In 2024, Washington voters may be asked to decide the fate of several initiatives — proposed laws that will appear on the November ballot for approval or rejection. These initiatives, sponsored by Washington State Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh and funded by wealthy donor Brian Heywood, primarily seek to repeal recently passed laws enacted by our elected representatives to help Washington achieve a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous future. Passage of any of these measures would undo years of collaborative, hard-won progress on climate action, revenue fairness, public safety, and access to healthcare.

It’s imperative that next year, with so much at stake, we come together as a state to stop greed and keep Washington moving in a positive direction. We face many challenges as a state: a massive housing shortage, longer wildfire seasons made worse by climate damage, an antiquated tax code that’s worsening income inequality, and rising healthcare costs, to name just a few examples. Many of the modest steps we’ve taken so far to address these challenges would be nullified by Walsh and Heywood’s slate of initiatives. That’s why people and groups across Washington are teaming up to urge a NO vote on each of the following:

  • Initiative 2117 — repeals the Climate Commitment Act, which is raising funds to fight climate damage
  • Initiative 2109 — repeals billions in education funding by eliminating the capital gains tax on the wealthy
  • Initiative 2113 — rolls back restrictions on police pursuits that are making our communities safer
  • Initiative 2124 — sabotages the WA Cares plan to help Washingtonians afford long-term care
  • Initiative 2111 — bars the state and local governments from levying taxes based on ability to pay
  • Initiative 2081 — forces public schools to give parents information that students may not want shared

Frequently asked questions about the initiatives

Q: What are the proponents of these initiatives trying to achieve?

A: The proponents of these initiatives have lost several consecutive elections for governor and control of the state legislature, but they nevertheless believe Washington should be governed in accordance with their values and principles, so they’re trying to nullify some of the laws they dislike the most through the initiative process. Their aim is to convince voters to repudiate the good work of our elected representatives. The laws they are targeting for repeal are doing things like strengthening our common wealth and enabling us to pool our resources to fight climate damage and increase funding for our public schools. The proponents (who have named their effort “Let’s Go Washington”) fundamentally don’t believe in ideas like putting a price on pollution or requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share in dues (taxes) to our state. They believe in discredited economic theories like trickle-down economics — the notion that if we give the rich big tax breaks, they’ll use their wealth to create jobs for people. Decades of data and experience demonstrate that trickle-down doesn’t — but proponents remain firmly committed to the theory.

Q: What must the proponents do to force public votes on their proposals?

A: They must submit around 405,000 signatures for each of them by the end of this year — December 29th at 5 PM Pacific Time, to be precise. The Constitution requires that initiatives receive a number of signatures equivalent to 8% of the number of people who voted in the last election for governor to qualify. The minimum number of valid signatures required is currently 324,516, however, 405,000 is the number of signatures the Secretary of State recommends submitting to ensure qualification. That latter number includes a cushion to account for duplicate and invalid signatures. Their six initiatives are initiatives to the Legislature, which means they go to the House and Senate first for consideration. If the House and Senate don’t approve them, they would be forwarded to the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide.

Q: When will we know if any of the initiatives have qualified?

A: Within the next few weeks, the Secretary of State will count the signatures that the proponents submit and then conduct either a random sample check or a full check of the signatures. If the Secretary of State finds that enough valid signatures have been submitted, a certification announcement will be made and the initiatives will be transmitted to the Legislature, likely no later than the end of January. The House and Senate might then choose to hold public hearings on the initiatives as part of the 2024 legislative session, which runs from mid-January until mid-March.

Q: 405,000 multiplied by six is over 2.4 million — where are the resources coming from to gather all those signatures?

A: Millionaire Brian Heywood, the driving force behind this slate of six initiatives, has put up over $5 million of his own money to allow Let’s Go Washington to hire paid petitioners. According to reports filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, Heywood has contributed over 87% of the funds to this effort, a staggering sum. Some of that $5 million was loaned to Let’s Go Washington, so Heywood is evidently hoping to get it back at some point, perhaps by appealing to well-funded interests like oil companies to invest money in his effort. Heywood’s petitioners have been out collecting signatures for all of the measures that Heywood and Walsh hope to qualify. As of November 20th, Let’s Go Washington claimed to have 2,217,473 signatures, with a goal of 2,520,000, but we don’t know if those figures are truthful or not.

Q: When will it be time to vote NO on these initiatives?

A: If any qualify, they would not go before voters until next autumn. If you are a voter in Washington, you would see them on your ballot beginning in October, when ballots go out for the presidential election. State law requires initiatives to appear first, even above the race for President of the United States, so they would be right at the top.

Q: How can I recognize the initiatives?

A: These are their ballot titles, as drafted by the Office of the Attorney General, which writes concise descriptions and summaries for proposed initiatives:

Initiative Measure No. 2081 concerns parental rights relating to their children’s public school education.

This measure would provide certain rights to parents and guardians of public-school children, including rights to review instructional materials, inspect records, receive certain notifications, and opt out of certain activities, like sexual-health education.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Initiative Measure No. 2109 concerns taxes.

This measure would repeal an excise tax imposed on the sale or exchange of certain long-term capital assets by individuals who have annual capital gains of over $250,000.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Initiative Measure No. 2111 concerns taxes.

This measure would prohibit the state, counties, cities, and other local jurisdictions from imposing or collecting income taxes, defined as having the same meaning as “gross income” in the Internal Revenue Code.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Initiative Measure No. 2113 concerns vehicular pursuits by peace officers.

This measure would remove certain restrictions on vehicular pursuits, allowing them upon conditions including an officer’s reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and poses a threat to the safety of others.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Initiative Measure No. 2117 concerns carbon tax credit trading.

This measure would prohibit state agencies from imposing any type of carbon tax credit trading, and repeal legislation establishing a cap and invest program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Initiative Measure No. 2124 concerns state long term care insurance.

This measure would provide that employees and self-employed people must elect to keep coverage under RCW 50B.04 and could opt-out any time. It would also repeal a law governing an exemption for employees.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

It is possible that not all of these measures will qualify for the ballot.

For any that do, we urge you to vote NO to protect Washington’s future.

Q: How can I stay informed and take action to help build the NO campaign?

A: You can subscribe to our Stop Greed email list.