Statement applauding Judge Zipp’s ruling in Walsh v. Hobbs

In the Courts

Moments ago, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Allyson Zipp issued a ruling in Walsh v. Hobbs, Washington State Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh’s lawsuit to evade a fiscal transparency law that the Washington State Legislature passed in 2022 to give voters notice that a proposed initiative has a fiscal impact.

Judge Zipp offered a lengthy, thoughtful verbal ruling from the bench, methodically demolishing the plaintiffs’ arguments. She denied plaintiffs’ motion for writs of prohibition and mandate requested by Walsh and his co-plaintiff Deanna Martinez to stop voters from receiving the information they’re legally entitled to have.

All three measures sponsored by Jim Walsh and funded by multimillionaire Republican Party donor Brian Heywood — Initiatives 2109, 2117, and 2124 — will receive public investment impact disclosures, the judge determined. The plaintiffs’ case was dismissed.

“Judge Zipp got it right in today’s ruling: The fiscal transparency law providing for public investment impact disclosures is all about informing and empowering voters, and responsibly interpreting that law led to the clear conclusion that it applies to Initiatives 2109, 2117, and 2124. Washington State Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh’s shameful attempt to conceal critical information about the cost and consequences about his slate of measures from the people of Washington has failed,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who worked with NPI’s Kathy Sakahara and State Representative Mia Gregerson (D-33rd District) to secure passage of the fiscal transparency law in the 2022 legislative session.

“For decades, voters have been asked to decide the fate of right wing anti-tax measures with no notice provided on the ballot itself of those measures’ fiscal impacts. But those days are over. Now, public investment impact disclosures are required for measures that would increase or decrease state taxes and fees. The presence of these disclosures on the ballot itself puts voters on notice that there are costs and consequences to the measure that they may wish to study prior to making a decision. This is something voters really, really, really want: According to our polling, 82% of the Washington electorate supports this fiscal transparency law. Huge majorities of Democrats, independents, and Republicans are all supportive of it.”

“Jim Walsh sought to evade this law, one of the most important initiative reforms in decades, for purely political reasons. Walsh evidently fears that if voters know the truth, his destructive initiatives will have less of a chance of passing. So he went to court to try to get a judge to order that the information voters are legally entitled to have about these measures’ fiscal impacts be hidden from them. And thankfully, Judge Zipp said no.”

“We hope this is the end of this case. Walsh and his co-plaintiff Deanna Martinez should just accept that there are going to be public investment impact disclosures on the ballot for each of these three measures. Let’s move this debate back into the court of public opinion and have a robust, vigorous, and spirited discussion about these measures. Our team is looking forward to participating in the strong and effective NO campaigns that are being assembled to give I-2109, I-2117, and I-2124 the vigorous opposition they deserve.”

Further reading: Unsurprisingly, Jim Walsh wants to evade an NPI-championed law that requires fiscal transparency in initiative descriptions

Republicans’ lawsuit to conceal fiscal impacts from voters should be tossed

In the Courts

About one month ago, Washington State Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh and Mainstream Republicans of Washington Chair Deanna Martinez filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court asking a judge to order Washington’s statewide elected officials to conceal information that voters are legally entitled to have about the fiscal impacts of three measures the duo hopes will catalyze Republican success in the coming presidential election.

Those measures — I-2109, I-2117, I-2124 — each target laws passed by the Washington State Legislature within the last few years, namely, the capital gains tax on the wealthy that funds the Education Legacy Trust, the Climate Commitment Act, and WA Cares.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Allyson Zipp is slated to hear oral argument this Friday in the case.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office has asked Zipp to dismiss the suit, calling it “a meritless attempt to deny voters information.”

It certainly is that – but it’s important to understand that it is also a desperate, last-ditch effort to rig the electoral arena in Republicans’ favor.

Walsh and Martinez have seen the public opinion research from the Defend Washington coalition indicating that each of their measures is currently on a trajectory to fail, especially once voters become aware of the initiatives’ fiscal impacts.

They know they aren’t going to have help from oil companies to pass I-2117, the initiative that seeks to repeal the Climate Commitment Act. And they know that their principal funder Brian Heywood doesn’t have a bottomless pocketbook, despite being very rich. He’s said he doesn’t intend to put millions more into the effort to pass the slate.

So, they’re quite worried about their prospects.

This lawsuit proves it. Underneath their bluster, you can see their concern.

They want to replicate Tim Eyman’s old formula for getting initiatives past the voters, but they have a problem: deceptive ballot language concealing the cost and consequences was an essential ingredient in Eyman’s formula, and there’s now a state law in place requiring that voters be informed about measures that have a fiscal impact on the ballot itself.

That 2022 law, sponsored by State Representative Mia Gregerson and championed by the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI), is now set to be invoked for the first time.

Since the truth is such a serious barrier to their chances of winning this November, Walsh and Martinez and their counsel Joel Ard have come up with an argument for why the law shouldn’t apply to any of their three initiatives. They want Judge Zipp to grant writs of prohibition and mandate to hide essential information about what the measures would do from the people of Washington.

