A Quick Rundown on the Three Initiatives on November Ballot

There are three initiatives on the November ballot. One attempts to address traffic congestion, another provides for physician-assisted suicide (or death with dignity), and the third would require certain certification for long-term care workers.

If you’ve not studied one or more of these measures, maybe the material that follows will help get you up-to-speed on these.


Initiative Measure No. 985 concerns transportation.

This measure would open high-occupancy vehicle lanes to all traffic during specified hours, require traffic light synchronization, increase roadside assistance funding, and dedicate certain taxes, fines, tolls and other revenues to traffic-flow purposes.

According to Ballotpedia,

“Many of I-985’s features are based on an October 2007 report by State Auditor Brian Sonntag (D). The provision mandating traffic engineers to synchronize traffic lights at high-traffic intersections would bring the benefits, according to Sonntag’s report, of a reduction in travel time, emissions, and fuel consumption of 10 to 25 percent at very little cost.”

I-985 was filed and funded by Tim Eyman’s “Permanent Offense,” which claims that, without raising taxes, I-985 will:

  • Illustrates the public’s support for making reducing traffic congestion a top transportation priority
  • Opens up carpool lanes to everyone during non-peak hours
  • Requires local governments to synchronize traffic lights on heavily-traveled arterials and streets
  • Clears out accidents faster with expanded emergency roadside assistance
  • Uses a portion of vehicle sales tax revenue for these policies
  • Removes the profit motive for red light cameras
  • Replaces the percentage spent from transportation funds on public art to instead go toward reducing congestion
  • Institutes critical taxpayer protections on future tolls; and
  • Empowers the State Auditor to monitor the implementation of the initiative’s policies to ensure compliance.

Click here for more information in favor of I-985.

The No! on I-985 campaign is a coalition of environmental groups and progressive political organizations, including FUSE Washington, The Transportation Choices Coalition, Futurewise, WashPIRG, Washington Conservation Voters, and Washington Environmental Council.

No! on I-985 writes that Initiative 985 would make traffic worse by:

  • Opening Puget Sound’s high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to all motorists during rush hour, which will bring buses and vanpools to a standstill, paralyzing our transit system and putting more cars back on the highways,
  • Stealing over half a billion dollars away from our state’s treasury throughout the next five years and using it to build wider, noisier highways at the expense of schools, healthcare, and law enforcement,
  • Prohibiting the stolen money from being spent on public safety, bicycle paths, light rail, heavy rail, buses, park and rides, or even ferries!

Initiative 985 does not invest in alternative transportation options, benefit rural Washington, encourage the development of livable, walkable communities, or help cut down on bumper to bumper traffic. Instead, it assaults our quality of life with a thoughtless and disastrous “more lanes good!” approach.

A page naming organizations which have endorsed “No on I-985” appears at http://www.no985.org/about/

Click here for more information against I-985.


Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns allowing certain terminally il1 competent adults to obtain lethal prescriptions.

This measure would permit terminally ill, competent. adult Washington residents, who are medically predicted to have six months or less to live, to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician.

Supporters of the measure refer to it as the Death with Dignity initiative, while its opponents refer to it as the Assisted Suicide initiative.

Click here for the Ballotpedia page, which is a good place to start your studying of this initiative.

According to Yes! on I-1000:

“A YES vote for I-1000 allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to receive – under strict safeguards – a prescription for life-ending medication. This choice belongs exclusively to the terminally ill individual. Government, politicians, religious groups and others should not dictate these personal decisions.”

The measure includes these safeguards:

  1. The patient must be at least 18 years old
  2. The patient must be a resident of the state of Washington
  3. The patient must be terminally ill – not disabled, but diagnosed as terminally ill
  4. The terminally ill patient must have 6 months or less to live, as verified by two physicians
  5. Three requests for Death with Dignity must be made (two verbal and one written)
  6. Two physicians must verify the mental competence of the terminally ill patient
  7. The request must be made voluntarily, without coercion, as verified by two physicians
  8. The terminally ill patient must be informed of all other options, including palliative care, pain management and hospice care
  9. There is a 15 day waiting period between the first oral request and the written request
  10. There is a 48 hour waiting period between the written request and the writing of the prescription
  11. The terminally ill patient’s written request must be independently witnessed, by two people, at least one of whom is not related to the patient or employed by the health care facility
  12. The terminally ill patient is encouraged to discuss their decision with family (not required because of confidentiality laws)
  13. Only the terminally ill patient may self-administer the medication
  14. The patient may change their mind at any time

Click here for endorsements for I-1000.

The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide counters:

“But an actual reading of the initiative text shows no real safeguards to protect the vulnerable. Instead, Initiative 1000 pressures those without adequate insurance or financial means to think that they have no choice other than assisted suicide. It provides an incentive for health plans to cut costs by encouraging assisted suicide. And it places many Washingtonians at risk.

Patients currently have end-of-life choices, including durable power of attorney and living wills, among others. Patients at the end of life deserve personal care and real compassion. Not assisted suicide.”

Endorsements against I-1000 are at http://www.noassistedsuicide.com/supporters.html


Initiative Measure No. 1029 concerns long-term care services for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

This measure would require long-term care workers to be certified as home care aides based on an examination, with exceptions; increase training and criminal background check requirements; and establish disciplinary standards and procedures.

Ballotpedia notes this measure is sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 775.

The web site Yes on I-1029 compares training standards, in Washington State, for a hairdresser, a dog masseuse, and a home care worker:

“The majority of home and community based long-term care workers – who provide life-sustaining care for our State’s vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities – are required to have 34 hours of training and no certification. Compare these low training standards with Washington State’s standards for hairdressers, manicurists and dog masseurs – 1,000, 500 and 300 hours of training and certification respectively.”

Click here for a list of those who have endorsed I-1029.

The initiative is opposed by The Community Care Coalition of Washington.

“We oppose the initiative because it hurts families. There is already a shortage of caregivers. Initiative 1029 will eliminate entry-level jobs and make it harder for those looking to care for the elderly or disabled to enter the field. The initiative is wasteful. It spends millions in taxpayer money without any accountability or improvement in the quality of care. The Governor’s task force that examined these issues could find no evidence that an arbitrary, 75-hour training requirement would improve care.”

The Coalition has posted a thorough description of the reasons they oppose this initiative at http://communitycarecoalitionwa.org/factsheet.htm

Where do you stand on these initiatives? What resources did you use, to come to your decision? Click the “Comments” link below!

Posted in Uncategorized.