Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tim Eyman charged with misdemeanor theft; he says he didn’t mean to steal office chair

Disgraced initiative promoter and petty thief Tim Eyman has been charged with misdemeanor theft by the City of Lacey after stealing Brenton Studios Mayhart chair that was in the vestibule of the Office Depot on Sleater Kinney Road Southeast last Wednesday. Eyman, fifty-three, has gotten himself a criminal defense attorney and is now trying to argue that he’s innocent because he didn’t mean to take the chair.

“I did not… walk into an Office Depot in Lacey wearing a bright red ‘Let The Voters Decide’ t-shirt, smile for the cameras, and steal a seventy dollar chair just moments before spending $300 on two printers and after getting some life-changing good news,” said Eyman in a sworn declaration filed by his attorneys.

“The reason that doesn’t make any sense is because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s ridiculous, it’s insane, it’s completely unbelievable,” Eyman added.

Actually, what’s ridiculous, insane, and completely unbelievable is Eyman’s attempt to claim that he didn’t commit a crime because he didn’t mean to commit a crime.

The fact is, Eyman took a chair from the Office Depot in Lacey and put it in his car without paying for it. That’s theft. That’s against the law.

Eyman is a well known, shameless liar and a serial, unapologetic violator of public disclosure laws, so his sworn statement is worthless. But even supposing he was sincere, his intent is irrelevant. His actions are what matter.

Tim Eyman is a fifty-three year old man. He knows, or should know, that you don’t take goods out of a store without paying for them. You pay for your items before you take the merchandise out to your vehicle, not before. If an item is outside the store entrance, you take it inside with you, pay for it, and then walk out with it.

If Eyman didn’t mean to steal a chair, why didn’t he come back to the store and pay for it? A police officer in the employ of the City of Lacey called Eyman the same day that he stole the chair to speak with him. The officer states in his report:

I attempted to contact Eyman via telephone, [number redacted], but no one answered and so I left a voice [message] with my request for a return call.

Eyman knew, or should have known, by the end of the day on Wednesday that the police were investigating his thieving. He could have immediately attempted to make amends with an apology and payment for the chair he stole. But apparently it wasn’t until Friday, when Eyman’s crime had hit the news, that Eyman took action.

In a statement sent to reporters, Eyman stated he had called Office Depot and then the Lacey police, pledging to “cooperate fully” and “do whatever is required of me”.

Fast forward to today, and Eyman is now claiming he didn’t do anything wrong because well, gosh, he didn’t mean to. One of his two attorneys, Casey Arbenz, actually said: “We’ve all made those types of mistakes.” Laaaaaaame!

Theft is theft. Not “accidental removal”, as Eyman’s attorneys are calling it.

It has now been almost a week since this theft took place. Tim Eyman has had plenty of time to either return the chair he stole or pay for it.

His lawyers claim that they reached out to the Office Depot to make amends. But it appears that the chair has still not been returned or paid for yet.

The Washington State Republican Party is currently in the business of making excuses for Donald Trump, so we don’t expect them or the many right wing organizations in its orbit to break up with Eyman. But we sure wish they would.

Bethel youth get it: In a democracy, decisions should be made by the many — not a few

Twelve years ago, Washington voters said yes to amending the Constitution of Washington State to change the threshold for passage of school levies from three-fifths (60%+) to a simple majority, the only true majority there is.

The passage of this amendment was a big win for majority rule, one of the bedrock principles of democracy. However, the amendment did not extend to bonds, and as a consequence, school districts’ efforts to secure financing for new or improved buildings must always receive a three-fifths vote of approval in an election with a minimum turnout of forty percent… the so-called sixty/forty (60/40) rule.

The sixty/forty rule has been getting in the way of Washington’s adherence with another often-cited, vitally important provision of the Constitution… the preamble of Article IX, which clearly states that it shall be the paramount duty of the state to amply provide for the education of all youth within in its borders.

Time and again, school districts in Washington have seen bond propositions go down to defeat despite earning robust, healthy majorities.

And that’s because, thanks to the sixty/forty rule, 59% just isn’t enough to pass a bond. The sixty/forty rule undemocratically puts a submajority in charge of the outcome, which would be unthinkable in electoral politics. (When a candidate gets 59% of the vote, that’s considered to be a landslide, an epic win.)

Majorities of voters are sufficient to elect candidates, pass school levies, and decide statewide ballot measures, including constitutional amendments. Yet bond propositions for schools remain subject to a higher threshold.

This needs to change.

Happily, the Legislature is currently considering a constitutional amendment that would do away with the sixty/forty rule for school bonds. Requested by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, the amendment has been introduced in the House as HJR 4203 and in the Senate as SJR 8201.

This past week, students from the Bethel School District showed up to explain to legislators why passing this amendment is imperative, winning the admiration and applause of the editorial board of the Tacoma News Tribune:

Last year, twenty-eight school bonds around the state failed, even though all but four had more than fifty percent support.

In Tuesday’s election, school bonds in Clark, Snohomish and Skagit counties were falling short despite winning a majority.

Of all the arguments against the supermajority we’ve heard, none can top the Bethel students who testified before a legislative committee Thursday. The teens eloquently called for a return to a simple-majority rule for school bonds, which was part of Washington’s original Constitution ratified one hundred and thirty years ago.

Allowing 41 percent of voters to stand in the way of safe, healthy and educationally competitive campuses is undemocratic, they said.

“In our government classes they teach us in high school, they call it the tyranny of the minority,” Sam Lafferty, a student at Graham-Kapowsin High School, told the House Education Committee.

Bravo, Sam. Bravo! You and your peers clearly understand the arguments that Hamilton and Madison were trying to convey in the The Federalist.

You get it: in a democracy, decisions should be made by the many, not a few.

It’s truly a shame that Tim Eyman and the Washington Policy Center don’t get it. They remain obsessed with sabotaging majority rule in our state.

Our founders would be shaking their heads at their behavior.

In 1889, when a convention of mostly Republican men was drafting the document that would ultimately become the Constitution of the State of Washington, they faced a decision: what should be the threshold for passage of bills in the House and Senate? After thinking the matter over and deliberating at length, they concluded that the only sensible threshold was a majority of each chamber.

