Stateline Story

Voters OK Smoking Ban, Keep Gas Tax

Voters decided six statewide ballot measures. One, approved by 63 percent of voters, imposes the nation's broadest statewide smoking ban.

Voters also—by 53 percent to 47 percent—refused to throw out a 9.5-cent-per-gallon increase in the state's gasoline tax approved by the Legislature this year with the backing of Gov. Christine Gregoire (D).

Competing initiatives to contain the cost of medical malpractice both failed by wide margins. But an initiative requiring the state auditor to determine whether state and local government agencies are well-managed passed, as did a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that changes how members are selected for the state's eleven-member Commission on Judicial Conduct.

  • Gas tax repeal (53 percent voted against) - would have reversed the Legislatures 9.5 cent gas tax increase
  • Smoking ban (63 percent approved) - outlaws smoking in all public buildings and workplaces, with no exceptions for private clubs, and establishes a 25 foot no-smoking buffer around all workplace doors, windows and vents
  • Medical malpractice - Both proposals failed. One, on health care liability (54 percent rejected) would have limited lawyers' fees and pain and suffering awards for malpractice cases. The other, on  malpractice insurance (59 percent voted against), would have set up a state insurance fund for the most expensive cases and revoke doctors' licenses if they lost three malpractice claims in one decade.
  • Performance audits (57 percent approved) - will require the state auditor to determine how well state and local government agencies are being managed, and sets aside a small portion of the state budget to pay for those audits
  • Commission on Judicial Conduct (66 percent voted in favor) - permits one of the eleven members of the Commission on Judicial Conduct to be selected by and from the judges of all courts of limited jurisdiction