Washington elections return strong results for the hospitality industry.
(Nov. 5, 2015) After an exciting election cycle consisting of several important issues and races throughout the state, the results are in! The Washington Lodging Association and the Washington Restaurant Association are very pleased with the majority of the outcomes. While there are mail-in ballots that will still be counted, it is unlikely that any of the results below will change with the final tally. This election cycle has strengthened the hospitality industry.
District 30 featured the most anticipated legislative race in Washington state between appointed Democrat Carol Gregory and WRA/WLA-endorsed Republican challenger Teri Hickel. The district includes Federal Way, Auburn and Des Moines and is considered a swing district. Teri Hickel will be a friend to the hospitality industry and we look forward to working with her in the upcoming session on a variety of issues.
- Teri Hickel – 53.92% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
- Carol Gregory – 46.08%
District 9 included two Republican candidates seeking to represent the rural district that includes Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield and Whitman counties as well as part of Spokane County. The voters decided to retain Mary Dye, who was appointed in 2015 to the Legislature, to represent them in Olympia in the upcoming session.
- Mary Dye – 64.6% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
- Richard Lathim – 35.3%
Eyman’s Initiative (Statewide Initiative 1366):
In 2010, Washington voters supported Initiative 1053, a Tim Eyman-backed measure that required a two-thirds vote by either the voters or the Legislature to increase taxes. In 2013, the Washington Supreme Court ruled this initiative unconstitutional because the Washington State Constitution requires a majority vote, not a two-thirds vote. In order for that initiative to be legal, the state Constitution would need to be amended to require a two-thirds vote to raise taxes. The Legislature is the only body that has the power to make a constitutional amendment.
Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 would force the Legislature to put a two-thirds requirement amendment on the ballot or allow Washington state’s sales tax to decrease from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent. After Tuesday’s results were announced, Eyman’s I-1366 is leading 54% to 46%.
- Yes – 54%
- No – 46%
Local Ballot Initiatives:
Honest Elections (Seattle Initiative 122)
Initiative 122 is a campaign reform proposal that is attempting to increase voters’ participation in funding Seattle’s city elections. I-122 does this by tightening campaign finance restrictions and giving registered voters “Democracy Vouchers” of $100 to give to the candidate they support. I-122 also puts a spending cap on how much money each seat may spend in the primary and general, a cash contribution limit of $250 a voter and ban contributions from city contractors, lobbyists and regulated businesses.
Many worry about I-122’s potential for fraud, seeing the paper vouchers as an easy way for special interests to abuse the system. Many also point to the irony of the pro-I-122’s campaign committee raising a large amount of their $1.3 million from out of the state. After Tuesday’s results, Seattle overwhelmingly passed I-122 with over 60% of the vote.
- Yes – 60.33%
- No – 39.67%
Tacoma Minimum Wage
To the relief of many businesses and employees, Measure 1B passed, raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour over two years in the City of Tacoma. Voters overwhelmingly supported a minimum wage increase, with question 1 (Yes) receiving over 58% of the vote. But voters were even more adamant that the increase should be a reasonable phased-in increase of $12, as Measure 1B passed with over 71% of the vote.
Tacoma Initiatives 1 & 1B Question 1
(Increase in the minimum wage)
- Yes – 58.68%
- No – 41.32%
Tacoma Initiatives 1 & 1B Question 2
- Measure 1 ($15) – 28.60%
- Measure 1B ($12) – 71.40% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
To see the results of the Tacoma City Council races, click here.
Worker Bill of Rights (Proposition 1)
Spokane voters have spoken, voting down proposition 1 by over 62%. Proposition 1, a measure backed by the advocacy group Envision Spokane, stated that any business with 150 full-time employees must pay a family wage that would cover housing, food, child care and transportation. The reality of this proposition is it could have increased the minimum wage in Spokane by as much as $28 an hour while crippling Spokane’s economy.
- Yes – 37.99%
- No – 62.01% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
Fircrest Sale of Liquor for On-Premise Consumption (Proposition 1)
Fircrest voters decided to end the eighty-year ban on the sale of liquor for on-premise consumption Tuesday evening. Fircrest has been a dry city since the founding of the city in 1925 and the last time residents voted on removing the ban was in 1975, where they unanimously voted to keep the ban. The Washington Restaurant and Lodging Associations are pleased with the outcome of this vote, allowing businesses the right to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption and no longer keeping them at a disadvantage to neighboring cities.
- Yes (For Sale of Liquor) – 75.81% *WRA/WLA Endorsed
- No (Against Sale of Liquor) – 24.19%
Seattle City Council Races
The Seattle City Council races were of high importance to the Seattle Restaurant Alliance and the Seattle Hotel Association as all seats were up for election and the final makeup of the City Council is critical to the hospitality sector.
With the SRA and SHA officially endorsing eight of nine candidates in the election, the outcome in the General was overall very positive. Six out of the eight candidates endorsed by the SRA/SHA came out on top Tuesday evening, leaving the SRA and SHA optimistic for the upcoming year as they work with legislators to help craft legislation that has the hospitality industry’s best interests in mind. To see the results and the current vote count for Seattle City Council races and Tacoma City Council races, click here.
City of Spokane Mayoral Race
WLA and the WRA are pleased with the reelection of Mayor Condon and look forward to working with him on a host of issues that face the hospitality sector in the City of Spokane in the coming year.
- David Condon – 62.08%
- Shar Lichty – 37.01%
Make your voice heard. Join the GAC!
Would you like to be more involved? We are recruiting for our Government Affairs Committee! Open to all WLA & WRA members, the committee welcomes participation from anyone willing to engage in government affairs! Your role will be to provide input when immediate policy decisions are needed and to follow up on calls of action when we need to reach out to elected officials. Your participation will make a difference! If you would like to join the GAC or have any questions for the WRA/WLA government affairs team, please email Government Affairs Manager Marian Ericks at MarianE@WaRestaurant