Contrary to what they’ve said in their public statements, this information is required to be factual and simply worded.

Here’s the law:

Public investment impact disclosures.

(1) The attorney general must prepare a public investment impact disclosure for any ballot measure that:
(a) Repeals, levies, or modifies any tax or fee, including changing the scope or application of an existing tax or fee; and
(b) Has a fiscal impact statement, as provided by RCW 29A.72.025, that shows that adoption of the measure would cause a net change in state revenue.
(2) The public investment impact disclosure must include a description of the investments that will be affected if the measure is adopted. The description must be sufficiently broad to reflect the subject of the investments that will be impacted by the change in revenue that will result from adoption of the measure, but also sufficiently precise to give notice of the subject matter of the investments that will be impacted by the change in revenue that will result from adoption of the measure. The description may not exceed 10 words, unless the fiscal impact is primarily to the state general fund, in which case the description must list the top three categories of state services funded by the general fund in the current state budget and may not exceed 15 words. The attorney general may consult with the office of financial management or any other state or local agencies as necessary to procure accurate information to draft the description.
(3) The format of the public investment impact disclosure, as it appears on the ballot, is:
“This measure would (increase or decrease) funding for (description of services).”
(4) In drafting the public investment impact disclosure, the attorney general must use neutral language that cannot reasonably be expected to create prejudice for or against the measure. The language of the disclosure is not subject to appeal, except as provided in chapter 114, Laws of 2022.
(5) The attorney general must file the public investment impact disclosure with the secretary of state no later than July 23rd.
(6) The secretary of state must certify the public investment impact disclosure and timely transmit it to each county auditor for its inclusion on the ballot.
(7) Public investment impact disclosures are not considered part of the ballot title under this chapter and are not subject to any of the legal requirements for ballot titles.

It is important to note that the disclosure is required of measures that increase as well as decrease funding for public services, and that the attorney general is required to “use neutral language that cannot reasonably be expected to create prejudice for or against the measure.”

This of course doesn’t matter to Walsh and Martinez.

The mere mention of fiscal impacts on the ballot is unacceptable to them, because the truth hurts. They want to win, and they see this disclosure law as a serious impediment.

So they’ve filed this lawsuit and have made some very ridiculous public statements about it in a desperate attempt to flip the script. They’re hoping the press won’t notice or point out that they’re now making arguments in court that are totally contradictory to the arguments they’ve made in the court of public opinion for more than a year.

They have been campaigning, for example, to “stop the hidden gas tax” with I-2117… but now they’re arguing in court pleadings that I-2117 wouldn’t repeal any taxes, or fees.

(And never mind that I-2117’s statement of subject and concise description, which were on all of their petitions, refer to “carbon tax credit trading.”)

At NPI, we believe that Washingtonians have a right to know what they’re voting on and what the effects of their vote would be, whether they choose Yes or No.

We are proud to have worked on HB 1876 with Representative Mia Gregerson. Our 2022 polling found that 82% of Washington voters support this law. Even Republican voters love the idea of fiscal transparency in initiative descriptions. It’s got universal support from across the ideological spectrum because it empowers voters.

All of us should be able to understand what we’re voting on. Concealing critical information about what a proposed law would do from voters is wrong. Appalling. Disgraceful.

Yet that is what Walsh and Martinez are asking our judiciary to do.

Judge Zipp should toss this lawsuit into the dustbin where it belongs. To do otherwise would not be in the interests of justice or an informed electorate.

NPI relaunches StopGreed.org following Let’s Go Washington signature turn in event

From the Campaign TrailRethinking and ReframingStatements & AdvisoriesThreat Analysis

Today, a network of right wing groups primarily funded by Republican millionaire Brian Heywood submitted what they said were over 418,000 signatures supporting I-2117, an initiative that seeks to repeal Washington State’s landmark Climate Commitment Act, and pledged to return soon to submit signatures for another five measures that they hope to qualify as initiatives to the Legislature in 2024.

In response, the Northwest Progressive Institute, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit strategy center that has been working for over two decades to expand freedom and prosperity for Washingtonians, Oregonians, and Idahoans, relaunched its StopGreed.org website to help Washingtonians understand the danger posed by these six measures.

StopGreed.org was originally built in 2010 to urge Washington voters to defeat a slew of destructive initiatives that were on that year’s ballot. It has been maintained since then as an archive. But as of today, StopGreed.org has a second act. The site will serve as an informational opposition hub to I-2117 and the five other measures that Heywood’s groups want to qualify by December 29th. The list of measures is as follows:

  • Initiative 2117 — repeals the Climate Commitment Act, which is raising funds to fight climate damage
  • Initiative 2109 — repeals billions in education funding by eliminating the capital gains tax on the wealthy
  • Initiative 2113 — rolls back restrictions on police pursuits that are making our communities safer
  • Initiative 2124 — sabotages the WA Cares plan to help Washingtonians afford long-term care
  • Initiative 2111 — bars the state and local governments from levying taxes based on ability to pay
  • Initiative 2081 — forces public schools to give parents information that students may not want shared

All of the initiatives are sponsored by State Republican Party Chair Jim Walsh, who is himself a state legislator.

