Anti-tax guru Tim Eyman files suit against the state
But not over tax issue
March 13, 2018
By Rex D. Cain
CLICK TO ENLARGE: The Lawsuit as filed.
(REGIONAL) -- It's a beefy-boy lawsuit against the state of Washington. Sixty-eight pages in length. Only this time around legendary anti-tax crusader Tim Eyman of Mukilteo, Washington isn't suing the state over some tax issue, this one's about cops and the deadly force they use and, according to Eyman, how the state went rouge on the law about that sort of thing and did something unconstitutional.
In short, Eyman is suing Washington state over the manner in which state lawmakers voted to make it easier to prosecute police officers for negligent shootings.
Eyman's lawsuit was filed in Thurston County Superior Court four days after state legislators approved (and Gov. Inslee signed) a compromise deal that was backed by both law enforcement groups and community activists who'd been pushing to change the law that, as it stands now, makes it almost impossible to prosecute police for wrongful shooting deaths and injuries.
Click the PDF file at upper right to view the lawsuit that was filed.
Community activists, fed up with the way the law regarding police accountability in shootings was written years ago, went out and got close to 360,000 signatures for an initiative to the state Legislature to change that law by eliminating a requirement that prosecutors must prove an officer acted with malice -- a very high hurdle to get over and a prosecutorial burden not imposed, by the way, on regular citizens who act in self defense using a firearm.
This is one reason some citizens feel the way the law is written now, it is simply a get out of jail free card for cops when an armed citizen who acts lawfully in a righteous shooting might end up in prison since prosecutors do not have to proof an armed citizen "acted with malice."
They simply have to prove the citizen broke the law.
Under our state's Constitution, lawmakers can approve an Initiative as it is written or simply ignore it. If that happens the measure will appear on the November ballot.
Alternately, lawmakers can propose an alternative to appear right alongside the original on the ballot.
But in this instance, the legislators went and did something original and a no-no, according to Eyman's lawsuit. They created out of thin air another option for themselves. They passed the original Initiative 940 — as well as a law to amend it with the changes sought by police groups and supported by activists.
Eyman argues in his legal action that if what the state did is allowed to stand, the Legislature’s move would effectively abolish the people’s right to petition the Legislature by initiative.
How so? Well, voters could go out and collect all those signatures for an Initiative, only to see lawmakers change it. And then the voters would be on the hook again having to go out and collect more signatures if they wanted to challenge the Legislature’s version by referendum.
Eyman's lawsuit asks the court to order Secretary of State Kim Wyman to place both the original Initiative 940 and the amendment, House Bill 3003, on the fall ballot.