New initiative goes beyond banning chokeholds


Manuel Ellis died in Tacoma Police custody in March. The Pierce County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Now his family is lending his name to Initiative 1300.

Former State Representative Jesse Wineberry is co-chair of the I-1300 committee. He said, “Our purpose is to declare the protection from chokeholds to be a civil right for everyone in Washington state.”

So Initiative 1300 is the Manuel Ellis Washington Anti-Discrimination Act.

The act also bans discrimination in education, employment, contracting and distributing coronavirus vaccines.

“The one thing that all of these issues share is discrimination. Even before COVID, people of color were some of the highest unemployed in this state because, affirmative action doesn’t exist in Washington state,” said Wineberry.

Wineberry led the fight to lift the ban on affirmation action but Initiative 1000 failed narrowly at the polls.

Winning the fight to oppose affirmative action was Washington Asians for Equality.

In a statement today, they said: “I-1300 is using chokeholds, COVID-19 as the cover to hide its true intention which is to bring back racial preference.”

Initiatives like Tim Eyman’s latest $30 car tab measure have been overturned for violating the state constitution’s single subject rule.

But discrimination is right in the ballot title of I-1300, so Wineberry says it will survive a court challenge if approved by voters.

“The court has said if the underlying issues in our case, discrimination and education discrimination, in jobs, discrimination in public safety, discrimination in public health, if those have a rational relationship to the title of discrimination, we pass the single subject test.”

Supporters say the initiative will open jobs to those who are qualified for those jobs.

If supporters can collect more than 300,000 signatures, the initiative will go first to the legislature. But it will likely end up before the voters.