An analysis of Let’s Go Washington’s contributions prepared by NPI shows that Heywood (a businessman who is the at ) has provided over 87% of the funding for the six initiatives. Most of that money has been used to hire crews to gather signatures.

The petition drive was entrusted to a firm named Your Choice Petitions, LLC, out of Spokane, which belongs to a convicted forger named Brent Johnson. See NPI’s reporting for more information about Johnson and his relationship with Tim Eyman associate Roy Ruffino.

“Brian Heywood and Jim Walsh’s initiatives are a grave threat to Washington’s future,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who attended the group’s signature turn-in in Tumwater along with NPI boardmember Yanah Cook and fellow Climate Reality activists.

Villeneuve was trained by former Vice President Al Gore and his team in Bellevue several years ago to give Gore’s famous presentation on the climate crisis, which is the centerpiece of the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth. He has been organizing opposition to statewide initiatives like I-2117 since 2002, when he founded NPI’s Permanent Defense project to take on former initiative promoter Tim Eyman.

“America and the world are in dire need of climate action leadership at this critical moment for humanity. Washington State has been a beacon of hope in dark and disturbing times, but now our local right wing wants to roll back the clock and eliminate the billions in revenue the Climate Commitment Act is raising to provide a path to a clean energy future,” said Villeneuve. “That’s unacceptable. I heard Brian Heywood and Jim Walsh say today they’re not against holding polluters accountable for their emissions, but their actions belie their words. They have no climate action plan of their own, and they know it. Nevertheless, they seem to have realized that admitting that they don’t care about saving our planet from climate damage will make it harder for them to sell I-2117. That is telling.”

For each initiative they want to qualify, Heywood, Walsh, and Let’s Go Washington must submit around 405,000 signatures for each of them by the end of this year — December 29th at 5 PM Pacific Time, to be precise.

The Constitution requires that initiatives receive a number of signatures equivalent to 8% of the number of people who voted in the last election for governor to qualify. The minimum number of valid signatures required is currently 324,516, however, 405,000 is the number of signatures the Secretary of State recommends submitting to ensure qualification. That latter number includes a cushion to account for duplicate and invalid signatures.

Because these are all initiatives to the Legislature they will go first to the House and Senate for consideration there.

If the House and Senate don’t approve them, they would be forwarded to the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide. The House and Senate also have the option of submitting alternative measures that address the same topics to voters.

Walsh and Heywood say they have five more signature turn-in events planned for the month of December.

“Although Tim Eyman never managed to qualify this many initiatives to the ballot simultaneously during the years when his initiative factory was active, there was a time when his Oregon counterpart Bill Sizemore did, using millionaire Loren Parks’ money,” Villeneuve recalled. “And, happily, the opposition campaign to those measures was able to defeat them – yes, all of them – by uniting Oregonians behind the values of freedom, inclusion, justice, and broad prosperity. That’s the outcome we’ll be striving for in 2024 in Washington if Heywood and Walsh are successful in qualifying their slate of six initiatives.”

“Our team at NPI has decades of experience dealing with bad ballot measures, and we’ll put it all to work to ensure there is a vigorous and effective opposition campaign against these bad ideas. We in Washington State cannot afford to jeopardize the progress we’ve made towards goals like meeting our paramount duty of funding education, tackling our severe housing shortage, fighting climate damage, and making it easier to obtain healthcare.”

Please visit StopGreed.org for more information, including a FAQ about the six initiatives.

NPI’s Senate Bill 5082 takes effect, putting an end to Tim Eyman’s push polls

Statements & Advisories

Today marks the formal conclusion of NPI’s more than four year effort to put an end to Tim Eyman’s malicious and harmful push polls, which Eyman deceptively dubbed “advisory votes.” That’s because it’s the effective date of NPI’s legislation that replaces them with truthful, useful fiscal information that’s continuously available to voters on the web and referenced in the printed voter’s pamphlet sent out to millions of Washingtonians each autumn.

Senate Bill 5082, prime sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer, with a companion offered by Representative Amy Walen in the House, became the law of the land when our clocks changed over from July 22nd to July 23rd, 2023. Its title describes it as “an act relating to encouraging electoral participation and making ballots more meaningful by abolishing advisory votes.”

Its statement of legislative intent eloquently reads as follows:

The legislature finds that making the act of casting a ballot as simple as possible will help promote the free and equal elections guaranteed by Article I, section 19 and Article VI, section 1 of the Washington state Constitution. The legislature recognizes that transparency and fiscal responsibility are important to the people of Washington, and that election administration and ballot design should reflect these long-held values. The legislature further finds that the people rightfully expect items on their ballots to be neutrally and accurately worded. Finally, the legislature finds for the votes that Washingtonians cast to have meaning, the ballot must be limited to candidate elections that give the people the power to choose their representatives or ballot measures that determine what laws and plan of government the state and its localities shall have.

