We are delighted to share the good news! Proposition 1, the anti-immigrant profiling initiative that was slated for our Spokane City ballot this fall, has been tossed out by Superior Court Judge Julie McKay and WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT!
Prop 1 would have invited rampant racial profiling and harassment against Latinos, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, and others presumed to be “foreign” based on how they look or sound. Singling out individuals based on their accent, skin color, or appearance is counter to our community values. PJALS members stood strong and were among the first to talk with voters and give money to organize against the initiative. Our PJALS community showed up and together with our partners we made a big difference!
Judge McKay ruled that Prop 1’s topic was beyond the scope of local initiative power because it attempted to address an administrative policy of the police department. In addition, she found Prop 1 moot, because it sought to change language in sections of city code that no longer exist. All topics regarding human rights are now in Title 18 of city code, which also prohibits bias-based policing and profiling based on immigration status and refugee status. The judge found it would be “meaningless or impossible” to apply the language of Proposition 1 to Title 18 — so Prop 1 is moot.
If Respect WA, the west side political action committee behind Prop 1, appeals this ruling it is unlikely to get a finding in time to get it back on the ballot for this year. If their appeal were successful the initiative would be on the 2019 city ballot. The good news is that Judge McKay’s finding that the topic of police profiling policy is not appropriate for an initiative means it is unlikely that Respect WA would be able to start over collecting signatures for a similar measure.
THANK YOU to the Center for Justice for great work researching and arguing this legal challenge! And THANK YOU to the plaintiffs who were willing to step forward and lead in saying no to anti-immigrant bigotry and racism: Global Neighborhood; Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, Spokane Chapter; Spokane Chinese American Progressives; Spokane Chinese Association; Refugee Connections Spokane; and National Organization for Women, Spokane Chapter.
Let’s celebrate this victory and savor how it feels when we come together and win for our values. And then let’s harness this energy and use it to power our next moves!