Voters approve raising the minimum wage, gun restrictions but not carbon tax, campaign finance reform
Despite numerous polls and pundits predicting that Hillary Clinton would become the first female President of the United States, Republican nominee Donald Trump won a decisive number of electoral college votes to become the next leader of the United States on January 20, 2017.
The iconoclast businessman helped down ballot Republicans get elected to solid majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for full control of all three arms of the federal government for the first time since 2008.
Nationally, the move to legalize marijuana took a huge step forward with voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approving the recreational use of the drug. The entire West Coast is now a legal marijuana zone. Arizona voters narrowly turned down a recreational use measure while North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida and Montana voters passed laws to legalize medical marijuana.
In Washington state, incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Inslee won handily over Republican Bill Bryant with 56 percent of the votes cast. Current Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Republican, also led her opponent Tina Podlodowski with 53 percent of the votes.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray will be returning to Washington after a convincing win over Republican Chris Vance with a nearly half-million vote lead, or 61 percent. U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene will be sharing the plane ride with Murray after she whomped Republican opponent Robert Sutherland with a 57 percent share of the vote.
In state measures, the electorate voted in favor of Initiative Measure No. 1433, which would increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 in 2017 with higher wages to follow in succeeding years. The initiative took slightly under 60 percent of the vote.
Voters strongly approved Initiative Measure No. 1491, which would impose a temporary restriction on gun ownership for those with a court-issued extreme risk protection order. Over 70 percent of ballots were cast in favor of the measure.
Washington voters decisively voted against a carbon emission tax, 58 percent to 41 percent. The measure was the first time a U.S. state had put a carbon tax on a ballot.
Similarly, voters turned a jaundiced eye on Initiative Measure No. 1464 with nearly 100,000 No votes more than those in favor. If approved, the initiative would have established a public campaign finance system.
In District 42, voters opted to re-elect Republican incumbents Luanne Van Werven for state representative position 1 and Vincent Buys for state representative position 2 with 54 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
Whatcom County’s Emergency Medical Services Levy, which would impose a tax of 29.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value, is narrowly losing with 46,866 Yes votes (59.78%) to 31,538 No votes (40.22%). The measure requires a 60 percent super-majority Yes vote to pass as does a $300,000 Point Roberts Park and Recreation District levy to renovate the public library. At time of press, the library levy is handily losing with only 249 Yes votes (52.75%) to 223 No votes (47.25%).
Election figures are current as of 4 p.m. on November 14. All numbers will be updated until results are certified at the end of November.
Initiative Measure No. 1433 concerns labor standards.
The measure would increase the minimum wage statewide to $11 in 2017 and higher in each succeeding year until 2020.
Initiative Measure No. 1464 concerns campaign finance laws and lobbyists.
The measure would establish a campaign finance system to, among other things, allow citizens to direct state funds to candidates.
Initiative Measure No. 1491 concerns court-issued extreme risk protection orders temporarily preventing access to firearms.
The measure would prevent access to firearms if a court-issued extreme risk protection order was issued.
Initiative Measure No. 1501 concerns seniors and vulnerable individuals.
The measure would establish protections for seniors and the vulnerable by increasing penalties.
Initiative Measure No. 732 concerns taxes.
The measure would impose a tax on specified fossil fuels and other fossil fuel generated electricity and would reduce the sales tax.
Initiative Measure No. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution.
The measure would amend the constitution to define protections of free speech.
Advisory Vote No. 14
The legislature extended, without a vote of the people, the insurance premium tax to some insurance for stand-alone family dental plans, costing an indeterminate amount in the first ten years, for government spending.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 8210
The legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on the deadline for completing state legislative and congressional redistricting. This amendment would require the state redistricting commission to complete redistricting for state legislative and congressional districts by November 15 of each year ending in a one, 46 days earlier than currently required.