OLYMPIA, Wash., April 25, 2017—All eyes are on Kittitas County as we await a ruling on reversing the passage of the unconstitutional I-1433.
Kittitas County Superior Court Judge Scott Sparks heard the challenge to I-1433 Friday, April 21, 2017, which both raises the state’s minimum-wage rate and imposes paid sick-leave requirements on employers.
The lawsuit, filed by WFB’s Brad Haberman, Mark Charlton, Bill Wirth, and a host of business organizations, states “I-1433 violates article II, [Section] 19 of the Washington Constitution by containing more than a single subject, and by failing to adequately describe the measure’s content in its title. The initiative also failed to comply with article II, [Section] 37 because its provision relating to sick and family leave effectively amended statutes relating to those issues without specifically identifying them.”
“Our attorney did a great job presenting our side,” Haberman said. “I think the arguments he made were very compelling.”
Judge Sparks is expected to give his ruling within two weeks of the hearing. The judge acknowledged that his decision will not be the final ruling on this important case.
“This is going to move on to the State Supreme Court,” Sparks said.
“This is an important first step in the legal challenge of I-1433,” Charlton said. “This case is shining a bright light on how I-1433 violated the single-subject rule and I think that needs statewide attention.”
Attorneys representing the defense noted several past cases in which initiatives including two subjects were ruled constitutional.
“This will be an uphill battle,” said Mike LaPlant, WFB state president. “The plaintiff made a much better case than the defense, but I believe it could go either way based on past cases.”
Washington Farm Bureau is joined in the lawsuit, Haberman v. Washington, by the National Federation of Independent Business, the Association of General Contractors of Washington, the Northwest Food Processors Association, the Washington Food Industry Association and the Washington Retail Association.
Washington Farm Bureau is a 46,000-member advocacy organization representing family farmers and ranchers across the state. For more information about the Washington Farm Bureau go to www.wsfb.com.