Death and TaxesMay 20th, 2008 by Steven Gardner
Two items on open government.
The (Tacoma) News Tribune’s Joe Turner has a story today about opponents of an assisted-suicide initiative who want to get around state disclosure laws because they feel they’ll be threatened by their initiative supporters.
They want their donors to be able to remain secret.
Human Life of Washington, a conservative group that opposes abortion and doctor-assisted suicide, is asking a federal judge to throw out parts of Washington’s campaign finance laws. Human Life contends the laws are overly broad because they would classify Human Life as a political action committee if it buys radio ads that say suicide is wrong, even if the ads don’t actually tell people to vote against I-1000.
Human Life calls it “issue advocacy” and “voter education.” The state Public Disclosure Commission and the Washington Supreme Court call it campaigning, especially when the education occurs while such an issue is on its way or already on the election ballot.
The initiative’s opponents believe they’ll be “harassed or intimidated” by supporters, so they want the courts to let them remain anonymous. The opponents’ lawyer says federal case law is on their side.
Speaking of open government, at 5:30 Wednesday at the Kitsap Regional Library’s Sylvan branch, the Washington Coalition for Open Government and the Kitsap Sun are hosting a panel discussion and forum on open government. Included in the discussion will be Port of Bremerton Commissioner Bill Mahan. The port, most of you will recall, enacted a property tax that escaped the radar of port residents and us. The result is a new outreach policy for the port and a new marina.
I’ll be covering the forum. I would encourage anyone who can to attend, because there will be time for the audience to ask questions. If the technology permits, I’ll live-blog it.