WAmend’s Initiative 735 — which would put Washington State on record in support of a federal constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction that corporations are people and money is speech — has been certified as an initiative to the 2016 Legislature, Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office announced this morning.
Wyman’s Communications Director David Ammons writes:
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.
WAmend and partner Fix Democracy First turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures for I‑735 a month ago after the completion of a lengthy signature drive. At the time, the WAmend coalition (which includes NPI) felt confident that enough signatures had been submitted to ensure the initiative would qualify, but it’s really nice to have received confirmation from the Secretary of State that I‑735 has now passed its random sample check without any problems.
We can all breathe a sigh of relief: after all those months of hard work, we made it!
I‑735 was qualified to the Legislature and the 2016 ballot using primarily volunteer signature gatherers, which is unusual in an era of big money in politics. The field effort was overseen by NPI Advisory Council member Steve Zemke, a veteran of numerous past initiative campaigns. Steve served as WAmend’s Field Director.
The Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to take up I‑735, which means it will automatically go to the November 2016 ballot to be voted on by the people of Washington State. However, Democratic State Representative Noel Frame and Democratic State Senator Maralyn Chase have introduced bills in the Legislature that mirror I‑735. These are HB 2848 and SB 6505. Neither has been scheduled for a hearing yet. HB 2848 will likely get a hearing in Sam Hunt’s State Government Committee within the next couple of weeks. Hunt is one of the bill’s cosponsors.