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Wednesday politics wrap: Ref. 74, charter schools, contraception coverage
Two weeks to go until June 6 when supporters of Referendum 74 are required to hand in 120,577 valid signatures to the Secretary of State's office. If successful, voters would be asked in November if they wish to affirm or repeal Washington's gay marriage law passed by the Legislature.
Word from ferry lines, grocery stores and other locations is that some signature gatherers are juggling clipboards, so to speak, handing potential signers two petitions at a time, one for Tim Eyman's anti-tax measure, Initiative 1185, and another for Referendum 74 that aims to undo the recently passed gay marriage law..
"We have been told of it happening occasionally,'' said Chris Plante, deputy campaign director for Preserve Marriage Washington. which is backing Referendum 74. "It's not a formal agreement in any way shape or form. The only way we know about it is because some people have reported it.''
Plante said referendum proponents have 116,253 signatures so far and have hired paid signature gatherers in the last 10 days to ensure the long-term goal of 150,000 signatures, the amount necessary to cover the requirement and padding for signatures that are not valid.
Plante said sometimes signature gatherers collect signatures in the hopes of being paid, on spec. And that may be happening in this case.
Tuesday, Secretary of State spokesman David Ammons released a guide to what happens next regarding gay marriage if the signatures are turned in on time --- or not.
Catholic groups are suing the Obama administration over parts of Obama health-care rules that say Catholic employers have to provide access to services they feel are contrary to their religious beliefs.
Today's question: Do people feel differently if the challenge on such coverage comes not from Republican presidential candidates but instead from Catholic dioceses, social service agencies and other institutions?
More on the jump.
Crosscut.com is reporting that the folks behind the last-minute charter schools initiative have $7 million to support the effort. One wonders if that is enough to overcome the very late start for signature gathering.
The Secretary of State's office says it was a "watershed'' year for candidate filings, with huge turnover in statewide, legislative and congressional seats spurring unusually strong interest.
But incumbents in the legislature are still very comfortable by and large.
Ballotpedia, an online almanac about state politics, shows 85 percent of Washington incumbents won't even face a primary challenger.
Here is an excerpt:
According to Ballotpedia, of Washington's 124 seats up for election in November, 93 incumbents are running for re-election. 14 of 93 (15.1%) incumbents will face a primary opponent. 31 of 124 (25%) districts are open seats, meaning there are no incumbents running in them. And in just 16 of the 124 (12.9%) districts, there will be only one major party candidate in the general election.
"Similarly to 2010, Washington state elections will once again be dominated by the incumbent. However, with 31 open districts there will be opportunities for new voices to be heard in the Washington State Legislature," said Tyler King, Editor of Ballotpedia's State Legislative Competitiveness Index.
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