Supporters of the Washington Energy Choice Initiative Turn in 431,000 Signatures of Registered Voters

Supporters of the Washington Energy Choice Initiative Turn in 431,000 Signatures of Registered Voters

Initiative 2066 supporters took more than 431,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office in Tumwater on Tuesday afternoon. They want the measure to protect energy options like natural gas and propane to be on the ballot in November.

Let’s Go Washington, the Building Industry Association of Washington, and other groups did two news conferences on Tuesday. The first one was at noon in Redmond, and the second one was at 3 p.m. at SOS headquarters to deliver signatures.

At the second event, Brian Heywood, who runs the Let’s Go Washington voter campaign group, said, “We’re turning in today for Initiative 2066, which would stop the state from enforcing a natural gas ban, 431,063 signatures.”

A small group of fans cheered as more than 18 boxes of signed petitions were put on rolling carts and brought inside to be checked.

According to state law, you need 324,516 acceptable signatures from registered Washington voters to qualify. That number comes from the number of votes made in the most recent election for governor.

Because some petition signatures are often found to be illegal because they were copied or not registered, sponsors should file as many signatures as they can. An extra “cushion” of 15% to 20% is usually enough to help get a measure on the ballot.

On Monday, before the Tumwater press conference on Tuesday, Olympia Master Builders’ Jessie Simmons told The Center Square that he was turning in more petition signatures that had not yet been added to the list.

“These were all just brought to the office today by different people,” Simmons said. “Our group held some super signing events where we got a few hundred signatures; we’ve gotten a lot of support.”

Heywood told The Center Square that getting more than 430,000 signatures in 44 days was more than he thought was possible. He also said that more papers would be delivered by Friday, which is the last day to turn in signatures.

“We polled people on this and got results like 80-10-10, which means that 80% were against the ban, 10% were for it, and 10% didn’t know, so I knew it was a winning issue,” Heywood said.

He said that the message supporters send from now until November is very important because opponents with lots of money will be running a campaign against the measure.

“They’re going to lie and say it’s not a ban, but the bill does require PSE to create a geographic electrification plan that gets rid of places where they won’t provide natural gas.”

That refers to House Bill 1589, which was passed and signed into law this session. It lets Puget Sound Energy start making plans for how to move away from natural gas. The effort to get I-2066 on the November ballot began when HB 1589 was passed.

Dear Sir or Madam, I think our word will be that this [I-2066] will stop a ban from happening, no matter what 1589 was trying to do. “And you should support this if you’re not going to ban natural gas, right?”

“This is a preemptive strike to say you are not going to ban natural gas or make it so expensive that it’s a de facto ban,” he said.

Three proposals backed by Republicans are already on the November ballot, and voters will decide what to do about them. A few of them would get rid of the Climate Commitment Act, the state’s capital gains tax, and the program that helps workers pay for long-term care.


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