NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, February 10th, 2012

State House passes NPI-supported bill to make ballot advertising more transparent

Good news out of the Capi­tol Cam­pus this after­noon: Wash­ing­ton’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has just approved a bill spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Andy Bil­lig that makes it eas­i­er for vot­ers to find out who’s try­ing to influ­ence them to vote in favor of (or in oppo­si­tion to) bal­lot mea­sures. I tes­ti­fied in favor of this bill before the State Gov­ern­ment & Trib­al Affairs Com­mit­tee a cou­ple weeks ago, along with NPI board mem­ber Steve Zemke and NPI con­trib­u­tor Steve Breaux.

The vote was sev­en­ty-five to twen­ty-two. The roll call was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Yea:  Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ahern, Ander­son, Angel, Apple­ton, Arm­strong, Asay, Bai­ley, Bil­lig, Blake, Car­lyle, Clib­born, Cody, Darneille, Dick­er­son, Dun­shee, Eddy, Finn, Fitzgib­bon, Good­man, Green, Haigh, Hansen, Har­grove, Har­ris, Hasegawa, Hope, Hud­gins, Hunt, Hunter, Hurst, Jink­ins, John­son, Kagi, Kel­ley, Ken­ney, Kir­by, Laden­burg, Liias, Lyt­ton, Maxwell, McCoy, Milos­cia, Moeller, Mor­ris, Moscoso, Orcutt, Orms­by, Orwall, Park­er, Ped­er­sen, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Prob­st, Reyk­dal, Rivers, Roberts, Rodne, Ross, Ryu, San­tos, Seaquist, Sells, Smith, Springer, Stan­ford, Sul­li­van, Takko, Tharinger, Upthe­grove, Van De Wege, Walsh, War­nick, Wylie, Zeiger, and Mr. Speak­er [Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chopp]

Vot­ing Nay:  Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alexan­der, Buys, Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, Crouse, Dahlquist, Dammeier, DeBolt, Fagan, Haler, Hin­kle, Klip­pert, Kretz, Kris­tiansen, McCune, Over­street, Pear­son, Schmick, Shea, Short, Tay­lor, and Wilcox

Excused:  Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nealey

A num­ber of Repub­li­cans crossed over to join all of the House­’s Democ­rats in vot­ing aye on the bill. How­ev­er, the four Repub­li­cans on the House­’s State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee — who con­ferred with Muk­il­teo ini­tia­tive prof­i­teer Tim Eyman pri­or to oppos­ing the bill in exec­u­tive ses­sion — all vot­ed no (Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Tay­lor, Over­street, Con­dot­ta, and Alexan­der).

Tay­lor and Over­street each offered mul­ti­ple amend­ments to the bill on the House floor (most would have weak­ened the bill), but they were all reject­ed.

Cur­rent state law requires that all writ­ten polit­i­cal adver­tis­ing (whether per­tain­ing to can­di­dates or bal­lot propo­si­tions) include the name and address of the per­son or enti­ty pay­ing for the adver­tis­ing. Radio and tele­vi­sion adver­tis­ing must include the spon­sor’s name. The use of made-up or assumed names is pro­hib­it­ed.

HB 2499 requires that any adver­tis­ing for or against bal­lot mea­sures cost­ing more than a thou­sand dol­lars must iden­ti­fy the top five con­trib­u­tors of the polit­i­cal com­mit­tee that paid for the adver­tis­ing.

It’s not an ambi­tious bill, but it’s impor­tant nonethe­less.

HB 2499 now heads to the state Sen­ate. After it receives its first read­ing there, it will like­ly be referred to the Gov­ern­ment Oper­a­tions, Trib­al Rela­tions, & Elec­tions Com­mit­tee, which is cur­rent­ly chaired by Sen­a­tor Craig Pride­more.

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