Northwest NEWS

October 30, 2000


Ballot initiatives

Initiative 713
   I-713 would make it a gross misdemeanor to capture an animal with a steel-jawed leghold trap, neck snare, or other body-gripping devices. The director of fish and wildlife could grant special circumstance exceptions. It would also be unlawful to knowingly buy or sell an animal pelt trapped in this manner.
   And it would be a gross misdemeanor to poison an animal using sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080) or sodium cyanide. Violators would lose trapping licenses.
   Initiative 722
   I-722 would declare null and void tax and fee increases adopted without voter approval by state and local governments between July 2, 1999 and Dec. 31, 1999. Vehicles would be exempted from property tax. The limit on property tax increases, starting with the 1999 valuation level, would be the lower of 2 percent per year of the inflation rate. A separate limit would apply to new construction, and maintenance improvements would be exempt from tax.
   Initiative 728
   I-728 would direct that certain existing state revenue, including all unobligated lottery revenue, be placed in a student achievement fund and in the education construction fund. Part of the state property tax levy would be distributed directly to school districts as student achievement funds. These distributions would not affect the state expenditure limit. The emergency reserve fund would be recalculated, and some of the redirected money would be placed in the student achievement fund.
   Initiative 729
   I-729 would authorize school districts and public universities to sponsor charter public schools. Charter public schools would be run by nonprofit corporations, accountable to their sponsors for financial and academic performance, but operated independently of school districts. Charter public schools would be open to all students and staffed by certificated teachers, who could choose to unionize. Charter public schools would be exempt from most state school regulations, except in health, safety and civil rights.
   Initiative 732
   I-732 would provide annual cost-of-living salary adjustments to school district employees, academic employees of community and technical college districts and certain employees of technical colleges. The annual increase would be based on the consumer price index compiled for Washington Sate by the United States Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Beginning in 2001-2002, school districts and community and technical college districts would be required to spend their state-funded cost-of-living allocations on salary adjustments.
   Initiative 745
   I-745 would require that 90 percent of state and local transportation funds, including local transit taxes‹but excluding ferry and transit fares‹be spent on road construction and maintenance. It also would require that road construction and maintenance be the top transportation priority. Performance audits of transportation and public transit agencies would be required. Materials and labor used in road construction or maintenance would be exempt from sales tax. Counties and cities would update transportation plans.