So they wrote what became Article II, Section 22, which states:

SECTION 22. PASSAGE OF BILLS. No bill shall become a law unless on its final passage the vote be taken by yeas and nays, the names of the members voting for and against the same be entered on the journal of each house, and a majority of the members elected to each house be recorded thereon as voting in its favor.

At the time Washington became a state, there was no sixty/forty rule for bond propositions in the Constitution. That was added decades later. Now, we have an opportunity to undo that mistake and allow majority rule to govern the fate of our school bonds. This must become a bipartisan priority in the Legislature.

Tim Eyman caught on video stealing a chair from the Office Depot in Lacey, Washington

Disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman is under investigation for petty theft by the Lacey Police Department after stealing a Brenton Studios Mayhart chair that had been put in the vestibule of the Office Depot on Sleater Kinney Road Southeast.

The alleged crime was committed on the morning of Wednesday, February 13th. Footage provided to the Lacey Police Department by Office Depot shows Eyman walking around inside the store entrance, clad in his red “Let the Voters Decide” t-shirt. He can be seen checking out his surroundings, then walking inside the vestibule and sitting down in the display chair the store manager had put there.

Eyman twirls around in an office chair

After reclining in the chair and spinning around in it a few times, Eyman gets up and wheels the chair right out of the store into the parking lot — without paying for it.

Tim Eyman walks out with office chair

The surveillance video then shows him walking back inside the store a few minutes later, this time with a black jacket on covering most of his red t-shirt.

Eyman disappears from the frame after walking back inside, but soon reappears inside the left edge. He can be seen for several minutes at the counter before eventually leaving the store again, this time holding a phone to his ear. The clerk can be seen walking out behind him wheeling a dolly laden with two printers.

Here’s the clerk’s sworn written account of what happened:

Tim Eyman came into our store to get some documents copied & also requested help with his printer he had brought in. I helped him with his printer issue and helped pick 2 new printers. He thanked me and shook my hand. While I was busy with another customer, Tim went into the foyer and sat in our display chair, then proceeded to walk it out the front door without paying for it. He then came back in and paid for his print job and his 2 printers as well as returning his old printer.

He acted wary when I told him I would help him take the printers out to the car. When we got to his vehicle (gray, mid to late 2000s SUV, possibly Ford Explorer/Expedition), he insisted I leave the printers on the ground next to his vehicle because he needed to rearrange a few things. I gave him my Office Depot business card and went back inside.

The police report states that after the store manager discovered the chair missing, he checked the surveillance footage to find out what happened.

(The surveillance footage the store provided to police is playable above unedited, but the nearly ten minute clip begins after Eyman has already entered the store for the first time. That’s why we don’t see him returning the printer.)

“Eyman was identified due to the phone number, payment method information, and name referenced through the store computer system that Eyman used to exchange the printers after walking out of the door with the chair,” the investigating police officer W.R. Smith stated in his report. “I further identified Eyman through the store surveillance video provided, a DOL picture returned through dispatch, and a personal picture of Eyman taken from his Facebook account on 2/13/2019 that shows him wearing the same red shirt with the phrase “Let the voter[s] decide”.

After scanning receipts and statements from Office Depot into evidence, and adding the surveillance footage to its digital locker, the Lacey Police Department concluded that Eyman was the likely perpetrator and has referred the case (which carries a charge of misdemeanor theft) to the city prosecutor. Officer Smith’s report states that his initial attempt to reach Tim Eyman was unsuccessful.

The Seattle Times’ David Gutman also tried to reach Eyman upon learning of the matter, but couldn’t get a hold of him prior to publication.

After the story had been picked up by nearly every major media outlet in the state, Eyman began emailing a statement to reporters. “I just called the Lacey Office Depot who referred me to the Lacey Police Department,” said Eyman.

“I am expecting a call from the officer in charge to explain what happened. I will cooperate fully in this process and will do whatever is required of me.”

He’ll “cooperate fully” and do “whatever is required”? What does that mean… that he’ll return the chair that he stole from Office Depot? Or pay for it?

As we have documented here on the Cascadia Advocate and at Permanent Defense (which happens to be celebrating its seventeenth anniversary today), there is no one in Washington State politics who is more dishonest than Tim Eyman.

Eyman has a long and disturbing record of lying to the press and the public, duping his own donors, repeatedly violating our public disclosure laws, hyperbolically attacking our elected officials, and inviting people on his email list to harass his political opponents. Now he’s been caught on tape committing petty theft.

We can only hope that this footage helps more Washingtonians understand who Tim Eyman truly is: a greedy, self-obsessed individual with a pathological need for attention who does not hesitate to lie, cheat, and steal with impunity.

It would be nice if this footage resulted in the end of Eyman’s career, but he has a gift for trickery and deception and parting fools from their money, just like his idol, Donald Trump, also known nowadays as Individual Number One.

When I started Permanent Defense seventeen years ago, Eyman had just been caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, having admitted to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for his own personal use.

He spilled his guts to The Associated Press in a phone call during the Super Bowl, which that year, like 2019, was a matchup between the Patriots and the Rams.

Tim Eyman: I took money, lied about it

After the story broke, many people thought Eyman was done.

I knew better.

After a conversation with two friends who professed themselves disappointed because they supported what Eyman was trying to do (kill Sound Transit’s Link light rail), I decided to take action. I drew up plans for Permanent Defense and it went live on the World Wide Web on February 15th, 2002… seventeen years ago today.

It has been very satisfying over the years to watch a growing number of people of all political persuasions realize what I’ve known ever since I caught my first glimpse of Eyman on local television: he is not to be trusted. Con artists like Eyman and Trump thrive on the gullibility of other people. And once they’re established, it’s incredibly hard to get rid of them. It’s like fighting a termite infestation.

But if we don’t stop them, then the country and state we love will be no more.

I’ve always believed Washington is worth saving. Cascadia’s future must be secured. That’s why my team and I have persevered in our efforts to build a Permanent Defense against Eyman’s attacks on our Constitution and common wealth. Eyman prides himself on his relentlessness; it’s arguably his favorite characteristic.

Fortunately, we’re just as persistent and determined as he is.

I couldn’t have imagined that on the very day that Permanent Defense turned seventeen, the great State of Washington would be gifted with video revealing Tim Eyman to be a petty criminal. Now everyone can see an example of what Tim once infamously called his “ugly, stinky, and disgusting” behavior.

