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Voter Initiative Law

The Washington State Constitution includes the right of the people to directly enact legislation through the initiative process. The Washington Constitution also requires that an initiative contain a single subject, which must be expressed in the title.

Our firm has argued before the Washington Supreme Court two of the most important single subject/subject in title voter initiative cases. We successfully challenged Initiative 695 in Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 v. State, 142 Wn.2d 183, 11 P.3d 762 (2000), and prevented massive funding cuts to mass transit and other governmental programs. In Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention v. State, 174 Wn.2d 642, 278 P.3d 632 (2012), we fell one vote short of invalidating the Costco liquor privatization initiative because it failed to inform voters of hidden tax hikes.

Frank Freed Subit & Thomas has been retained for its expertise in several other voter initiative cases. Our clients are usually labor unions and other non-profit organizations, but we have also represented small business interests. In Community Care Coalition v. Reed, 165 Wn.2d 606, 200 P.2d 701 (2009), we successfully defended in the Washington Supreme Court the placement of Initiative 1029 on the November 2009 ballot. The voters passed the measure thus improving long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Our firm is very proud of its work to protect both the availability and the integrity of the initiative process in Washington.