FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Spokane (6/16/2015) – Two friend of the court briefs were filed last week with the Supreme Court of Washington State in the case of Spokane Entrepreneurial Center v. Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution.
The Supreme Court is being asked by the plaintiffs to consider reviewing an appeals court decision made in January 2015 regarding the placement of the Community Bill of Rights back onto the ballot for the voters of the City of Spokane to decide in an up and down vote.
In the amicus curiae brief filed by the Washington State Association of Counties, Association of Washington Business, Building Industry Association of Washington, Inland Northwest AGC [Association of General Contractors], and Washington Realtors, these state-wide corporate lobby groups paint the Community Bill of Rights as “ludicrous” in that it is not fit for the citizen initiative process.
The Community Bill of Rights is also cast in the brief as being “pointless”, “costly”, and “repetitive”. The brief even infers that the proposition of advancing greater rights for people, the community, and nature through a local initiative as an improper use of the process to “soapbox”.
The Community Bill of Rights would secure the right of neighborhood decision-making power over large development, greater rights protections for the Spokane River, and constitutional workplace rights, as well as restricting corporations to override those rights. A nearly identical version of the Community Bill of Rights missed passage by the voters of Spokane by 500 votes in 2011.
The brief goes on to argue that the county should have expanded power over the city for any self-styled problematic initiative whether it be the Community Bill of Rights or any other citizen initiative the county or corporate interests find to be “ludicrous” or “beyond the scope of local initiative.”
“The initiative process is about the people’s direct lawmaking power. It’s not supposed to be lawyers, and corporate lobby groups, controlling the people,” said Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Envision Spokane’s lawyer on this case. “With the state-wide organizations weighing in, we must now ask another question: How many western Washington lawyers does it take to decide whether the people of Spokane can vote?”
Click the Community Bill of Rights to read the full text.