“Washingtonians are done putting up with anti-tax propaganda masquerading as referenda on their statewide ballots,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve. “Thanks to our sorely needed legislation, Tim Eyman’s push polls are a thing of the past. There will be nothing written by Tim Eyman on this year’s statewide ballot, which is a great blessing and huge win for the people of Washington.”

The Code Reviser’s office has already tagged the online copy of the RCWs that Eyman created to facilitate his push poll scheme for removal, with a link to the text of Senate Bill 5082. The next step will be to actually delete the now repealed language so that it’s wiped off our state’s books.

Eyman’s unconstitutional two-thirds scheme to raise taxes is also officially off of our books as of today – it was deleted as part of another bill championed by NPI and adopted by the Legislature concerning defects and omissions. The text of that bill, SSB 5087, can be found here.

“Addressing and repairing the damage caused by Eyman’s past initiatives is an ongoing project,” noted Villeneuve. “But we’re making substantive progress, and there’s more to come as we move into the middle years of the 2020s. We’re also putting in place reforms to the initiative process that will prevent the return of Eyman or any other bad actors like him in the future.”

Brian Heywood’s TDM Strategies signature gathering firm now has a business license

Threat Analysis

Local right wing millionaire Brian Heywood has finally obtained a business license for the new limited liability company that he recently created with Sharon Hanek to employ petitioners to collect signatures for the harmful slate of “Let’s Go Washington” schemes that he wants to qualify to the statewide ballot in 2024, a scan of public records conducted by NPI has found.

Department of Revenue records show that on June 29th, 2023, a business license was granted to TDM Strategies, LLC, with a minor work permit approved the following day, June 30th, 2023.

Records also show that TDM Strategies also now has an account with the Department of Labor & Industries, with an identification number of 196,151-01. L&I’s database states this is a recently opened account, with no premiums due or owed at this time. TDM Strategies has no OMWBE cerrtifications or registered apprentices. The firm is listed as having the risk classification category of 530116  Service/Prof Organizations NOC.

Firms historically used by the right wing in Washington State have had a history of failing to register with L&I and the Employment Security Department (ESD). It appears that Heywood and Hanek are making an effort to comply with Washington’s worker protection laws, which is good to see. Their updated recruitment ad for signature gatherers lists a start date of July 1st, 2023, with pay of $18 to $20 per hour. Here’s a copy of their advertisement:

Position title

Signature Collector

Description

Paid signature gatherer ad, July 2023
TDM Strategies ad for a signature collecting position, July 2023 version

TDM Strategies is offering temporary, part-time positions, with the potential of full-time, to collect signatures for multiple ballot measures. Experience is preferred but training will be provided.

The ideal candidate should be familiar with grassroots canvassing and gathering signatures in front of stores, at events, or going door to door.  Job will require the use of “apps” on your phone or device and reliable transportation. Must have the ability to submit pictures on a phone or device at the end of each work day.

Signature gathering will occur throughout Washington State with a focus in the Puget Sound area. Working hours will include evenings, weekends, and holidays since you will be sent to events and crowds to get maximum exposure to potential signers.

You must be able to provide a passport or a form of identification (Driver’s license or valid identification card) and proof of citizenship (social security card or birth certificate.)

Please contact HR@TDMStrategies.com for more information.

Starts: July 1st, 2023

Duration:  Signature gathering ends in December 2023

Job Types: Temporary, part-time, with the potential of full time

Compensation: $18.00 to $20.00 / hour depending on experience

Pay Period:  Paychecks will be issued twice a month

Benefits:

  • Sick pay
  • Health benefits for employees that qualify under federal and state law

Heywood is hoping to qualify six measures this year, down from eleven last year:

  • I-2113 (allowing dangerous police pursuits)
  • I-2117 (repealing climate action laws)
  • I-1209 (repealing Washington’s capital gains tax on the wealthy, which Heywood doesn’t want to pay)
  • I-2124 (sabotaging the long term care insurance system)
  • I-2111 (prohibiting progressive taxation, including income taxes)
  • I-2081 (instituting new requirements for the release of instructional materials and student records to parents).

Heywood’s operation would need to collect about 425,000 signatures for each measure to qualify. That’s over 2.5 million signatures in total.

If Heywood were paying by the signature, and if each signature cost $2, the cost to qualify would be over $5 million. At a cost of $5/signature, the cost would be close to $13 million.

With an hourly pay structure, Heywood and Hanek are undoubtedly hoping to acquire the signatures they need for less money. A petitioner working for $18/hour and working forty hours for twenty-four weeks would receive north of $17,000 in total compensation.

