Thurston County Superior Court dismissed a case brought by Tim Eyman and the now-infamous James Bopp Jr. today. (Bopp gained national attention this year as the activist lawyer on a mission to undo campaign finance laws that require disclosure and spending limits).

Eyman and Bopp were challenging Washington State's public records law which allows people to see the names of folks who sign initiative petitions. Eyman filed the suit on behalf of a laundry list of  initiatives, mostly his own, inlcuding 1053, 960, and 776.

“We strongly support our voters’ decision almost 40 years ago to adopt Initiative 276, which gave us our Open Records Act and a clear policy of disclosing the identities of those who participate in campaigns, lobbying and taking part in `citizen legislating’ via initiative and referendum,” Secretary of State, Republican Sam Reed said. “There is broad public support for this sensible policy. People of Washington expect transparency and accountability in their government, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said that, as general proposition, release of petitions does not violate our constitutional freedoms.”

The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means Eyman and Bopp could have tried again. However, in an email, Eyman said:
We'll continue to monitor the federal lawsuit and pursue other ways to counter this injustice.  For 95 years in Washington state, petition signers' personal information was protected.  Let's hope there comes a day when we can return to that common sense policy.

A related case ("the federal lawsuit" Eyman notes in his statement), which seeks an exemption from the standard, is set for trial on May 31 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. This case, also being headed up by Bopp, is the fall out from  R-71 case—Doe v. Reed— which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.

R-71 was the referendum to undo the state's domestic partnership rules. The anti-gay marriage group, Protect Marriage Washington, argued that people who signed the referendum petition shouldn't have to release their names to the public for fear of retaliation. Republican Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna argued against Protect Marriage Washington in the high court defending Washington State's public records law.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of McKenna and Washington's public records law in general, but allowed for case by case exemptions if petitioners could prove disclosure would endanger people who signed.