On August 27, a King County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the legality of the Compassion Seattle initiative (Charter Amendment 29). Judge Catherine Schaffer expressed her support for the initiative but ruled that action by the State Legislature preempted the ability of Seattle voters to direct the City’s homelessness policy.
This initiative would have amended Seattle’s charter to require 12% of its general fund to be spent on housing and services for the homeless. Here is more information about Compassion Seattle.
In Washington State, the courts rarely rule on the legality or constitutionality of an initiative before the voters approve it, and never if they vote it down, making the success of this challenge surprising. Here is an in-depth look at the plaintiffs’ three legal arguments as they seek to disqualify the initiative.
Backers of Compassion Seattle has not announced whether they will appeal this decision.