WA Supreme Court could place De-Escalation initiative on Ballot

VIDEO: Washington Supreme Court hears arguments on I-940 measure

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Thursday's Washington State Supreme Court hearing was watched closely by families who lost loved ones they believe were wrongly killed by police.

“I'm trying to fight for justice, but not only justice for my son but someone else that may come along,” said Joyce Dorsey, mother of Che Taylor who was shot by Seattle police.

In an unprecedented move, the legislature passed I-940 and also a new law, making changes that law enforcement wanted.

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Traditionally, lawmakers can either pass an initiative as is, pass it along to voters or pass an alternative version and put both before voters.

So professional initiative sponsor Tim Eyman filed suit to force Secretary of State Kim Wyman to put the two measures on the November ballot.

“It's such a dangerous precedent when the legislature is able to take an initiative and change it, modify it, and then block people from voting on it. You just can't allow that to occur because the next time the next initiative comes along, they will be able to do the same thing. Corrupt it, change it, modify it,” Eyman said.

But Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Even told the court, “The Washington Constitution reserves to the people the right to propose an initiative to the legislature, but the legislature also has the authority to legislate.”

Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst asked if lawmakers may have gone too far. “Aren't you limiting the power of the people through the initiative?”

The court will decide what, if anything, voters get to vote on in November, but supporters of I-940 believe they'll win either way.

“The families here are concerned about one thing. We're going to win and change this law. Whether that's today, whether that's November, we're going to do that," said Andre Taylor, Che Taylor’s brother.

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