I emailed Rep. Hunt’s legislative assistant to find out if there had been anything new after our meeting. At the time Hunt said he’d talk to the state government committee staff. She had no news, but said that she’d follow up with Hunt for me.
Also, I’m emailing Rep. Sherry Appleton this afternoon to prompt her on the idea. She’d been in front of the paid-per-signature ban (see the post below). I think the printer petition idea would be a nice counter weight.
UPDATE: My email:
Thank you for sponsoring and for speaking out on banning the paid-per-signature model for initiative campaigns. I agree with you that the current way of doing things in regards to initiatives gives far to much power to the well-funded campaigns.
Something else you should consider is reducing the minimum size of initiative petitions to 8.5 by 11. Right now, Washington has the largest minimum size in the country at 11 by 14 inches. By reducing the minimum size of the petition, you allow anyone to print out a petition and circulate it.
I have discussed this idea with my representative, Sam Hunt, who said he would talk about it with the staff of the State Government committee. I have also written about my research on this idea here: https://printerdemocracy.wordpress.com/
Having not met with many elected officials (well, probably more than most people, but I’m still not used to it) I’d say today’s meeting with Rep. Sam Hunt went well.
As a sort of review, I’d been trying to schedule a meeting with him since summer, but through a series of mishaps and misadventures, I wasn’t able to make it in until the week before session. My plan was to hit him up way before session, but I’m obviously not a pro at this.
Why Rep. Hunt in particular was important to me was because he had two things going for him: he’s one of my representatives (I live in Olympia) and he’s also chair of the State Government Committee, which would be the right committee for this to go through. I guess I’m pretty luck to have my representative in charge of that one.
The meeting itself was pretty quick. I actually was the one who ended it, I thanked him for his time when I thought we’d pretty much covered everything and after he told me that he’d pass the idea by committee staff. That is all he could really say at this point, I guess, get some other minds on the idea.
In general he seemed supportive of the idea, but didn’t give up much about what the chances of an actual bill would be. My main thrust was on the idea that too much of the initiative process has been handed to too few of us because the costs are too high. We started the conversation talking about how a Republican representative had put forward this idea the last few years, but that the idea itself, and how it puts more power in the hands of the people, is actually progressive.
And, here’s something I didn’t know. Rep. Hunt, back when he was regular old Sam Hunt, collected signatures for Initiative 345, which repealed the sales tax on food. He stood outside grocery stores for hours getting people to put their signatures on the line.
Tomorrow I’ll finally sit down with my local representative that has a more direct say in bills that effect the initiative process. Mostly my fault it has taken me so long, and I’m thinking this lateness will really prevent anything happening on Printer Democracy this session.
I’m sure Rep. Hunt already has tons on his plate for this year, and reforming the initiative process (even in a small way) might not be one of them. But, I have my 15 minutes tomorrow morning, so I’ll let you know.
Either way, I have a new handout (pdf file) with proposed bill language on the back, so I’m sure that will help.
I can’t tell you, the meeting was moved to Nov. 29. And, I’m probably going to have to call to change that meeting time too, since I have something going on that morning for work, most likely. Crap-a-doodle. I’m not very good at being a lobbyist, I can’t even get the scheduling thing down.
Exchanged emails with Hunt’s LA today, and we’re on for Nov. 16 at
9a (Rep. Hunt has a breakfast meeting) 915a.
This might also be a good day to do my lit drop at the legislative office buildings, since they might just be in committee that week.
If you just happened upon this blog, and you were wondering what the heck this is all about, and whether I’m actually dead and so is the idea, fear not. I’m not, its not.
I’ve been off working on other related projects, like this one that is meant to collect other great ideas like mine and put them together.
Also, I’m still trying to get a meeting with my local representative who is on the right committee.
The meeting went well, I was early (way early) and so I scoured the first floor of the office building he's in for a nice bench so I could enjoy their nice public wifi. I ended up settling for an almost falling apart chair left outside a hearing room. No public seating in the John O'Brien building?
Rep. Sam Hunt walked by while I was waiting, and asked if the teacher had sent me out into the hall. Nope, only place I could find to sit down.
I had a two page handout for Rep. Williams, including this text (including a typo I caught while waiting), some proposed bill text (Nixon's without the width and height reference) and my example.
Anyway, Rep. Williams seemed supportive of my idea, even when I told him it had been sponsored by Rep. Toby Nixon a few years before. He said he'd look into why it didn't pass three years ago, and that I should approach the above mentioned Rep. Hunt about it too since he sits on the right committee. I did know this, but I had another reason to go talk to Rep. Williams first and I wanted to get that under my belt before I went to Hunt.
Not that I was nervous, I just didn't know what to expect.
I did serve up some of the criticisms of the idea, specifically the one that I've had the most probles refuting: that reducing the petition size to a commonly used size of paper would increase the amount of initiative fraud. Folks faking petitions, stuff like that.
Rep. Williams, though, responded quickly saying that that sort of thing could happen now if someone really wanted to do it, which has been my only response. Awesome.
All around, good first meeting.