Following last week’s controversial passage of both Initiative 940 and HB 3003, Tim Eyman filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Legislature claiming they violated the state Constitution by amending I-940 and attempting to keep it off of the ballot.
I-940 is an initiative to the legislature related to law enforcement’s use of deadly force law. Under the Constitution, the Legislature’s options are to either pass it into law, do nothing and the initiative will go to the ballot, or they can draft an alternative to appear on the ballot alongside the original initiative. They cannot, however, amend the initiative.
Last week, lawmakers approved I-940 unamended, but also passed HB 3003, a bill that tweaks the deadly use of force reforms of the initiative as soon as it becomes law.
According to Eyman’s lawsuit,
“Instead of following the Constitution and abiding by the requirements for initiatives to the legislature, the Legislature went rogue, disrespecting the initiative petition signers and preventing voters from exercising their right to vote.
Rather than proposing an alternative to the initiative and allowing the people to make this choice in November, the Legislature engaged in a protracted, convoluted, too-clever-by-half effort to rob the people of the chance to vote for the original initiative or the Legislature’s alternative.”
Eyman’s lawsuit demands that both the I-940 and HB 3003 appear on the statewide ballot in November.
HB 3003 passed on a 25-24 partisan vote in the Senate last week after several Senators voiced their opposition to the manner that the bill was passed. Though passed on the same day, HB 3003 was actually voted on before the Senate voted I-940 into law.
As referenced in the lawsuit, during floor debate Senator Fortunato said,
“I just simply don’t know what piece of legislation, which piece of law this amends. We are amending something in the future that hasn’t happened yet… It changes something that hasn’t happened yet. The initiative has not passed yet… How are we supposed to vote on that?”
Senator Padden also spoke during floor debate and said that while he supports HB 3003, it should be sent to the ballot as an alternative to the initiative.
“While I agree that it may be divisive, it may be troubling, it may be inconvenient, it may cost a lot of money for both sides to get their message out to the people, that’s what the initiative process is all about. And I think it is somewhat presumptuous for those of us here to change that process.”
You can read the entire lawsuit here.