I-522, an initiative cued up for this November's ballot that would require retailers to label genetically modified food, has broad support according to a poll conducted by the campaign.
The poll, done by a D.C.-based pollster, and released by the campaign late last week, showed support at 66-22. (The poll surveyed 1,200 likely voters during June 18-23. It had a 2.8 percent margin of error.)
The pollsters reportedly battle tested the measure against what they presume—based on a $45 million food industry effort that derailed a popular GMO-labelling measure in California last year—will be an onslaught of anti 522 messaging.
After voters heard one pro-522 message vs. six anti-522 messages, the campaign says, support held steady at 64 percent while opposition climbed to 29 percent.
The pro-side has currently outraised the anti-side. Yes on 522 has raised $2.1 million—with co-ops and natural foods industry donors, many from out of state, taking up the slack; California's Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps has contributed $700,000, for example. However, the campaign points out that 75 percent of the donors themselves (as opposed to the dollars) come from in-state. So far, the No camp has brought in a about $1 million. All of it comes from out-of-state chemical, agribiz, and food industry interests such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto, Dupont, and Dow. (Monsanto and other food industry gianst spent $45 million to beak back California's initiative, which had initially shown 60 percent support in the polls. It lost 53-47 on election day.)
I-522 was certified as an initiative to the legislature after a signature gathering campaign turned in 353,000 signatures late last year (they needed 240,000 valid signatures). However, the legislature took no action (ie, they punted), which, just like last year's pot legalization initiative which eventually passed at the polls, means I-522 goes to a vote of the people. (The legislature has three options when it comes to initiatives to the legislature; they pass them; pass an alternative—and both go the voters; or do nothing and let it go to the people.)
I-594, another proposed initiative to the legislature (for 2014), which would require background checks on gun sales (currently only licensed dealers have to administer checks, creating a loophole for gun show sales) won a victory in court today.
Opponents of the measure wanted to tweak the language to highlight that the exceptions to the new rules would be "limited," and they wanted the language to stress that selling guns without going through the background check process was a crime.
However, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Wickham rejected those changes today.
Here's the language (and handing the proponents another victory, Judge Wickham simultaneously added some language that they requested; I've bolded that). Note, the first paragraph is the ballot title, which appears on both the petitions and the ballot; the second paragraph, the ballot summary, only goes on the peititions.
This measure would apply currently used criminal and public safety background check requirements by licensed dealers to all firearm sales and transfers, including gun show and online sales, with specific exceptions.
Current law requires criminal and public safety background checks before purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. This measure would extend this requirement to most firearm purchases and transfers in Washington, with exceptions, including transfers within families, temporary transfers for self-defense and hunting, and antiques. Licensed dealers would conduct the background checks and could charge a fee. Violation of these requirements would be a crime.
With the language now finalized, the proponents (including wealthy liberal activist Nick Hanauer )—who went for it after the Democratic house in Olympia failed to move background check measure earlier this year—now have until January 3 to collect 240,000 valid signatures.