King County Council introduces opposing initiative favoring safe injection sites

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SEATTLE - Two opposing measures on safe injection sites could be on the King County ballot in February.

Earlier Wednesday, the council announced it was introducing an alternative to I-27, the initiative that seeks to ban safe injection sites across King County.

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Supporters of I-27 believe the county’s introduction of an alternative initiative that is for safe injection sites is a deliberate attempt to confuse voters.

Initiative-27 aims to appear on the February ballot and supporters point to 69,000 signatures they've collected from people who want to ban safe injection sites.

They say it’s a clear yes or no choice for voters and say the new move from the council will muddy the waters.

The King County Council has wanted to move forward with supervised heroin injection sites -- one in King County and one in Seattle -- after it got recommendations from a county task force.

Now, with the possibility of banning the sites, the council is planning to introduce its own initiative.

It would support a three-year pilot program -- two sites in opioid-use hotspots -- with counseling and treatment at each.

Some critics say the King County Council is getting too involved when it comes to voters' right to choose.

Joshua Freed with I-27 says he expected something like this to happen, but it is still frustrating.

“If they want to hear the voice of the people, they let it go to the ballot untainted. Instead, they're saying, ‘I-27 is banning heroin injection sites? We're going to offer something different to say, well, why don’t you support them?’” said Freed.

And Initiative 27 is facing challenges in court.

A group called Protect Public Health and the city of Seattle are seeking to prevent it from ever being on the ballot.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

KIRO 7’s Linzi Sheldon found it is extremely rare for elected officials to introduce their own opposing measures.
    
 

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