Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA - Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced plans to appeal King County Superior Judge Mary Roberts’ June 13 ruling that Initiative 747 is unconstitutional.

“This ruling is disturbing in two ways,” McKenna said. “First, because it overturns the will of the people in approving property tax relief through Initiative 747 and second, because it sets an impossible hurdle for those seeking to exercise their constitutional right to initiative.”

Roberts ruled I-747 was unconstitutional because it amended I-722, a law that was declared unconstitutional in September 2001, long after I-747 had been filed and circulated and just two months before it was approved by voters.

Initiative 747 was filed in January 2001 and approved in November 2001 by 57 percent of the people.

The state argued that the constitution does not require initiative drafters to predict that the underlying law might be invalidated when they file their initiative and begin collecting signatures.

“While we respect Judge Roberts, we will vigorously defend our arguments in this case and urge the Washington State Supreme Court to review the case directly,” McKenna said. “This ruling puts initiative drafters in an impossible box whenever they seek to amend a law which might be changed after their initiative has already been drafted and filed, but before the election. The Constitution does not create this box.

“Penalizing voters because the initiative drafters failed to predict whether or not I-722 would be upheld is bad public policy that severely damages the people’s power of initiative,” McKenna said.

The Attorney General’s Office plans to file its direct appeal later this week.


Media Contacts:

Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725