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Legislators explain statewide proposals at Republican meeting

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Rep. David Taylor (left) and Rep. Bruce Chandler talk with the Sunnyside Republican Club Friday morning about the issues up for vote in the coming election.

The meeting of the Sunnyside Republican Club this morning (Friday) featured guest speakers Rep. Bruce Chandler, Rep. David Taylor and Sen. Jim Honeyford.

The legislators came to present information on the three statewide initiatives and the two proposed state constitutional amendments.

Chandler started the meeting with coverage of Initiative 1183, the proposal to end the sale of distilled spirits by the state. Chandler explained that the initiative is similar to 1100 last year, which was defeated.

Initiative 1183 would allow stores with at least 10,000 square feet of retail space in a single structure to sell liquor. It would end tied house laws that prevent manufacturers from selling to anyone other than a licensed distributor. It also attempts to preserve the income the state currently receives from its liquor stores without the operating costs.

Chandler argued that the law has the potential to damage small businesses. He also pointed out that most of the money for the initiative is coming from one large business. A member of the club pointed out that no business would put more than $25 million into an election if they didn't have a lot to gain.

Next up was Taylor, who spoke on initiative 1125. This proposal would prevent motor vehicle fund revenue and toll revenue from being used for non-transportation purposes and also change the way tolls are set and when they expire.

Taylor explained that this initiative is more about the tolls than anything else. It would require the legislature to set tolls instead of the Transportation Commission. It would also require that tolls be project-specific, so a toll must expire when the project it was set up to fund is fully paid for.

A question about the current use of funds allowed Taylor to clarify that transportation funds currently go into a separate account from the general fund, but this initiative seeks to prevent future abuse of that money.

Jim Honeyford spoke about initiative 1163, which he called a "very expensive" initiative.

The proposal is basically the same as initiative 1029, which was passed in 2008 but has been deferred due to the costs to enact the law. It requires long-term care workers to be certified by the state and receive training paid for by the state. It also requires those health care workers to receive federal background checks.

Initiative 1163 will enact those provisions immediately and add an auditor and five new fraud investigators. It would also cap administrative costs so at least 90 percent of spending goes to direct care.

Honeyford stated that the initiative will cost the state $6.5 million in 2012, $11 million in 2013 and $3 million in 2014, which is money the state doesn't have.

Next Honeyford spoke on Senate Joint Resolution 8205, which would simply standardize the time which a person is required to be a Washington state resident in order to be allowed to vote to 30 days. The resolution was passed unanimously in the Senate and House.

Chandler stood again to speak about Senate Joint Resolution 8206. This resolution would require the state to contribute more to the rainy day fund during times of "extraordinary revenue growth," which is defined in the resolution. It would not change when the state can withdraw from the fund. The resolution was also passed with bipartisan support in the legislature.

Discussion was then opened to the club members. A question was asked about Proposition 1, but because it is a county proposition and not a statewide proposal, the legislators didn't have much to say about it.

The next Sunnyside Republican Club meeting on Friday, Oct. 28 and discussion will be about Initiative 1183.

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