VICTORY! Washington State Senate votes to abolish the death penalty a second time

Washington is on its way to becoming the next state to abolish the death penalty.

By a vote of twenty-eight to nineteen, the Washington State Senate today voted to repeal the unconstitutional statute that permits prosecutors to seek death sentences for people who have been convicted of first degree murder. Senate Bill 5339 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Support for abolishing the death penalty is very high, according to NPI research. Last year, 69% of Washingtonians surveyed told our pollster that they preferred one of three life in prison alternatives to just 24% who said they preferred the death penalty, while 8% said they were not sure. (Read more about our finding.)

Senate Bill 5339 would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is the alternative endorsed by respondents in our poll.

The legislation passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support. Here is the roll call:

Roll Call
SB 5339
Death penalty elimination
3rd Reading & Final Passage
2/15/2019

Yeas: 28; Nays: 19; Excused: 2

Voting Yea: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Nguyen, Palumbo, Pedersen, Randall, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)

Voting Nay: Senators Bailey, Becker, Braun, Brown, Ericksen, Hobbs, Holy, Honeyford, King, O`Ban, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Takko, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Zeiger

Excused: Senators Fortunato, Wilson (Lynda)

Three Democratic senators voted against repealing the death penalty: Steve Hobbs, Dean Takko, and Kevin Van De Wege. Their no votes were canceled out by the yes votes of three Republicans: Maureen Walsh, Judy Warnick, and Brad Hawkins.

The Senate’s six new Democratic members (Mona Das, Liz Lovelett, Joe Nguyen, Emily Randall, Jesse Salomon, Claire Wilson) all voted in favor of the bill.

“I have the deepest personal respect for how important this issue is for victims’ families and I’m so grateful for the reflection and grace of the dialogue in the Legislature,” said Senator Reuven Carlyle, a longtime proponent of abolition.

“I’m pleased that our state is on the path toward joining the global movement toward abolishing the death penalty,” Carlyle continued. “Closing the books on this chapter in our state’s history is a responsible public policy step, given where the courts and our state have come, and this measure solidifies our statute in a way that makes it clear and unequivocal for years to come.”

“After working on this issue for so long, I’m pleased and incredibly humbled that the state Senate has taken this important step forward.”

So are we. We thank Senator Carlyle and Senators Jamie Pedersen and Manka Dhingra for their leadership on this human rights breakthrough.

Last year, when the Senate passed this bill for the first time, it was a watershed moment. Now the focus shifts back to the House of Representatives. For the bill to reach Governor Inslee’s desk, at least fifty representatives must vote for it.

We believe the votes exist to pass this bill in the House and we’ll be working alongside fellow abolition supporters to secure a vote and win that vote.

U.S. Senate votes to keep the federal government funded through September 2019

The United States Senate voted today to keep the federal government funded and open for business for most of the rest of the year, acting under the assumption that Donald Trump will (reluctantly) sign a bipartisan appropriations bill recently negotiated by House Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The vote in favor of invoking cloture on House Joint Resolution 31 was eighty-four to fifteen and the vote on final passage was eighty-three to sixteen.

The roll call from the Pacific Northwest on final passage was as follows:

Voting Aye: Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell (WA); Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT); Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch (ID); Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (AK); Steve Daines (MT)

The senators who voted no were a mix of Democrats and Republicans, and all of them were from states outside of the Pacific Northwest.

Democratic presidential candidates voting no

  • Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Kamala Harris of California
  • Kristen Gillibrand of New York

Other Democrats voting no

  • Ed Markey of Massachusetts

Republicans voting no

  • Michael Braun of Indiana
  • Tom Cotton of Arkansas
  • Ted Cruz of Texas
  • James Inhofe of Oklahoma
  • Mike Lee of Utah
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Ben Sasse of Nebraska
  • Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

In addition to signing HJR 31, Mitch McConnell says Donald Trump will declare a national emergency in order to divert funding to constructing a wall on the country’s border with Mexico, a move Democrats say is a total abuse of power.

“The president’s declaration is an alarming and legally dubious attempt to sidestep the constitutional authority granted to Congress, the co-equal branch of government where debates over immigration reform and border security can be held openly in the light of day,” said Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.

“There was a time when Republicans and Democrats were willing to sit at the table and discuss comprehensive immigration reform,” the Governor added.

“Under this administration, those discussions have given way to unilateral and reprehensible actions that separate families, imprison children and launch tear-gas attacks on exhausted mothers and families. This declaration doesn’t do a single thing to make our nation safer. All it does is further divide Americans, erode our system of checks and balances, and advance the president’s agenda of fear and misinformation. We should all be outraged by this president’s abuse of power.”

“For President Trump to declare a state of emergency and circumvent Congress and the American people based on lies and a manufactured crisis is an outrageous, horrific, and un-American abuse of power and I can only hope that he listens to people across the country and reverses course immediately,” said Patty Murray.

“The idea that the President not being able to pass his wasteful wall spending through Congress — a wall that he promised Mexico would pay for and that wouldn’t even be built for years — constitutes an ‘emergency’ is absolutely absurd and deeply wrong. Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to invest in responsible border security and tackle very real humanitarian issues, but there is absolutely no ‘emergency’ and absolutely no justification for President Trump to use this as an excuse to violate our Constitution and laws.”

“If President Trump takes this unprecedented step, every American who believes in the Constitution and the separation of powers in our great republic should be shocked and angry. If President Trump opens the door to presidents declaring fake emergencies to fund spending they can’t persuade the people’s representatives in Congress to support, then a dangerous precedent has been set that puts our country on a slippery and very dangerous slope.”

“What would stop this president from declaring another emergency the next time he wants to do something that Congress doesn’t want? This is not the way our government is supposed to work, and this is not remotely what was intended when these emergency authorities were created. I am going to stand with Democrats, Republicans, and every American who is concerned by this and we will fight back.”

“While President Trump is threatening to move forward with this un-American and unconstitutional maneuver, today Democrats and Republicans in Congress once again did their job by hammering out a bipartisan compromise that rejected President Trump’s wasteful border wall and instead invests in our national priorities and avoids another completely unnecessary shutdown.”

