November 6th: Midterm election, initiative highlight

The midterm election polls close on November 6 and there are four initiatives that have caught public eye. These initiatives will affect citizens of Bellevue for years to come.

The first is Initiative 1631, a measure which proposes charging additional pollution fees on sources of greenhouse gas pollutants and then using the revenue to reduce pollution, promote clean energy and address climate impacts, under oversight of a public board. This initiative will raise a staggering estimated $2,295,785,000 over the first 5 fiscal years, and over 185 million dollars of the anticipated revenue has already been earmarked for spending.

Critics of the measure say it should be voted down because the oversight board is not elected, six out of Washington’s top ten polluting companies will be exempt, the initiative is written so that the new taxes can increase without a cap or receiving additional permissions, the initiative has no clear plan to reduce emissions and finally, that the cost of these new taxes will be largely passed onto small business owners and consumers.

Proponents of the measure say that the initiative will build a healthier future for generations to come, that it will hold the state’s largest polluters accountable, make clean energy more affordable in our state and that it will help create 41,000 new jobs.

The second Initiative, I1634, would prohibit new or increased local taxes, fees or assessments on raw or processed foods or beverages or ingredients thereof, with some exceptions.

Proponents of this initiative say that it will protect our food from being taxed even more and will help keep groceries affordable amongst the rising cost of living. They also say that it will stop Washington taxes from becoming more regressive.

Opponents of the measure say that it takes away local control and gives up power to the state. They say that this initiative is being funded and pushed by large soda companies to take away our control of local taxes.

Third on the list is Initiative 1639 which would require increased background checks, training, age limitations and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles, criminalize non-compliant storage upon unauthorized use, allow fees and enact other provisions.
Proponents of this rule say it will make for safer schools and communities. They claim that these changes will reduce access to these weapons and make sure that those who own them are trained and motivated to store them safely.

Opponents of the bill claim that it removes rights from law abiding adults. They complain that this initiative will make firearms unavailable for self-defense and point out that the Supreme court invalidated a similar law as a violation of the second amendment. They claim that this is about rifles and does not address the real issue: handguns.

The final Initiative, I940 would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalations, mental-health and first aid training, and require that they provide first aid, and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation.
Proponents of the bill say that it will save lives, protect people in mental health crises and address the tensions created by racial and economic differences.

Opponents claim that the initiative would be costly to implement, that it fails to address funding or resources and that it pits law enforcement against the public.