issues:
Other Formal Requirements:

RCW 29A.72.120 Petitions to people--Form.
Petitions for proposing measures for submission to the people for their approval or rejection at the next ensuing general election must be substantially in the following form:
The warning prescribed by RCW 29A.72.140; followed by:
INITIATIVE PETITION FOR SUBMISSION TO THE PEOPLE
To the Honorable . . . . . ., Secretary of State of the State of Washington:
We, the undersigned citizens and legal voters of the State of Washington, respectfully direct that the proposed measure known as Initiative Measure No. . . . ., entitled (here insert the established ballot title of the measure), a full, true and correct copy of which is printed on the reverse side of this petition, be submitted to the legal voters of the State of Washington for their approval or rejection at the general 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 § 2; 2003 c 111 § 1813; 1982 c 116 § 10; 1965 c 9 § 29.79.100. Prior: 1913 c 138 § 6, part; RRS § 5402, part. Formerly RCW 29.79.100.]

Procedural Elements

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

RCW 29A.72.290 Printing ballot titles and short descriptions on ballots--Order and form.
The county auditor of each county shall print on the official ballots for the election at which initiative and referendum measures and measures for an advisory vote of the people are to be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection, the serial numbers and ballot titles certified by the secretary of state and the serial numbers and short descriptions of measures for an advisory vote of the people. They must appear under separate headings in the order of the serial numbers as follows:
(1) Measures proposed for submission to the people by initiative petition will be under the heading, "Proposed by Initiative Petition";

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: TITLE 29A RCW - ELECTIONS (accessed Sept.22, 2017)

Supervision And Support:
Transparency And Finance:

Practice

Archive:
Remarks: