Campaign finance initiative qualifies for Legislature action

By WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Posted 1/26/16

OLYMPIA – Secretary of State Kim Wyman today, Jan. 26, certified Initiative to the Legislature 735. The measure seeks to put Washington on record as favoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution …

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Campaign finance initiative qualifies for Legislature action

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OLYMPIA – Secretary of State Kim Wyman today, Jan. 26, certified Initiative to the Legislature 735. The measure seeks to put Washington on record as favoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The initiative’s preamble states: “This act declares that the people of Washington State support amending The Constitution of the United States to eliminate the undue influence of concentrated money and political power on elections and governmental policy.”

The amendment would overturn decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States extending constitutional rights to corporations and other artificial legal entities as well as those decisions equating the spending of money with free speech, the initiative states.

It also provides for the regulation and disclosure of political contributions and spending.

Washington State’s Public Disclosure Commission regulates campaign-financing limits, including contributions, for state and local candidates and initiatives.

The state Elections Division completed a random sample of the 333,040 signatures submitted by sponsors, confirming that there were sufficient signatures. The invalidation rate, including duplicates and signatures from people not found on the voter rolls, was 18.44 percent. That is about the average rejection rate for Washington ballot measures in recent decades. Wyman’s office reported.

I-735 now goes to the House and Senate, where lawmakers may approve it, ignore or reject it and let it go to the November 2016 ballot, or place it and a legislative alternative side-by-side on the ballot.

The attorney general’s formal title states the measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

The Office of Secretary of State previously certified a second initiative to the Legislature, I-732, dealing with carbon taxes. Sponsors of a rival measure have talked about filing an initiative to compete with I-732 on the statewide fall ballot, but that has not occurred yet, Wyman’s office stated.

(This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.)

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