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Spokane Entrepreneurial Center v. Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution

ELR Citation: 46 ELR 20030
Nos. 91551-2, (Wash., 02/02/2016)

The Washington Supreme Court held that a local initiative to create a "Community Bill of Rights" which, among other things, would give the Spokane River its own water rights, including the rights to sustainable recharge, sufficient flows to support native fish, and clean water, may not be placed on the ballot. The initiative would amend the city of Spokane's charter and contains four primary provisions relating to water rights, zoning changes, workplace rights, and the rights of corporations. But local initiative power is limited to legislative matters that are within the authority of the city. Here, the initiative attempts to regulate a variety of subjects outside this scope of authority, including administrative matters, water law, and constitutional rights. Because the initiative exceeds the scope of local legislative authority, the court held it may not be placed on the ballot.