A petitioner who gathered 10,000 signatures and was paid by the signature, in contrast, would make $20,000 if their pay was $2/signature, or $50,000 if their pay was $5/signature.

If Heywood and Hanek hired, say, around fifty people and paid them between $18/hour and $20/hour for part and full time work, their personnel costs would fall between $750,000 and $1 million. But would even fifty paid signature gatherers be enough to collect over 2.5 million signatures in the span of half of a year? It’s hard to imagine that experienced petitioners will want to work for Heywood and Hanek given the frugal compensation they’d be getting. The fact that Heywood and Hanek have obtained a minor work permit makes us wonder if they’re making an attempt to get high school students and other young people to work for them.

Heywood is a multimillionaire and could probably afford to get at least one or more of these initiatives on the ballot by paying through the nose. But he clearly doesn’t want to. So he’ll have to see if he can find enough people to do the work he wants done on the cheap.

That’s going to be tough.

A historic milestone: Nothing written by Tim Eyman will be on the 2023 statewide ballot

Rethinking and ReframingStatements & Advisories

After more than two decades of determined advocacy, the Northwest Progressive Institute and its Permanent Defense project are celebrating a huge milestone this summer: the liberation of Washington’s statewide ballot from right wing ballot measures and Tim Eyman’s malicious anti-tax propaganda.

For the first time since 2006, voters across the Evergreen State won’t see anything written by Eyman when they open their November general election ballot packets this autumn. That’s because Eyman’s “advisory votes” (which were really push polls), have now joined Eyman’s initiative factory in the dustbin of state history.

When the July 7th deadline arrives in a few days to turn in signatures for 2023 initiatives to the people, Eyman will have nothing to turn in, for the fourth consecutive year, an unprecedented stretch for Eyman since he burst onto Washington’s political scene just prior to the new millennium.

It’s now been half a decade since Eyman last ran a successful signature drive for a statewide initiative or referendum. His last one was for I-976, in 2018.

Beginning at the end of the 1990s and lasting through the aughts, Eyman managed to qualify a measure to the statewide ballot almost every single year, with only a few interruptions. But thanks to Permanent Defense’s accountability and opposition work, Eyman has been forced to exit the once lucrative initiative business.

However, despite not being able to qualify any measures to the ballot in 2020, 2021, or 2022, Eyman still had a quasi-presence on the statewide ballot thanks to his “advisory votes” — pieces of right wing propaganda that some of his past initiatives required county elections officials to stick on the top of ballots at a cost of millions in our precious tax dollars. The propaganda pieces were automatically triggered whenever the Legislature passed a bill that increased revenue in some way.

Now, they’re gone too.

Senate Bill 5082, conceived by NPI and Senator Patty Kuderer, and also prime sponsored in the House by State Representative Amy Walen, was signed into law this past spring by Governor Jay Inslee, at a signing ceremony attended by NPI leadership, including NPI Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve and Legislative Director Kathy Sakahara, who worked hard to bring the bill to fruition with the NPI staff and board. It takes effect next month. It permanently abolishes Eyman’s push polls and requires them to be replaced with a truthful, useful presentation about the state’s finances created by LEAP, with assistance from the Office of Financial Management.

The first of these annually-prepared presentations should become available to voters by August 15th as prescribed by the new law. Voters will be alerted to the presentation through links on official state websites and on a page in the voter’s pamphlet containing a quick response (QR) code and a website URL.

“It is extremely fitting that as we celebrate NPI’s twentieth anniversary this summer, we can declare the Tim Eyman error in Washington State history to be over,” said NPI’s executive director Andrew Villeneuve.

“Tim Eyman is no longer a force in Washington State politics. We’ll still see him show up at various public hearings and say mean things about people and ideas he doesn’t like, but he won’t have a presence on future ballots like he used to. Eyman’s initiative factory has now been dismantled and the destructive legacy of his past initiatives is being unwound with determined, patient advocacy. This is a hugely positive development for the people and communities of Washington State.”

Villeneuve pointed out that anyone going to Eyman’s Permanent Offense political committee website won’t find a Donate page anymore. That’s because Eyman is only fundraising for himself these days, not for any initiatives he wants to qualify. Eyman isn’t even pretending to try to qualify anything for the ballot, which is a fairly recent development.

No other right wing campaigns have succeeded in qualifying anything to the ballot or to the Legislature since the 2020 presidential election either.

Many initiatives and referenda have been filed by right wing sponsors during that timespan, but none have qualified.

“In the early 2000s, our team envisioned a future in which we in Washington would be liberated from the threat of destructive, deceptive right wing ballot measures that appear annually on our ballots. We’ve made it to that future,” said Villeneuve.

“It is a great feeling to have accomplished the goals established at the founding of our Permanent Defense project. When voters open their ballots this year, they won’t be asked if they want to defund our essential public services, or adopt policies that weaken protections for our LGBTQ+ community, or roll back police accountability legislation, just to name a few examples. And they won’t see any anti-tax propaganda, either. In years past, they would have.”