“On behalf of federal workers and families in Washington state and around the country, President Trump must sign this bipartisan bill to avoid another Trump Shutdown — and he must listen to the will of the people and not take unilateral and unconstitutional action to violate this bipartisan agreement.”

BREAKTHROUGH: U.S. House votes to stop abetting Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war

In a stinging, long overdue, and much needed rebuke of the Trump regime, the United States House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s incredibly destructive war in Yemen.

Eighteen Republicans crossed over to join two hundred and thirty Democrats in passing House Joint Resolution 37, sponsored by Representative Ro Khanna, which carries the title Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.

“The House resolution is a rare use of the 1973 War Powers Act, which gave Congress the ability to compel the removal of military forces absent a formal declaration of war,” observed New York Times reporters Catie Edmondson and Charlie Savage. “Those powers, created in the wake of the Vietnam War, have almost never been used, as lawmakers have demurred from intervening in politically sensitive matters of war, peace and support for the troops.”

“Today is historic,” said Representative Khanna in a statement.

“This is the culmination of several years of legislative efforts to end our involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen. I’m encouraged by the direction people are pushing our party to take on foreign policy, promoting restraint and human rights and with the sense they want Congress to play a much larger role.”

“I applaud all cosponsors for supporting this historic effort and thank my 248 colleagues who voted yes on passage today, especially Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer, HASC Chair Smith, HFAC Chair Engel, Rules Chair McGovern, CPC Co-Chair Pocan and nearly one hundred cosponsors of my resolution.”

“I’d also like to thank Senator Sanders for being my thought partner and co-lead on this work in the upper chamber. There are many parties who played an instrumental role in making this happen, including Keane Bhatt, who is the fellow at the Congressional Progressive Caucus. And Geo Saba, my national security advisor.”

The roll call from the Pacific Northwest was along party lines:

Voting Aye: Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, Denny Heck (WA); Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, Peter DeFazio (OR)

Voting Nay: Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Greg Walden (OR), Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher (ID), Greg Gianforte (MT), Don Young (AK)

The eighteen Republicans who crossed over to join the Democrats are from the extremist, militant right wing “Freedom” Caucus.

Another Republican, Justin Amash of Michigan, voted “Present”.

U.S. Representative Adam Smith, the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after the vote.

“The civil war in Yemen has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with over half of the population facing severe food insecurity and twenty-one million Yemenis in need of humanitarian assistance. Passage of this resolution in the House sends a clear message to this Administration that Congress does not support the United States’ de facto support for the Saudi-led coalition in this conflict.”

“Congress must continue to exercise much-needed oversight of this Administration, and any American involvement can and must be debated transparently. The United States should be focused on working towards a peaceful resolution to this conflict and taking measures to alleviate the devastating humanitarian situation.”

VICTORY! Washington State Senate votes to ban fracking in oil and gas production

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could soon be banned in Washington State if a bill approved by the Senate today becomes law. Senate Bill 5145, sponsored by Senator Jesse Salomon, would ban the destructive practice of injecting fluids into gas and oil wells under pressures great enough to fracture oil and gas-bearing rock.

Twenty-nine senators voted for the bill on final passage, with eighteen opposed.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
SB 5145
Hydraulic fracturing
3rd Reading & Final Passage
2/13/2019

Yeas: 29; Nays: 18; Excused: 2

Voting Yea: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Nguyen, Palumbo, Pedersen, Randall, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Takko, Van De Wege, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)

Voting Nay: Senators Bailey, Becker, Braun, Brown, Fortunato, Holy, Honeyford, King, O’Ban, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Wagoner, Walsh, Warnick, Wilson (Lynda), Zeiger

Excused: Senators Ericksen, Sheldon

The Senate Democratic caucus was unified in its support of the bill. One Republican, Brad Hawkins, joined them to vote aye. Of the remaining Republicans, eighteen voted no, while two (Doug Ericksen and Tim Sheldon) were excused.

Although there is no oil or gas production currently happening in Washington, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any in the future. That’s why Senate Bill 5145 is so important. It safeguards our lithosphere and water supply by outlawing fracking.

As the bill’s preamble explains:

The legislature finds that hydraulic fracturing of underground formations for the removal of oil and gas deposits is a relatively new technology whose long-term impacts upon human health and environmental quality are largely unknown. This technology requires large quantities of fracking fluids containing chemicals that are exempt from public disclosure and which may contaminate groundwater and surface waters used as drinking water supplies.

Each well in which hydraulic fracturing is employed requires more than one million gallons of water per year, with the average well using from three to eight million gallons of water over its lifetime. In many areas of the state, the existing groundwater supplies and surface water sources are fully appropriated, and such large new demands would threaten existing uses for agriculture, industrial, and municipal purposes.

The legislature further finds that as much as ninety percent of the fracking fluids must be disposed of following use in the fracking well, with most of this fluid subsequently returned following limited treatment back into underground injection wells.

Very little is known at this time regarding the impact that these disposed fluids may have upon groundwater aquifers and the potential adverse human health impacts from such exposure.

Other adverse environmental impacts have also been identified in hydraulic fracturing. Large quantities of methane are released in this process, which is both a toxic pollutant as well as a very potent greenhouse gas. Hydraulic fracturing is also suspected to be the source of increased seismicity in some regions with numerous wells.

Our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute strongly supports this legislation and thanks all who voted for its passage. We urge the House of Representatives to take up this bill and send it to Governor Inslee for his signature.

February 12th election results: Big majorities back levies for Seattle, Renton schools

King County Elections has just released preliminary results for the February 12th special election, and the numbers so far are good across the board for Seattle and Renton Public Schools. Seattle voters are giving a big thumbs up to both of their levies (an operating levy and a capital levy), while voters in greater Renton are saying yes to proposed construction bonds as well as an operations levy.

The two Seattle levies and the Renton levy appear destined for passage.

Seattle Proposition #1 enjoys 65.81% support right now, with 34.19% opposed. That’s the operations levy. Seattle Proposition #2 enjoys 68.19% support, with 31.81% opposed. (The Seattle Times editorial board had urged a widely-ridiculed no vote on Proposition #1 and a yes vote on Proposition #2.)

In Renton, Proposition #2 has 59.80% support and opposition of 40.20%.

As set forth in the Washington State Constitution, the threshold is a simple majority of those voting and all of these levies are clearing that bar with no trouble.

