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Confused About Washington Ballot Measures? Here’s What You Need to Know

Get important Washington voter information
(Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Some important issues are being decided this November. Do you know enough about all of them? 

To make an informed vote, you need information. Courtesy of the non-profit, non-partisan, Washington Policy Center, here is a look at some of the items on your ballot:

Initiative to the Legislature 502 would require the legislature to change current law related to the possession, sale and use of marijuana. If passed, the initiative would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues. Even if passed, there would be a conflict with federal drug laws, which might render the state law inoperative.

Initiative Measure No. 1185 would require that any bill to increase taxes be passed by a two-thirds vote in the legislature or else be passed directly by voters. A two-thirds vote would be required in both the House and the Senate before a bill to increase taxes could be passed. Any new or increased state fee could still be passed by a simple majority vote in the legislature. Initiative 1185 would confirm current state law as enacted when voters passed Initiative 1053 in 2010.
Read more in WPC’s Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 1185.

Initiative Measure No. 1240 would lift the ban on charter schools in Washington state. It would allow up to 40 publicly funded charter schools to open over a five-year period. These schools would be subject to state oversight and public accountability, including annual performance reviews to evaluate their success in educating students. Charter schools would be tuition free and open to all students. There would be an evaluation after five years to determine whether additional public charter schools should be allowed.
Read more in WPC’s Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 1240.

Referendum Measure 74 would confirm a bill (ESSB 6239) passed by the legislature that would allow same-gender couples to marry, would end registered domestic partnerships for people under age 62, and would allow clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony. This bill would apply marriage laws without regard to gender, and would require that laws using gender-specific terms like “husband” and “wife” be changed to include same-gender spouses. After 2014, all existing registered domestic partnerships would automatically be converted to marriages, except for seniors. A “yes” vote would confirm the same-gender marriage bill, and a “no” vote would repeal the bill.

*You can find additional information on ballot measures and voting courtesy of Washington Policy Center.

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