“There’s an old saying that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Despite our sustained success in liberating our ballots from harmful right wing ballot measures, we will keep Permanent Defense going. The project wouldn’t be living up to its name if we closed it down.”

“We anticipate that there may be times in the future when something bad does qualify for the statewide ballot, or the local ballot. If that should happen, Permanent Defense will be there to provide a first line of defense against it. We stand ready to provide blueprints for the formation of an effective, vigorous opposition campaign to protect Washington from any bad idea backed by the right wing.”

Brian Heywood and Sharon Hanek have formed an LLC to provide paid signature gathering services to right wing causes

Threat Analysis

Two individuals active in local right wing causes have formed a limited liability company, known as an LLC for short) to provide signature gathering services to right wing causes and are now actively recruiting signature gatherers for part time seasonal work, according to postings on the Facebook pages of right wing groups they are involved with.

Brian Heywood, fifty-six, is a wealthy right wing resident of Redmond, NPI’s hometown, with an estimated net worth of between $10 and $25 million. He created a political committee called Let’s Go Washington to try to qualify a slew of right wing initiatives to the ballot in 2022, with the backing of right wing operatives like Glen Morgan and Tim Eyman.

The initiatives all flopped because Heywood tried to rely on volunteer signature gatherers, only to discover that model doesn’t work for statewide initiatives (well, at least unless you have a tremendously popular idea and really know what you’re doing, which they didn’t).

Having (sort of) learned that lesson, Heywood and ally Sharon Hanek are now trying to recruit paid signature gatherers for a second attempt, which consists of a slate of four initiatives to the 2024 Washington Stat – not as grandiose as last year’s unrealistic plan of trying to get eleven measures qualified simultaneously, but still extremely ambitious.

Let's Go Washington's slate of 2023 initiatives
Let’s Go Washington’s slate of 2023 initiatives

The Secretary of State’s Corporations database shows they created their LLC on April 27th, 2023. Hanek is the registered agent, with a Bonney Lake post office box listed as the primary mailing address. Hanek and Heywood are the governors — the named directors of the entity. The nature of its business is described as “administration & business support services.”

On May 2nd, Let’s Go Washington’s Facebook page posted an image advertising people to apply for employment with TDM Strategies.

TDM Strategies' Facebook ad
TDM Strategies’ Facebook ad

TDM Strategies has a job posting page where people can apply to be paid signature gatherers.

The posting reads, in part:

TDM Strategies is offering temporary, part-time positions, with the potential of full-time, to collect signatures for multiple ballot measures. Experience is preferred but training will be provided.

The ideal candidate should be familiar with grassroots canvassing and gathering signatures in front of stores, at events, or going door to door.  Job will require the use of “apps” on your phone or device and reliable transportation.  Must have the ability to submit pictures on a phone or device at the end of each work day.

Signature gathering will occur throughout Washington State with a focus in the Puget Sound area.  Working hours will include evenings, weekends, and holidays since you will be sent to events and crowds to get maximum exposure to potential signers.

You must be able to provide a passport or a form of identification (Driver’s license or valid identification card) and proof of citizenship (social security card or birth certificate.)

June 1st is listed as the start date. Interestingly, the advertised pay structure is by the hour ($18.00 to $20.00 / hour), not by the signature, and unusually, there are benefits listed: “Sick pay” and “health benefits for employees that qualify under federal and state law.” (It is rare in the industry for signature gathering companies to provide any benefits to their workers.)

Although they are actively recruiting for workers, TDM Strategies doesn’t appear to have a business license with the Department of Revenue yet:

TDM Strategies does not have a business license yet
TDM Strategies does not have a business license yet (Screenshot)

They also aren’t registered with the Department of Labor & Industries:

TDM Strategies is not registered with L&I yet
TDM Strategies is not registered with L&I yet

In a report submitted today, Let’s Go Washington reported having a balance of just $1,472.32. It has accepted a slew of in-kind contributions from Heywood recently — for graphic design work, web hosting, wireless services, and booths at Republican events like the Clark County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner and the Pierce County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner.

There are various four figure in-kind contributions in Let’s Go Washington’s PDC reports that contain descriptions ending in “Voter Science,” which is a company that describes itself as providing tech expertise to right wing candidates. Former blogger Bryan Myrick and former state legislator Chad Magendanz are both listed as “managing partners” of the firm.

In 2015, a group of Washington state grass-roots activists formed Voter Science to redefine how right-of-center candidates run for office.  We have deep experience in technology, data science, machine learning, campaign management, communications strategy, political consulting, digital media, and marketing research.  Our goal is to change how right-of-center candidates run for office utilizing a holistic approach to voter engagement.  We’ve helped elect fiscally conservative candidates in tight, highly contested local and state legislative races using battle-tested voter management technology and machine learning solutions.