Renton’s construction bonds are another matter. To pass, the construction bonds have to satisfy what’s called the sixty forty (60/40) rule. The bonds must receive a 60% yes vote with minimum turnout of 18,578 voters (40%).

If both requirements are not met, the bond measure will not pass. Like levies, the threshold for passage of bonds is specified in the Washington State Constitution.

Right now, the bonds are clearing the first hurdle… barely. 60.11% of ballots cast so far on the bond measure are in favor. However, turnout stands at only 16.86%. Turnout will need to more than double in order for the bonds to pass.

We think the sixty forty rule for bonds should be abolished, but such a change would require amending the Constitution. An amendment to do just that has been introduced and is being considered by the Legislature. The House version is House Joint Resolution 4203 and the Senate version is Senate Joint Resolution 8201.

We encourage you to contact your legislators and let them know you support HJR 4203 and SJR 8201. You can track its progress through the legislative process with our Statehouse Bill Tracker, which is always at your service on NPI’s website.

Committee meetings at the Washington State Capitol cancelled for Monday, February 11th

Due to snowy weather, the Washington State Legislature will be mostly closed for business tomorrow, legislative leaders have announced. So if you were planning to go down to Olympia for a committee meeting or to testify on a bill that was due to have a hearing… don’t. Stay home instead, and be safe.

“Tomorrow’s hearings will be rescheduled as soon as possible so that those planning to testify on bills will have the opportunity to do so when travel to Olympia is safer,” House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan’s office said in a statement.

“Rescheduling details will follow. People meeting individually with House legislators or staff should call ahead to see if their schedules have changed. Besides snow this evening, weather services are forecasting more snow beginning Monday afternoon. House leadership will talk again tomorrow to determine Tuesday’s schedule.”

“Due to severe weather conditions, the House and Senate are canceling all committee hearings on Monday, February 11th,” legislative staff said in an announcement posted to the Legislature’s official website, leg.wa.gov.

“At this point we anticipate returning to full operations on Tuesday.”

Tonight’s forecast calls for snow, snow, and more snow throughout Western Washington. The snow threat continues through the week, although daytime highs are supposed to get closer to forty degrees Fahrenheit as the week goes on.

The combined cold snap and snow threat is something Western Washington rarely sees due to its mild winters, which are influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Unlike many cities in the Midwest and on the East Coast, Washington’s topography is rather hilly, which makes travel in snowy and icy conditions much more dangerous.

Conditions in parts of Eastern Washington are even more treacherous. A Washington State Patrol trooper on Saturday posted a short video depicting whiteout conditions near the Tri-Cities and describing a pileup of cars on I-82.

The bottom line: Stay warm, avoid unnecessary travel, and be safe!

A frustrated Tim Eyman unleashes his e-fury on Republican State Senator Hans Zeiger

This past Wednesday, the Senate State Government & Tribal Relations Committee voted unanimously to advance Patty Kuderer’s Senate Bill 5224, which would permanently abolish Tim Eyman’s advisory votes push polls.

The bill is simple and straightforward: it eliminates the RCWs that require an “advisory vote” measure to appear on the ballot every time the Legislature passes a bill that raises revenue. We would no longer have to put up with the stupid things.

These RCWs date back to 2007, when Eyman’s I-960 narrowly passed. It wasn’t until several years later, in 2012, that the “advisory votes” began appearing on our ballots, because no one remembered they existed… not even Tim Eyman.

A total of nineteen “advisory vote” measures have now appeared on Washingtonians’ ballots, going back to 2012. We call them push polls because they are intended to influence rather than measure public opinion, just like the faux telephone surveys they appear to be modeled after.

NPI Advisory Councilmember Steve Zemke and I testified in support of Senate Bill 5224 on February 1st before the Senate State Government Committee, along with King County Elections Director Julie Wise, Kathy Sakahara of the League of Women Voters of Washington, and Carol Butterfield.

Eyman was the only speaker in opposition to the bill.

On Wednesday of this week, the committee voted unanimously to give the bill a “do pass” recommendation and send it to the Rules Committee.

To say that Tim Eyman was not pleased would be an understatement. Within hours, Eyman had flipped out. Lost it. Entered Total Meltdown Mode.

However, unlike on February 1st, when he trained his ire on Senator Patty Kuderer, this time his fury was directed at a more unusual target… Republican Hans Zeiger.

Zeiger (who in his younger years was a paid petitioner), voted with all four of the committee’s Democratic Senators to move the bill forward.

That left Eyman spitting mad.

In an email to his band of followers (many of whom are also active Republican PCOs), Eyman declared a campaign of electronic harassment against Zeiger.

(It’s his go-to tactical response when a Republican official crosses him.)

He exhorted his followers to email, call, and text Zeiger, supplying them and everyone else on his list with not only the Senator’s official contact information, but his personal cellphone number and non-legislative email address.

“One turncoat Republican,” Eyman fumed on Wednesday, apparently unaware that the committee’s vote in support of SB 5224 included all three of its Republican members, not just Zeiger. “That’s what Democrats want: just one.”

“Turncoat Republicans make a calculation,” Eyman continued: “the crumbs they might get from the Democrats are worth more than the blowback they’ll get from the people who supported their campaign and their party.”

“Zeiger thinks you won’t care that he sold you out or you won’t find out. Tell Zeiger what you think about him joining with Democrats on this.”

By the time this morning rolled around, Eyman was still angry.

And so he lashed out again.

“Zeiger thinks playing patty-cake with liberals and voting for their bills will shield him from Democrat [sic] attacks at election time. How’d that work out for the last Republican who tried that?” Eyman sneered above a picture of Joe Fain.

“Tell Zeiger what you think about his turncoat treachery,” Eyman thundered.

The publication of people’s personal, non-official or non-business contact information is explicitly against the Northwest Progressive Institute’s Code of Ethics and is a practice that we consider abusive and unacceptable.

Eyman, on the other hand, is happy to use any contact information he can get his hands on for the purpose of instigating campaigns of harassment. He has been trying to intimidate people in Washington politics with such campaigns for years.

I have firsthand experience. In 2011, Eyman tried going after me.

