February 15th, 2023
Twenty-One Years: Founder’s Retrospective
Today and throughout this month, Permanent Defense celebrates its twenty-first anniversary, marking two hundred and fifty-two continuous operation.
2022-2023 was another tranquil year for our project to protect Washington from bad ballot measures. After celebrating our twentieth anniversary a year ago with special guests like Tina Podlodowski, Joni Earl, Neil Modie, and Bob Drewel, we went back to work keeping a watchful eye on bad ballot measures, ready to spring into action to provide a first line of defense to any that became credible threats to Washington.
However, none did.
Attempts were made to qualify (or start the work of qualifying) a dozen different right wing initiatives, but none went anywhere. As a consequence, no destructive schemes to defund our essential public services or wreck our state’s plan of government qualified for the 2022 ballot or to the 2023 legislature. No right wing initiatives have appeared on the Washington State ballot since 2019, and no referenda have appeared since 2020.
That’s a huge change after more than two decades of bad ballot measures qualifying every year — many of them Tim Eyman’s.
Not having to be on defense is liberating. It means we can dedicate more resources to advancing ideas that will strengthen Washington and the Pacific Northwest in the long term, as well as address the harm caused by right wing initiatives that previously went into effect or weren’t fully struck down. It’s a great feeling to have more capacity to work on initiative reform, electoral reform, and other priorities that Washington has long needed.
Enjoy the following chronology of my favorite moments from our twenty-first year.
Governor Jay Inslee signs the first significant initiative reform bill in decades into law
March 23rd, 2022
Just weeks after our twenty-first anniversary, we scored an amazing, historic win in the Legislature: we and our allies secured the enactment of a law that requires fiscal impact disclosure statements for future initiatives. This wildly popular idea (which NPI’s polling shows is almost universally supported by voters!) ensures that we’ll never again have a right wing initiative like I-976 appear on the ballot with a deceptive ballot title that doesn’t disclose its impacts on the state’s finances. HB 1876 is the first significant initiative reform bill in decades to be signed into law. It is codified as RCW 29A.72.027.
J. Vander Stoep’s I-1929 implodes on the launchpad
June 10th, 2022
On June 10th, operative Mark Funk admitted that a right wing initiative that sought to repeal Washington State’s capital gains tax on the wealthy was kaput after megadonors refused to provide the funding Funk and J. Vander Stoep had been seeking for a signature drive and an autumn campaign. Those donors understandably balked at the prospect of committing millions to a campaign with little chance of success.
As a consequence, the dreams of the right wing Washington Policy Center and others of forcing a statewide vote on the capital gains tax did not come to pass.
NPI qualifies a measure to the November 2022 ballot
June 28th, 2022
While Eyman and others on the right wing failed to qualify anything to the 2022 ballot, NPI was successful in persuading the King County Council to refer to voters a charter amendment to switch twelve county-level positions (Executive, Assessor, Elections Director, Treasurer) to even-numbered years, when voter turnout is much higher and more diverse. The campaign to pass King County Charter Amendment 1 faced no organized opposition and went on to earn the support of both The Seattle Times and The Stranger.
No right wing initiatives qualify for November 2022 ballot
July 8th, 2022
In July, the statewide petition turn-in deadline came and went without any campaigns submitting signatures. Tim Eyman had wanted to qualify at least one measure to the midterm ballot, but with no wealthy benefactors available and willing to available to pony up huge piles of cash to restart his initiative factory, Eyman was not able to launch any signature drives. He thus joined Vander Stoep and others in watching the midterms from the sidelines.
Voters overwhelmingly adopt King County Charter Amendment 1
November 8th, 2022
On Election Night 2022, initial returns showed that NPI’s King County Charter Amendment 1 was headed for passage with a 69% yes vote following a smooth campaign with no organized opposition, while Republicans’ predictions of a huge “red wave” failed to materialize. There was a blue wave instead: Washington voters reelected Patty Murray and Kim Schrier, retained Steve Hobbs, sent Marie Gluesenkamp Perez to Congress from the 3rd District, and expanded Democrats’ legislative majorities in both chambers of the Legislature. Tim Eyman had declared prior to Election Night that he was praying for a “red wave.” His prayers went unanswered.
Let’s Go Washington fails to qualify its eleven initiatives
December 30th, 2022
A right wing group formed by right wing donor and activist Brian Heywood that sought to simultaneously qualify eleven initiatives as measures to the 2023 Legislature likewise failed across the board as 2022 entered its final moments. Heywood’s effort had been endorsed by Tim Eyman and other right wing operatives like Glen Morgan, and Heywood invested significant amounts of money in trying to organize a volunteer run signature drive, but ultimately discovered that it’s hard to get on the ballot without either paid signature gatherers or a well-organized network of activists willing to donate lots of time.
The demise of all eleven measures once again spared Washingtonians from having to vote on a bunch of bad right wing ideas, like allocating Washington’s presidential electoral college votes by congressional district.
Washington State Senate votes to repeal Eyman’s push polls for a second time
February 7th, 2023
Just one week before Permanent Defense’s twenty-first anniversary, the Washington State Senate took decisive action to liberate Washingtonians’ ballots from Eyman’s anti-tax propaganda. What Eyman calls “advisory votes” are really push polls, and we’ve been working to get rid of them for years with Senator Patty Kuderer, Representative Amy Walen, and other legislators. Our hard work and persistent organizing paid off on February 7th when the Senate voted thirty to eighteen to pass SSB 5082 and send it to the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It’s the second time the Senate has voted to get rid of “advisory votes,” and hopefully it will be the last — with a corresponding House vote, we can get this bill to Governor Inslee’s desk.
Inspired by Permanent Defense’s twenty-one year track record of taking on right wing initiatives and getting results? Donate to Permanent Defense PAC now to keep Washington safe from threats to its Constitution and common wealth.