Almost all of Let’s Go Washington’s spending is occurring through in-kind contributions made by Heywood. He spent a small fortune last year trying and failing last year to qualify eleven initiatives. Now he’s trying again with just four. But does he realize it’s going to take millions of dollars to make his multi-initiative project successful? A few hundred thousand dollars just isn’t going to be enough. Heywood does have means, but he’ll have to put up millions of dollars to do more than make a few noises, as Tim Eyman could tell him.

Tim Eyman misses the boat again: Former initiative promoter urges followers to ask Governor to veto NPI bill he’d already signed

Legislation & Testimony

Yesterday, in a ceremony in Olympia, Governor Jay Inslee signed NPI’s legislation, prime sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen, to make voting easier in Washington State by replacing Tim Eyman’s advisory votes push polls with truthful, useful fiscal information that’s always available to voters online.

This morning, Eyman hilariously launched a halfhearted effort to lobby Inslee against signing the legislation — even though the governor had already acted on the bill.

Eyman, apparently unaware that Senate Bill 5082 had become session law the day before, sent out an email missive this morning headlined “Tell Inslee what you think. I ask you to send him an email now. Urge him to veto Senate Bill 5082.”

“These are the final days of this year’s legislative session so he’s making final decisions now!” Eyman told his followers. “I make it easy to send an email to him and his team. Remember, he only knows what he hears — so I want you to be extra clear in your email so that he’ll have a harder time ignoring your voice.”

Emphasis above is Eyman’s.

Senate Bill 5082 passed the House of Representatives on April 7th, 2021, which was three weeks ago today. Eyman knew then it would be going to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for signature, yet curiously, he waited until today — twenty-hour hours after Inslee had signed the bill — to launch a letter-writing effort urging a veto.

Eyman has been active in Washington State politics for decades, but apparently doesn’t know that when the Legislature sends the governor a bill, the governor must act on it within five calendar days (excluding Sundays) if adjournment is more than five days away.

In the case of 5082, the bill was delivered on Friday, April 14th, which is more than five days before this year’s scheduled adjournment of Sunday, April 23rd, and the bill’s status page was updated with that information on the same day – April 14th. The fifth day following delivery was Thursday, April 20th. Had the governor not signed or vetoed 5082 then, it would have become law without a gubernatorial signature.

So, even if Eyman were unaware that the governor’s office had scheduled a bill signing ceremony for 5082 – something he could have learned from checking the governor’s website – he ought to have known that 5082’s fate would be decided by the end of April 20th one way or another, given what the Constitution says about timeframes for signing bills.

But Eyman has never bothered to brush up on his constitutional knowledge, as evidenced by how many times he’s authored unconstitutional initiatives.

This is the second time that Eyman has missed the boat with respect to attempting to influence the fate of our legislation. In January, Eyman did not appear at the bill’s initial public hearing in the Senate’s State Government & Elections Committee because — by his own admission to Chair Sam Hunt — he wasn’t paying attention. We’ve now about reached the end of session and history is repeating itself. Fun times.

NPI thanks Governor Inslee for signing SB 5082 into law

Legislation & Testimony

At a ceremony today on the Capitol Campus, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Northwest Progressive Institute’s legislation to make it easier to vote in Washington State by replacing the anti-tax messages known as “advisory votes” with an online primer on the state’s finances that is accurate and truthful.

Championed by Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen (both D-48th District: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond), SB 5082 will liberate our ballots from what are really push polls… fake ballot measures created by Tim Eyman that interrupt the act of voting, saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year in ballot design, printing, and tabulation costs.

Approved by the Washington State Senate in February and then by the House of Representatives earlier this month, the bill is set to take effect ninety days after session adjournment this Sunday, in time for the November general election.

That means voters won’t be seeing any more Eyman push polls on their ballots in future general elections. Election workers, activists, and journalists will be spared from having to constantly explain what they are to confused and upset voters.

“NPI thanks Governor Jay Inslee for signing this much-needed voting justice legislation. The ballot is a sacred space. It’s where we make the critical decisions about who represents us and what laws we should have,” said Northwest Progressive Institute founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve. Villeneuve and NPI legislative director Kathy Sakahara joined the prime sponsors and committee chairs for the bill signing with Governor Inslee.

“The ballot is not an appropriate place for polling, advertising, or campaign-style messaging. To encourage participation and maximize voter turnout, ballots need to be as simple as possible — free of anything that is not a candidate election, a real ballot measure, or accompanying instructions for how to vote. That’s why our legislation does away with what Tim Eyman calls ‘advisory votes,’ but which are really push polls, and replaces them with useful information that can help Washingtonians better understand the fiscal decisions their elected representatives have made on their behalf.”

What voters in King County had to say about  “advisory votes” when NPI asked them to comment in a scientific survey last autumn

In an October-November 2022 survey conducted countywide in King County for NPI by Change Research with over seven hundred participants, likely voters were shown a graphic extracted from a PDF sample ballot showing the 2022 set of “advisory votes” (with no markings or annotations) alongside a question that presented arguments for keeping them (from Tim Eyman) and arguments for repealing them (from NPI).

