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Olympia rally supports six initiatives to the Legislature; three get hearings next week

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(The Center Square) – A few hundred people turned out for a rally on the steps of the state Capitol in Olympia today.

The rally was organized by Let’s Go Washington, the group behind the six citizen initiatives to the legislature, signed by more than 800,000 individual voters.

Three of the measures are scheduled for public hearings next week. Those include I-2113 to give law enforcement more discretion in pursuits, I-2081 concerning parental notification, and I-2111 banning a state income tax.

Three other initiatives that would repeal the Climate Commitment Act, repeal the capital gains tax and allow opt-outs of the WA Cares Fund, are not expected to get hearings before the legislative sessions ends March 7.

That means they will be on the ballot in November.

Let’s Go Washington founder Brian Heywood spoke with The Center Square just ahead of the rally.

“If we were in school and we only turned in three of our six assignments, we’d get an F for a failing grade,” Heywood said. “The state constitution says over everything else they (lawmakers) are supposed to look at initiatives to the legislature.”

Heywood thinks Democrats opted to hold hearings on the three initiatives based on polling that showed wide popularity for the measures.

“I suspect the ones they didn’t do, you’ll see lots of outside money coming in to try and fight them,” he said.

Republican State Senator Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, drew loud cheers from the crowd when she shared how many people have signed in PRO on the three initiatives to get public hearings next week.

“As of noon today, we’ve had 1,184 people sign in PRO on I-2111, the income tax initiative and that’s more than 90% in favor,” she said. “On the police pursuit measure, 1,254 people have signed in with 96% of those being PRO, and I-2081, the parental notification one, 1,194 have signed in with 97% being PRO.”

Attendees told The Center Square that they were dissatisfied with the state’s direction, calling for an end to complacency and a return to self-governance.

Near the end of the hour-and-a-half rally, Heywood said he has often asked why he used so much of his own money to fund the initiative campaigns.

“If you’re not a greedy bastard, why are you doing this,” he asked rhetorically.

Heywood recalled growing up poor in Arizona amid the gas price spikes of the 1970s, forcing his family to make difficult choices.

“Do we pay this bill or that one, and it’s bad enough when the market does that, but when government does it on purpose, $300 to $800 just in your gas bill, that hurts,” he said. “And would go around the state and talk to people and there was so much frustration, and despondency and people moving out of the state, and so this was one way we could do something about it.”

He continued, “I’ve been sort of amazed at the response of the elitist snobs who are trying to force this stuff down our throats.”

That comment drew loud cheers and applause.

He then mentioned a recent Democratic energy voucher proposal, saying it amounts to a “$200 bribe coming in October and I’m sure the timing is just a coincidence being right before the election.”

The checks would only go to lower-income residents.

“And then if you vote the right way (and reject the CCA repeal) in February we’ll give you more money, and I think that’s shameful and an out and out bribe,” he said.

Supporters of the CCA claim construction projects and planned infrastructure upgrades would be scuttled if voters chose to repeal the carbon auction. Opponents of repealing the state’s capital gains tax have warned it would “devastate” public education should the revenue stream be halted.

Heywood urged those in attendance to show up for next week’s public hearings on the three measures, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I-2111 will receive a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. I-2081 will receive a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. I-2113 will receive a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.