2016 Ballot Initiative Guide

This guide is intended to offer some background information about the five ballot initiatives on which FAN’s Governing Board has taken positions. For questions on any of FAN’s policy positions, please call (206) 625-9790 or email [email protected].

Int. 1433 – Concerning labor standards of raising the state minimum wage and instituting a paid sick and safe leave law.
FAN’s Position: Endorses

Background: If passed, this initiative would do two important things for working families in our state:  increase the minimum wage to $13.50 over four years (by 2020) and institute a paid sick and safe leave law.  According to the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Washington State 2014, $13.50 represents the lowest wage that a single parent needs to raise a child in the county with the lowest cost of living in our state. This initiative will not affect Seattle’s $15/hour minimum wage ordinance, and it does not preempt other cities from raising their minimum wage higher than $13.50.

Paid sick leave is earned one hour per every 40 hours worked.  Full time workers could earn up to seven days per year.  Part time, seasonal, and temporary workers can also earn paid sick and safe leave.  Workers can use their paid sick leave to stay home to take care of themselves or a family member.  Safe leave allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to take time to seek health care, take out a restraining order, go to court, etc. without the risk of losing their job or wages.  For more information, go to www.raiseupwa.org.

Int. 1491 – Concerns court-issued extreme risk protection orders to temporarily prevent access to firearms.
FAN’s  Position: Endorses

Background: The vast majority of people who perpetrate mass shootings or die by suicide show signs of their intentions.  Families are often the first to see those signs, but under our current laws, family members are powerless to legally remove firearms from individuals who threaten to harm themselves or others. This initiative, if passed, would allow family members and/or law enforcement to petition a judge for an Extreme Risk Protection Order.  If there is a demonstrated serious threat of violence as determined through a court hearing, then the person in crisis must surrender their firearm to law enforcement and will not be able to possess a firearm for up to one year. The judge can also refer the person in crisis for mental health or chemical dependency evaluation to ensure that they get the help that is needed.  The court order may be renewed annually and violation of the order carries a criminal penalty.  Because 70% of firearm-related deaths in our state are suicides, this initiative will give family members and law enforcement the tools needed to intervene in a crisis: to remove access to firearms and to get their loved ones the access to treatment that is needed.  For more information, go to gunresponsibility.org/solution/extreme-risk-protection-orders/.

Int. 735 – A measure to urge the Washington State Congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
FAN’s Position: Endorses

Background: The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission, and other similar cases, have permitted unlimited anonymous donations from mega-wealthy individuals, corporations, unions, and other special interests to fund political campaigns.  Super PACs and interest groups spent more than $1 billion on campaigns in 2012 (three times more than in 2008) and even more will be spent in 2016. This undercuts the voice and concerns of the average citizen.

Although there is strong bi-partisan support for overturning Citizen’s United, Congress will still not act. Initiative 735 is a way for voters in Washington State to join with 17 others states and over 680 municipalities that have already passed similar measures to 735. This initiative urges our Congressional delegation to join other members of Congress to initiate a constitutional amendment process to overturn these U.S. Supreme Court decisions. For more information, go to www.wamend.org.

Int. 1464 – The Washington Government Accountability Act
FAN’s Position: Endorses

Background: This has many pieces to what it will do, including:

  • Increase transparency and accountability by making information about large campaign donors more accessible to the public, primarily by requiring political ads by independent groups and Super PACs to include the names of their top five individual donors.
  • Limit the influence of wealthy special interests by lowering the contribution limits for lobbyists and contractors doing business with the state to no more than $100 for any candidate they lobby or that has control over public contracts.  It would also prohibit elected officials and top government employees leaving office from immediately going to work as a lobbyist, or taking a job from someone who lobbied them.
  • Prevent corruption by strengthening rules, enforcement, and penalties for violations of election law.  It would allow the Public Disclosure Commission to toughen the policing of ethics and campaign finance laws, and better prevent secret coordination between candidates and Super PACs.
  • Give a stronger voice to the people of Washington State by allowing residents to direct up to three $50 ‘Democracy Credit contributions’ to candidates.  Democracy Credits enable everyone in our state to support candidates of their choice.  The voluntary, publicly funded program will encourage a greater diversity of candidates to run without being dependent on special interests.

For more information, go to www.yes1464.org/about.

Int. 732 – Carbon Emission Tax and Sales Tax Reduction
FAN’s Position:  Neutral (the Governing Board neither endorses or opposes)

Background: FAN, like many other organizations, especially in the environmental community (e.g. the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters) supports a tax on carbon emissions as a means to do our part to curb global warming. The FAN Governing Board also realizes that many people of faith across this State are supporting I-732; we honor that. However, FAN shares the concerns of many environmental and community organizations that oppose I-732:

  • In addition to the many environmental organizations that are not supporting I-732, our friends and partners in communities of color have many concerns regarding 732, particularly how this initiative was put together.
  • The Governor’s budget office, the Office of Financial Management, has estimated that this initiative would create a $800 million deficit in our State budget over the next two biennia, because of its proposed sales tax reduction, which is intended to offset the tax on carbon emissions. Even though the initiative directs the carbon tax earnings to fund the state Working Families Tax Rebate, which is meant to help vulnerable populations, the reduction in sales tax will likely increase burdens on vulnerable populations by reducing funds for human services.
  • For Sightline Institute’s analysis of the budget impacts of I-732, read this series of articles.