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Signature gathering begins for WA ballot measure to repeal natural gas phase out

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(The Center Square) – A court challenge over the title of an initiative to the ballot concerning the natural gas phase-out in Washington has ended.

Supporters of the measure to repeal HB 1589 have been unable to gather signatures for their effort that hopes to qualify for the Fall ballot, because opponents challenged language of the initiative title and summary explanation that will go to voters.

After a Wednesday hearing in Thurston County Superior Court, a judge ruled that most language in the title will remain the same.

“The voters got a big win because what came out of the court is an accurate reflection of what the initiative does and that is what it’s supposed to be. A voter should be able to read that ballot title and summary and understand the impact of the ballot measure and we got a great result and voters will be able to understand,” said Greg Lane, Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington, backing the measure. “We’re disappointed that this delayed us 2 weeks, but that was their intent so we couldn’t start the process, but ultimately the voters won and we can start the signature gathering process.”

Initiative 2066 is the measure to repeal the phase out of natural gas.

“I think the public is on our side on this and now I have no doubt we can get the signatures in time,” Lane added.

Lane concedes the time frame for gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures within 7-weeks, is a challenge.

He said some signature gatherers were already out Wednesday evening. By the weekend, Lane said Washington voters would see petitions across the state.

The Center Square did not receive a response from the petitioners at time of publication.