If his goal was to deter me from organizing opposition to his destructive initiatives, then he failed miserably. His campaign certainly gave me a chance to count the number of different ways that his followers spell his name (Eiman, Iman, Eman… I saw a number of different variations from the delightful folks I got emails from.)

But aside from entertaining me, the rude, obnoxious, and occasionally profane emails Eyman prompted his followers to send me achieved nothing.

If Eyman simply wanted to use something I’d written as a foil for his fundraising appeals, then he could have done that without asking people to bother me.

It is a different story with Republican elected officials, who run in the same circles as Eyman does as opposed to running progressive nonprofits. At least some of their constituents and even their friends are Eyman fans who Eyman can mobilize to engage in his campaigns of harassment. (Eyman has historically waged these campaigns using mass emails, but he’s also on Facebook now, so watch out.)

The thing is, by supporting the abolishment of “advisory votes”, Republican Senators Hans Zeiger, Barbara Bailey, and Brad Hawkins are actually adhering to conservative principles. Eliminating wasteful government spending is a core tenet of right wing beliefs. How many times have we heard Republicans call for eliminating red tape, or tackling waste, fraud, and abuse in government? I’ve lost track.

“Advisory votes” are not just useless, they’re harmful. They were crafted with malicious intent. When Eyman says their abolishment would mean less democracy, what he really means is that their demise would harm his self-serving efforts to undermine Washingtonians’ trust and confidence in their own government.

“Advisory votes” are actually push polls. They don’t measure anything, so they can’t be used for advisory purposes. And since the results are not binding and do not affect public policy, they are not votes. Rather, they are just another Eyman scam.

A scam that costs taxpayers each and every election cycle.

Of course Eyman wants to keep his con going. But that doesn’t mean the Republican Party or Republican elected representatives should want to. Honest conservatives and right wing intellectuals should be appalled by Eyman’s behavior.

If  Republicans are serious about getting rid of wasteful spending like they say they are on the stump, then they must join Democrats in voting to get rid of Eyman’s push polls. This is a perfect opportunity to save the taxpayers some money.

Senator Zeiger, if you get around to reading this post, then know that we’re sorry you have been subjected to this campaign of harassment by Tim Eyman.

From our vantage point, you are not betraying conservative principles or the Republican Party by supporting Senate Bill 5224. Rather, you are supporting sensible legislation that we should all (well, except for Eyman and his fans) be able to agree on. Thank you for your vote in support of this bill, and don’t let Eyman’s nastiness get to you. Unlike him, you were elected to serve our state. You’ve got a job to do. We appreciate your service even if we don’t always agree on the issues.

Where should Sound Transit put Link’s South Maintenance Base? There’s an obvious answer

With Puget Sound’s light rail spine set to expand in all directions thanks to voter approval of Sound Transit 3 in 2016, the agency has begun the process of looking for a place in South King County where a new maintenance base could be located.

Presently, Link has just one maintenance base, in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. A second one is under construction in Bellevue’s Spring District, which will serve the needs of the East Link extension when it comes online in 2023.

Sound Transit says a third base will be needed to enable Link to properly serve Federal Way and Tacoma, and is identifying places where that base might go. Some of the locations the agency is studying would displace existing businesses, like the new Dick’s Drive-In Restaurant in Kent or these businesses in Federal Way.

The ownership of Dick’s is, shall we say, less than thrilled about the prospect of having to move somewhere else, even if it wouldn’t happen for several years.

The company has been using its customer mailing list to lobby Sound Transit and the City of Kent in opposition to the potential taking of its property.

“Just one month ago we opened our seventh restaurant, on Pacific Highway South in Kent,” Dick’s EVP Jasmine Donovan wrote in a January 28th email.

“As we did in 2011, we asked our customers to tell us where to build it. We received over 170,000 votes. With all the amazing community support and participation we were shocked to learn that Sound Transit was considering tearing down our brand-new restaurant along with the rest of this shopping center [the Midway Shopping Center] to build a Transit Maintenance Facility,” she continued.

“It’s not easy to locate this facility when you are looking for thirty unobstructed, flat acres near the rail line,” Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff observed when he was asked about the possibility of the restaurant having to move. “This (Midway) was one of the six sites that could be reasonable. We are going to study it. We are not selecting it… we are studying it along with other alternative sites.”

Other sites Sound Transit is studying include a large church (the Christian Faith Center in Federal Way), a residential neighborhood near S 316th Street and Military Road S, and a collection of commercial parcels in Federal Way that are home to several businesses, namely Garage Town, Ellenos Yogurt, and NW Equipment Sales.

The reaction in Federal Way has been comparable to the reaction in Kent, where city officials sided with Dick’s and are demanding Sound Transit remove the Midway Shopping Center site from its list of possible OMF South sites.

As it so happens, there is a site where OMF South could go that would not displace any homes, churches, or small businesses — and it’s also on Sound Transit’s list. It’s the former Midway landfill in Kent, near South 246th and 252nd (PDF). 

This sixty-acre property sits between Pacific Highway South and Interstate 5. It was once home to a gravel pit (1945 through 196) before it was used by the City of Seattle as a landfill (1966 through 1983). It subsequently became a Superfund site.

Management of Dick’s wants Sound Transit to pick the Midway landfill site for OMF South, as does the Mayor of Kent, Dana Ralph. But as Sound Transit points out, it’s legally required to consider the alternatives before it makes a decision.

“People must understand that under the law we must look at a range of reasonable alternative sites,” Rogoff told KIRO7 back in January. He went on to observe: “Having to build over the landfill could cost hundreds of millions of dollars in additional cost in comparison to some of the other sites under consideration.”

That may be true. But Sound Transit must consider more than just dollars and cents when making this decision. Whenever possible, the displacement of homes, businesses, and churches should be avoided for public works projects like the extension of Link light rail. Sparing households and small business owners the anxiety and hassle of relocating should be a priority for Sound Transit.

Sometimes the taking of property is unavoidable, as there are no better alternatives. But here would seem to be an obvious answer to the question Where should we put this base? The former Midway landfill site, that’s where!

Naturally, Sound Transit is obligated to investigate all the options, and we do not begrudge them for doing their due diligence, even if that process offends some.

But when it comes time to make a decision, we think the former Midway landfill site ought to be chosen for this project, even if it entails a higher price tag.

Would there be risks involved with picking the Midway site?