Voters overwhelmingly backed repeal, with around three out of five voters expressing support for legislation to do away with “advisory votes.”

Here is a diverse sampling of the follow-up comments that we received from King County voters after they answered the question about whether “advisory votes” should be kept or repealed:

“I have multiple degrees and still struggle with the wording. I think many people don’t go and research each one… they just do their best. I support saving taxpayer money on the ballots and writing a full, fifth grade level explanation in the voter pamphlet.”

– Female voter between the ages of 18 and 34

“They literally do nothing. They’re a public opinion survey that is thrown in the trash afterwards. Voting to repeal doesn’t actually repeal and voting to approve is basically a rubber stamp. These advisory votes are pointless and wasteful.”

– Male voter between the ages of 18 and 34

“I recall reading those descriptions and thinking that they sounded incredibly biased. If we voted for the person who came up with those policies, it wasn’t truly ‘against the will of the people.’”

– Male voter between the ages of 35 to 49

“I’ve previously voted incorrectly based on the misleading wording of the advisory votes. I’ve not made the mistake since, but how many other voters have also made these mistakes?”

– Female voter between the ages of 35 to 49

“If we do not trust our state representatives with our money, we should not vote them into office. Advisory votes are a waste of paper asking folks to understand complex issues we are paying our representatives to understand.”

– Female voter between the ages of 50 and 64

“They’re a waste of ballot space and because of prejudicial wording they don’t give legislators any useful feedback.”

– Male voter between the ages of 50 and 64

“Advisory votes are just a meaningless gesture to undermine the legislature’s essential role of raising and dispensing revenue.”

– Male voter aged sixty-five or older

“I frequently find them confusing and lacking enough background information to feel comfortable with my decision.”

– Female voter aged sixty-five or older

NPI’s updated policy brief is an excellent resource for anyone planning to write about SB 5082 and today’s bill signing. It explains the principles underpinning the bill and the data that supports its passage.

NPI celebrates House passage of SB 5082, which replaces Tim Eyman’s push polls with accurate, truthful fiscal information

Legislation & TestimonyStatements & Advisories

Minutes ago, by a vote of 54-43, the Washington State House of Representatives passed the Northwest Progressive Institute’s legislation to make it easier to vote in Washington State by replacing the anti-tax messages known as “advisory votes” with an online primer on the state’s finances that is accurate and truthful. The bill, previously approved by the Washington State Senate in February, now goes to Governor Jay Inslee.

Championed by Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen (both D-48th District: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond), SB 5082 will liberate our ballots from what are really push polls… fake ballot measures created by Tim Eyman that interrupt the act of voting, saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year in ballot design, printing, and tabulation costs.

“Tonight’s vote by the House of Representatives in favor of SB 5082 is the culmination of years of work by a lot of people and organizations to remove a barrier to voting in Washington State,” said NPI founder and executive director Andrew Villeneuve, who has spent years working on the legislation with NPI Legislative Director Kathy Sakahara and the NPI staff.

“The adoption of SB 5082 by both chambers of our Legislature is a huge win for voters and taxpayers that we’ll be celebrating for months and years to come.”

“In Washington, we believe that voting should be easy and that the ballot is sacred. It’s where we make the crucial decisions about who represents us and how we should govern ourselves. It is not an appropriate place for advertising or polling of any kind. In Washington, we also believe the people deserve truthful, accurate information about the decisions made by our elected representatives. Our bill makes it easier for them to get that information. It offers real transparency.”

“Many people worked with our team at NPI to make this victory possible. On behalf of all of our board and staff, I extend our deepest thanks to Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Amy Walen. They have been outstanding champions for this legislation in Olympia. They are exemplary legislators. We have enjoyed sharing this journey with them.”

“Our heartfelt thanks also go to Majority Leaders Andy Billig and Joe Fitzgibbon and our state’s two State Government Committee Chairs, Senator Sam Hunt and Representative Bill Ramos. They believed in this bill and made sure that it was a priority this year.”

“Finally, we thank every representative and senator who voted for our bill. We especially commend Republican Senator Brad Hawkins, who was alone among his Republican colleagues in voting yes and recognizing that this bill is good public policy.”

“Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, King County Elections Director Julie Wise, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, and many other county auditors joined us in making the case for this bill to the Legislature. They have seen firsthand that ‘advisory votes’ are harmful and don’t belong on our ballots. Our elections officials spoke with clarity and moral conviction in the public hearings, and we are grateful for their leadership.”

“Indispensable support for our bill was provided by the Washington Voting Justice Coalition and Balance Our Tax Code, coalitions working for a better future to which NPI belongs. Over sixty organizations joined them and NPI in asking the House to prioritize this bill and send it on to Governor Inslee. Within twenty-four hours of receiving the joint letter we sent, the House took action. That is what responsible and responsive legislating looks like!”

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