Facts: Washington Revised Code §46.63.170 authorizes local governments to enact ordinances that allow the use of automated traffic safety cameras to issue notices of traffic infractions. Pursuant to this authorization, the respondent city of Mukilteo enacted an ordinance authorizing and setting forth guidelines for the use of automated traffic safety cameras. Residents of Mukilteo subsequently submitted Initiative 2, which would forbid the city from installing automated traffic safety cameras without voter approval, limit the amount of fines that could be imposed for infractions arising from automated safety camera surveillance, and repeal the ordinance authorizing the use of automated traffic safety cameras, for inclusion on the ballot. After the Mukilteo City Council directed that the initiative be included on the ballot, Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government petitioned the Superior Court for Snohomish County for a declaratory judgment that Initiative 2 is beyond the scope of the local initiative power and an injunction preventing its inclusion on the ballot. The superior court denied the petition, ruling that it was premature. Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government appealed this decision directly to the Supreme Court of Washington, which declined accelerated review but granted direct review. In the interim, Initiative 2 was passed and the Mukilteo City Council repealed the ordinance authorizing automated traffic safety cameras.
Question(s): Was Initiative 2 an initiative or an advisory vote?
If Initiative 2 was an initiative, was it beyond the scope of the local initiative power?
Conclusion: Chief Justice Madsen’s opinion for the Court concluded that Initiative 2 was an initiative rather than an advisory vote insofar as it bound the Mukilteo City Council and enacted new law. The Court also held that as §46.63.170 grants local legislative bodies the exclusive power to legislate on the subject of automated traffic safety cameras, Initiative 2 was beyond the scope of the local initiative power.
Docket No. 84921-8 (from Snohomish Case No. 10-2-06342-9)
Petitioner: Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government
(Counsel: Vanessa Soriano Power, Leonard J. Friedman, and Gloria S. Hong)
Respondent: City of Mukilteo
(Counsel: Angela Summerfield Belbeck and Gordon Walter Sivley)
- Amicus of City of Seattle
- Appellant Answer to City of Seattle Amicus
- Appellant's Requestate for Judicial Notice
- Appellants Brief
- Intervenot Defendants' Requestate for Judicial Notice
- Mukilteo and Boughman's Answer to Statement of Grounds
- Mukilteo's Requestate for Judicial Notice
- Respondents Intervenor Defendants Brief
- Respondents Mukilteo and Boughman Brief
- Respondents Weikel and Snohomish County Brief
- Statement of Additional Auth
- Statement of Grounds for Direct Review
- Weikel and Snohomish County's Answer to Statement of Grounds
Argument: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 9:00am
[Source: TVW, http://tvw.org]
Audio: Washington Supreme Court
Decided: Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Prevailing Party: Mukilteo Citizens for Simple Government (Petitioner)
Court: Madsen2 Court (2011)
Note: We post only slip opinion(s) as published at the time of the decision. Please consult Washington Reports printed volumes for the opinion(s) in their final form. Each opinion should appear next to the Justice who authored it.