Daily Archives: June 14, 2013

Home Rule Initiative comes to Jefferson County, WA

democracy hands with borderIn Jefferson county the move toward direct democracy begins!

The Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson county chartering workgroup has begun signature gathering to bring Home Rule or “Chartering to Jefferson county, Washington. The signature gathering began on June 10th and will continue until August 6, 2013.  The workgroup began actively gathering the 2600 registered voter signatures that would allow the formation of Chartering or “Home Rule” in our county.  Chartering is a process set forth in the State Constitution that allows for local citizens to have a greater say in their own governmental system. A “Charter” helps to balance the power between government and its citizens and provides every part of the community a forceful voice. A charter would allow direct democracy to come to Jefferson County.

Home Rule Charter allows local government to be updated.People balancing2

Home Rule Charter (for counties or cities) was provided for in 1948 as an Amendment to the State Constitution, Article XI, Section 4. It allows citizens to update their local form of government. It allows counties to go beyond the “cookie-cutter” 3-commissioner form assigned to counties when we became a state in 1889. Most importantly, it allows citizens a greater voice in their local government by providing the option of Initiative or Referendum to the citizens. It truly allows citizens a voice that can become binding law.

map of state - chartered co and citySix counties and ten cities in Washington State have Home Rule. Some changed their form of government, some did not. But all have used the Initiative and Referendum process by citizens to address issues in their counties or cities.

Our petition would ask that an election be held to elect “Freeholders” who would then using Open Meetings, Town Meetings and citizen input as a basis for decisions, design the form of government to go on the ballot: *Commissioner Form, *Home Rule Form, or *Combined City-County Form. The form will then be adopted by voters.

How you can help

There are three ways to support this project to create Home Rule in Jefferson County Washington.

  1. Sign our petition. If you are a register voter please sign our petition. Go to the Port Townsend Food Coop Monday through Friday – 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and sign our petition.
  2. Circulate the petition in Jefferson County. If you would be willing to circulate the petition contact us or come to the Port Townsend Food Co-op and pick up petitions. The CRC Chartering Workgroup is actively seeking other local citizens to collect signatures on our petition. Please read the following FAQ and definitions for further information on the important direct democracy action that is taking place in our county.
  3. Come to the next Community Rights coalition meeting June 15th at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 2333 San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend, Washington. The meeting starts at 9:30 AM. Find out more about our effort to bring direct democracy to our county.

 Here are links to some useful information about Home Rule Chartering.

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