The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Shelly Short’s subscribers Feb. 1, 2024. To subscribe to Sen. Short’s e-newsletters, click here.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This is the year the people are fighting back!
The people of Washington are sending a stern message to Olympia with six initiatives that demonstrate their frustration with the direction of state government. Some 2.6 million signatures were collected on petitions to place these initiatives before this year’s Legislature. Last week, state elections officials finished counting signatures and declared all six of them had qualified. At last, the people will have their say on some of the most troubling legislation ever to emerge from the state Capitol.
These six measures, taken together, are a stunning expression of public discontent with Olympia’s radical tilt of recent years.
- Initiative 2113 restores the authority of police to pursue fleeing suspects, and says no to efforts to weaken law enforcement,
- Initiative 2117 repeals the cap-and-trade laws that have increased gas prices about 50 cents a gallon,
- Initiative 2081 establishes parental rights in K-12 education, and gives parents a say in what their children are taught,
- Initiative 2109 repeals the income tax on capital gains our colleagues passed in 2021,
- Initiative 2111 bans all further efforts to impose an income tax, and
- Initiative 2124 allows Washingtonians to opt out of the new and deeply flawed long-term care insurance program and avoid the steep payroll tax that goes with it.
The people’s safety valve
With these initiatives, the people are saying the Legislature has gone too far. And I want you to know — I feel the same way.
The change in direction started in 2018, when Democrats won total control of the statehouse — the House, the Senate and the governor’s mansion. Under one-party control, the Legislature lost its balance. Our urban colleagues began work on an agenda that asserts greater control over our daily lives, drives up the cost of living and declares that crime is something we should tolerate.
One of the great things about Washington is that our state constitution gives the people the last word. When enough people sign petitions, they can place an initiative before the Legislature or send it straight to the ballot. Initiatives are really the people’s final recourse when the Legislature is controlled by a majority party that fails to listen to their voices.
What happens from here
These initiatives were submitted to the Legislature, and that gives us a chance for a do-over. We could pass these measures as we would any other bill. If we don’t pass them, the constitution says they must advance to the ballot. The Legislature also has the ability to forward alternative measures to the ballot and let voters choose.
Right now our colleagues are saying they plan to do nothing. That would mean all six measures will advance to the November general election ballot. This would turn the election into a referendum on the leadership we have seen in Olympia over the last six years.
Our friends might feel differently about this, but I personally am interested in what the people of Washington have to say.
Thanks for reading — it is an honor serving you!
Sen. Shelly Short, 7th Legislative District
Mailing address: P.O. Box 40407/ Olympia, WA/ 98504
Website address: https://shellyshort.src.wastateleg.org/
Legislative Hotline: 1 (800) 562-6000