7/24/08

SEIU gets whatever it wants in labor-state

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Political rules made flexible to accommodate powerful left-wing union

Initiative 1029 critics filed a complaint with the Washington state Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking it to require that the long-term care measure be sent to the Legislature, rather than the Nov. 4 ballot.

Petitions circulated by the Yes on 1029 campaign declared the measure was an initiative to the Legislature. But its sponsors at the Service Employees International Union filed it as a petition to the people, and Secretary of State Sam Reed's office treated it that way. When confronted with the error last month, Reed contended voter signatures should not be discarded, and the measure should go to the ballot.

"If the initiative is placed on the ballot, he is choosing to ignore the clear, written intentions of more than 300,000 voters that petitioned him to send the measure to the (L)egislature," Deb Murphy, spokeswoman for the Community Care Coalition of Washington, said in a news release announcing the lawsuit by the group opposing I-1029's higher training requirements for long-term care workers.

Murphy said Reed needs to be ordered to send it to the Legislature. But Reed's staff members have said they lack the legal power to order such a redirection.

"We stand by our decision to accept over 300,000 voter signatures on I-1029 petitions, and believe that the courts will hold that the Elections Division exercised its discretion properly," Reed said in a statement Tuesday. "A similar case went to the state Supreme Court in 1991 and a unanimous court held that an error on the petition did not require the Secretary of State to reject the signatures."

Clerks at the court said it was too early to say when the court's commissioner would be able to review the case.

Proponents say the measure would improve care by raising training standards, but critics say it is expensive and could eliminate some entry-level jobs and make it harder for some families to get care for loved ones.

(theolympian.com)

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