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

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