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Originally published February 9, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Page modified February 9, 2011 at 11:34 AM

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State bill ups regulation for signature gatherers

Washington lawmakers are seeking to tighten regulations on paid signature gatherers who circulate petitions for ballot initiatives.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. _ —

Washington lawmakers are seeking to tighten regulations on paid signature gatherers who circulate petitions for ballot initiatives.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, requires all signature-gathering businesses and paid signature gatherers to register with the Secretary of State.

It also ups the fee for filing initiatives or referenda from $5 to $500. But $450 of that would be refunded if the initiative qualifies for the ballot.

The bill's sponsors say the measure will help guarantee the validity of signatures collected by paid signature-gatherers and ensure greater transparency in the ballot measure process.

But opponents like initiative promoter Tim Eyman fear the bill will stifle citizens' ability to get their issues on the ballot.

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