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Posted on: July 20, 2017

Initiative Petition to Repeal Burien's Ordinance 651

August 8, 2017

The Burien City Council voted on Monday, August 7, to place Burien Initiative 1 on the November 7, 2017 general election ballot. City of Burien staff are following procedures to place the initiative on the ballot. 


August 2, 2017

On Monday, July 31, 2017, Burien City Council met to discuss Burien Initiative No. 1, which would repeal Burien’s Immigration Status Ordinance (Ordinance No. 651). 

Initiative No. 1 was certified by King County Elections on July 21, 2017. According to state law, the City is required to take one of two actions; either adopt the legislation as set forth in the initiative petition, or adopt a resolution requesting that it be placed on the general election ballot for November 7, 2017. The option to do nothing was considered by staff, however was not forwarded based on statutory guidance and the potential legal exposure to the City.

State law identifies the schedule and date by which the second option above must be taken, however there is a conflict in the governing statutes. The law that sets forth dates for the conduct of primaries and passage of resolutions placing measures on the general election ballot states that resolutions must be submitted to County Elections by August 1. However, in another area of the law, it states that the resolution must be submitted to County Elections within 90 days of the general election, or no earlier than August 7.

In order to remove all doubt that the City acted in a timely manner, staff recommended options for the Council to consider; including passage of a resolution on July 31, 2017 to place Initiative 1 on the general election ballot.  While King County Elections has indicated it will accept Resolution 395 if submitted on August 8, 2017, the City is still exposed to legal risk and a potential legal challenge from a third party.


If the Council does not take action on Initiative No. 1, a taxpayer may file a lawsuit against the City in superior court to obtain an order that an "election will take place for the purpose of voting upon the proposed ordinance if the court finds the petition to be sufficient."  On July 21, 2017, King County Elections certified the petition as having sufficient signatures.

A motion remains open on the Council floor to approve Resolution 395 at the August 7 Council Meeting. At this time, City staff are preparing for the meeting and providing additional information to Council for consideration prior to the August 7 Council meeting.

July 24, 2017


The City of Burien issued a news release regarding the scheduling of a special meeting and call for volunteers to serve on Pros and Cons Committees. 

Read the press release.

July 21, 2017

Today, King County Elections completed verification of the signatures submitted to their office for the City of Burien Initiative No. 1 (repeal of Ordinance 651).
 
Of the 4,953 signatures that were compared against those on file with the County, 3,648 were determined to be registered voters. Since that number met the requirement of 3,643, King County Elections determined that the petition is sufficient. 
 
The Burien City Council is required to take one of the following next steps: (1) adopt the proposed ordinance as set forth in the petition (which repeals Ordinance no. 651) or (2) pass a resolution submitting the measure to the County Elections office and asking that it be placed on the November 7, 2017 ballot. Because the second option must be completed by August 1, 2017, a special meeting will be scheduled to take place between July 24 and July 31, 2017.


July 20, 2017

On July 20, representatives from Respect Washington delivered to the City of Burien more petition signatures for the "Initiative Petition to REPEAL Burien's "Sanctuary City" Ordinance 651."

The Burien City Clerk delivered the signed petitions to King County Elections at noon today.

King County Elections has ten days to verify the signatures and make a decision on the sufficiency of the petition (RCW 35.17.280).

July 14, 2017

On July 14, King County Elections determined that the Petition to Repeal Ordinance No. 651 contained an insufficient number of signatures. All 4,181 petition signatures submitted were compared against those voter registration signatures and address information on file with the County Election office. Of those, 3,119 were determined to be registered voters of King County in the City of Burien. Because that number did not meet the requirement of 3,643 valid signatures to certify, the County determined that the petition is insufficient by 524 signatures.

Per RCW 35.17.280, an insufficient petition may be amended within ten days from the date of certification provided by the city clerk. Mr. Keller, the petition signature-gatherer, was informed in writing today that he has until close of business, 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 24, 2017 to amend his petition by submitting additional signatures.

If the required number of signatures are submitted by the deadline and found to be valid by the County Elections office, the City will be required either to (1) adopt the proposed ordinance as set forth in the petition (which repeals Ordinance no. 651) or (2) pass a resolution submitting the measure to the County Elections office and asking that it be placed on the November 7, 2017 ballot. Because the second option must be completed by August 1, 2017, a special meeting will be scheduled to take place between July 24th 2017 and July 31, 2017 if needed.

Letter of insufficiency

Petition result breakdown

July 11, 2017

On July 7, 2017, the City of Burien received an initiative petition asking to place on a ballot the repeal of Burien Ordinance No. 651. The “immigration status ordinance” directs Burien City staff and law enforcement personnel to not inquire about immigration status or religious affiliation. The petition asks that an ordinance repealing Ordinance 651 be submitted to a vote of the registered voters of the City of Burien. 

Read the press release.
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