Yes, almost certainly.

But further environmental remediation of the Midway site would be a worthy investment that would benefit everybody, especially communities in South King County. In our view, projects that clean up our built environment and reverse the mistakes that previous generations made are always worth it.

The cost of any repurposing of the site will likely have to be borne by taxpayers anyway, since the previous user of the site was a city… Seattle.

We can understand Sound Transit’s staff and board potentially being concerned with the prospect of choosing a location for OMF South that runs up the costs associated with the project. After all, critics would surely turn that into fodder for attacks. But let’s face it: those critics are going to attack ST no matter what it does.

The agency’s critics either openly clamor for its total demise (like Tim Eyman, who wants to rip away ST’s funding with I-976) or demand the impossible: deliver projects on the cheap, quickly, with no disruption to anyone’s livelihood. That is simply not possible when a project involves constructing new right-of-way.

And new right-of-way is what Sound Transit is in the business of building.

Sound Transit won’t win over its diehard critics no matter what decision it makes with regards to this or any other project. However, the agency has a golden opportunity to leave South King County better than it found it.

Picking the former landfill site for OMF South would be taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. But Sound Transit has welcomed difficult challenges before.

For instance, figuring out how to get Link across Lake Washington was no picnic. Light rail has never been deployed on a floating bridge before. The critics said it couldn’t be done. Sound Transit is proving them wrong.

The agency doesn’t have to take on this challenge alone. In fact, it shouldn’t. The Washington State Legislature should step in to help with the further cleanup of the former landfill by appropriating funds for environmental remediation.

Sound Transit could also approach the federal government for assistance.

As the agency has learned following the recurring failures of its escalators at Capitol Hill and University of Washington Stations, sometimes trying to save money in the short term doesn’t work, and produces major headaches down the line.

We think it makes more sense for Sound Transit’s leadership to think long term and make decisions that will stand the test of time. Boardmembers must act in the best interest of the communities Sound Transit is trying to serve and the region as a whole, even if that may entail accepting higher risks and costs on a given project.

Governor Inslee + Premier Horgan push back against Tim Eyman, call for high speed rail

This week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee is hosting British Columbia Premier John Horgan, the leader of the Evergreen State’s northern neighbor, as part of an effort to strengthen cross-border ties in this great green region we call Cascadia.

Horgan and Inslee participated in several events yesterday in Seattle and several more events are planned for today at the Capitol in Olympia, including a special address by Horgan to a joint session of the Washington State Legislature.

This is not the first meeting between the two men. They have become good friends since Horgan’s ascension to the premiership in British Columbia.

Jay Inslee and John Horgan

Governor Jay Inslee and Premier John Horgan take questions from reporters in Seattle (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

One of the cross-border initiatives the two leaders are very passionate about is creating a high speed rail link between Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington, with multiple daily roundtrips. A new high speed train would offer faster and more frequent service than Amtrak Cascades does today.

While our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute strongly supports Horgan and Inslee’s vision of a high speed rail network for Cascadia, we want everyone to know we are in danger of losing our existing Amtrak Cascades service next year if we don’t stop Tim Eyman’s latest incredibly destructive initiative, I-976.

Many people don’t know that Amtrak Cascades is actually a service of the States of Washington and Oregon. The line is operated by Amtrak, but most of the funding for it comes from the state level. WSDOT’s rail programs, which include Amtrak Cascades, get their funding from what is known as the Multimodal Account.

I-976 would eliminate the principal revenue sources for the Multimodal Account.

With I-976 destined to appear before Washington voters this autumn, I asked Inslee and Horgan to comment on the prospect of Amtrak Cascades service between Seattle and Vancouver being eliminated at their media availability today in Seattle. Below is a transcript of my question and their answers.

NPI’s ANDREW VILLENEUVE: A question for both of you. Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman has proposed a statewide initiative that would eliminate most of the funding Washington taxpayers provide to operate Amtrak Cascades. Voters will vote on it this fall. Governor Inslee, what is your position on this initiative? And Premier Horgan, what is the impact to our cross border relationship if the Amtrak Cascades rail link between Seattle and Vancouver goes away?

Thank you.

GOVERNOR INSLEE: Well, you had me when you said Tim Eyman, so you don’t have to go a lot further. We need rail transport, and we’re going to continue our support in that regard.

PREMIER HORGAN: And from our perspective… Governor Inslee invited me to join with the High Speed Corridor initiative that he has undertaken. We contributed, last year, $300,000 to the first phase of the study. We’re here today to announce an additional $300,000 towards the study to make connectivity between our two jurisdictions a tangible, real thing. We envision high speed rail coming from Seattle into the Lower Mainland with a terminus in Surrey, the fastest growing community in the Lower Mainland, which would connect to our SkyTrain and other public infrastructure to get to our airport, to get to Downtown Vancouver, and out to the [Fraser River] Valley.

Quite the contrary to saying no to more connections through rail… we want to see better and faster connections through rail!

GOVERNOR INSLEE: So, our preliminary review has shown this could generate 1.8 million riders in the first few years. So we are moving to the next step, which today is to look at a governance structure for a potential rail line. And in my budget, I’ve put in over three million dollars to establish a potential governance structure.

We’re confident that this is… we’re optimistic enough that [we’re] justified [in] taking this next step. And that’s based on optimism.

It’s based on an optimistic vision of the growth we’re going to have in British Columbia and Washington because we are a world-class community across that border. We have world-class growth. We have a hundred thousand-plus moving here every year or two.

And we have to have more dense and successful transportation corridors. And if you’ve traveled the world, and looked at what high speed rail can do in these [kind of] corridors, you will say, our people deserve this. Our people who are world class innovators, world-class inventors, world class inventors, world class cosmopolitans, [living in places] that the world is coming to… we deserve high-speed rail in my view, and I’m glad we’re pursuing this option.

This is what real leadership looks and sounds like.

Rather than simply playing defense against road warriors like Tim Eyman, Governor Inslee is going on offense in partnership with Premier Horgan, proposing better and faster rail service across the United States-Canada border at the Peace Arch.

As Governor Inslee said, we need rail transport. Today, Amtrak Cascades provides our only international rail link to Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a valuable service and one we don’t want to lose as we pursue development of a high speed rail line.

It is essential that we protect Amtrak Cascades, Sound Transit’s ST3 system expansion, King County Metro service hours, ferry service, and transportation investments across our state from Tim Eyman’s self-serving demolition derby.

Please join NPI in taking a position against I-976, either as an individual or on behalf an organization that you represent. Together, we can unite Washington in opposition to this harmful initiative and keep our state and region moving forward.

Liz Lovelett chosen to succeed Kevin Ranker as Senator for Washington’s 40th District

Anacortes City Councilmember Liz Lovelett became the newest member of the Washington State Senate today when she was chosen by the Whatom County Council, San Juan County Commission, and Skagit County Commission to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Senator Kevin Ranker.

“Liz Lovelett will be a great addition to our team,” Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said in a statement. “She brings a lot of local government experience and a passion for public service. I am very excited to welcome her to the Senate.”

Liz Lovelett has served the people of Anacortes as one of their representatives since 2014. Her current term of service ends December 31st, 2021.

“A fifth-generation Fidalgo Island resident, Lovelett has a track record of service to her community,” the Senate Democratic caucus said in a news release. “She has worked on water management and local water rights, school bond and oil train safety, and hazardous material transport. On the city council she has championed affordable housing, water management, and other community improvements. She was the primary author of Anacortes’ affordable housing strategic plan.”

Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

Lovelett was one of three individuals nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party to succeed Ranker. The other nominees were former State Representative Kris Lytton and Trevor Smith of the Laborers.

Lytton was the party’s first ranked nominee, but the State Constitution gives the county legislative authorities the actual appointing power, and they can choose from among any of the names on the list submitted by the party.

After interviewing Lytton, Lovelett, and Smith, the eleven county leaders present (with two more on the phone) discussed their options.

Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt of Skagit County moved to appoint Lovelett. Fellow Skagit Commissioner Ron Wesen seconded the motion.

Most of the Whatcom County Councilmembers voted against the motion, with two abstaining. All three of the San Juan County Commissioners voted in favor of Lovelett, as did two of the three Skagit County Commissioners.

Lovelett, thirty-nine, emphasized her work on issues like water use and ending homelessness during her interview at the joint meeting.

She cited equity as one of her core principles and explained that she would be a strong supporter of causes like environmental justice and LGBT rights.

And she argued that the Legislature could benefit from having a new legislator with deep familiarity of issues facing local governments.

“One of the things that I bring [to the table] is municipal government experience,” she said. “I think that that viewpoint is critical to have in Olympia as we figure out how to deal with these unfunded mandates that come from the State Legislature.”

This statement was well received by the assembled county leaders.

During the Q&A portion of the interview, Lovelett was asked if she plans to run in the coming special election in August and November of 2019. She confirmed that if she is appointed, she would seek to be retained in the position by the voters.

Lovelett will serve as Senator for the 40th until at least the end of November 2019.

Congratulations to her and best wishes as she assumes her new responsibilities!

Abolition now! NPI urges Senate Law & Justice Committee to end the death penalty

Editor’s Note: The following is the text of NPI founder Andrew Villeneuve’s testimony in support of Senate Bill 5339, prime sponsored by Senator Reuven Carlyle. This bill would end the death penalty once and for all in Washington State.

Chair Pedersen and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for hearing Senate Bill 5339 this morning.

On behalf of the team at the Northwest Progressive Institute, who work tirelessly to raise our region and country’s quality of life through insightful research and imaginative advocacy, I urge you to advance this vital legislation with a “do pass” recommendation so that it can be considered by the full State Senate.

Last year’s historic vote to repeal the death penalty was a watershed moment for the Senate. Although the bill did not receive a vote on the floor of the State House of Representatives, it nevertheless advanced the cause of equitable justice and human rights in Washington. Following the Senate’s historic vote, our team decided to gauge public support for life in prison alternatives to the death penalty after the 2018 Legislative Session adjourned Sine Die. In May of 2018, we went into the field with our survey, which asked the following question:

Of the following list of choices, which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: life in prison with NO possibility of parole, life in prison with NO possibility of parole and a requirement to work in prison and pay restitution to the victims, life in prison with a possibility of parole after at least forty years, or the death penalty?

The answers were as follows:

  • Prefer Life In Prison… (69% total)
    • … With No Possibility Of Parole: 10%
    • … With No Possibility Of Parole And A Requirement To Work in Prison And Pay Restitution To The Victims: 46%
    • … With A Possibility Of Parole After At Least Forty Years: 13%
  • Prefer The Death Penalty: 24%
  • Not Sure: 8%
Time for abolition in Washington State

Time for abolition in Washington State: End the death penalty

Our survey of six hundred and seventy-five likely 2018 Washington State voters was in the field May 22nd-23rd, 2018. The survey used a blended methodology with automated phone calls to landlines and online interviews of cell phone only respondents. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for NPI, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8% at the 95% confidence level.

What we found most striking about the responses were that not a single subsample within the survey favored the death penalty… not even Donald Trump voters. Trump voters favor life in prison by the slimmest of margins: 48% of them picked one of the three alternatives, while 46% want to keep the death penalty.

What this tells us is that there is broad agreement across the ideological spectrum for getting rid of the practice of putting people convicted of murder to death. Washingtonians increasingly agree: there is no humane way to kill someone. Life in prison without the possibility of parole should replace the death penalty.

There are many, many excellent reasons to abolish the death penalty, but perhaps the best one of all is that judges and juries are human. They make mistakes. Consequently, our criminal justice system cannot guarantee that an innocent person will never be sentenced to death for a crime of murder.

On that basis alone, we should abolish the death penalty.

A person sentenced to life in prison can be exonerated for a crime they did not commit, and freed from prison. The Innocence Project has helped free dozens of wrongly convicted people since its inception in 1992.

A person killed by the state, on the other hand, cannot be brought back. Once someone has been killed, they’re gone. If we truly value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we need to end the death penalty.

Our polling clearly shows that Washingtonians of all political persuasions are ready.

Last autumn, our Supreme Court converted all existing death sentences to life imprisonment when it found our existing death penalty statute unconstitutional.

Now the Legislature has an opportunity to finish the work that needs to be done. Let’s get this discriminatory and unjust statute off our books, and let the world community know that here in Washington, we value human rights.

Thank you.

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