GMO labeling the hot button topic in WA election

GMO labeling the hot button topic in WA election

Credit: KING

GMO labeling the hot button topic in WA election


by Associated Press and KING 5 News

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 7:50 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 9:22 PM

SEATTLE  -- Washington's voters are deciding Tuesday whether to label food that contains genetically modified ingredients in a campaign that has drawn millions of money from out of state.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and five major corporations have raised $22 million to defeat Initiative 522. Food-labeling supporters have raised $7.8 million.

I-522 supporters say consumers have the right to know what's in the food they buy, while opponents say the measure would lead to higher food costs.

Early polling showed voters supporting the measure. But a barrage of TV and radio spots from labeling foes in recent weeks have helped close the gap.

If voters approve the measure, Washington would be the first state to enact labeling requirements for foods with genetically engineered ingredients. Connecticut passed a similar law last summer, but it won't take effect until several other states pass similar legislation.

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday. There are also several ballot drop boxes across Western Washington. You must have them dropped off by 8 p.m.

SeaTac Minimum Wage

SeaTac is center stage in a national push for a $15 minimum wage.

Residents of the city south of Seattle will finally have their say on Tuesday following a costly initiative campaign in which the two sides combined to spend $1.8 million -- enough money to hire every registered voter in the city for a day at $15 per hour.

The proposal would require a $15 minimum wage for many workers in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It follows a series of rallies in which fast food workers and others around the country called attention to their struggle to earn a living.

Groups outside of Washington state will be watching the results. National labor unions have contributed to support the effort while national business organizations have contributed in opposition.

Seattle mayor

Seattle voters will decide Tuesday if Mike McGinn will get a second term as mayor or if state Senator Ed Murray will take the city in a new direction.

Polls show Murray with a strong advantage. The latest KING 5 News poll taken three weeks before election day found 52 percent of likely voters would choose Murray while 32 percent said they would vote for McGinn. 15 percent were undecided at the time.

Both candidates are expected to continue campaigning throughout the day Tuesday.

"Initiative on initiatives"

Washington state voters are weighing in on an "initiative on initiatives" that would make it easier to get measures on the ballot.

Initiative 517 requires that voters be allowed to have their say on any proposal that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against it.

The initiative on Tuesday's ballot also would give supporters a year, instead of the current six months, to collect signatures, and it would make it a misdemeanor to interfere with the signature-gathering process. Initiative promoter Tim Eyman filed I-517 last year just weeks after the state high court ruled that city laws allowing for red light traffic cameras are not subject to repeal by voters.

Business groups and others had lined up in opposition, saying the proposal will affect their ability to deal with nuisances outside of their stores.

Voters deciding 3 Washington Senate races

Republicans hope to add another seat to their coalition that controls the Senate to help increase the cushion of their hold of the upper chamber.

Voters will get their say Tuesday on the race for the 26th District, between Democrat Nathan Schlicher and Republican Jan Angel. The race has become the most expensive legislative contest in state history, with combined spending of $2.9 million. More than half of that money has been spent by third-party groups.

Voters will also weigh in on two other Senate races. In the 7th District, Republican Sen. John Smith of Colville, who was appointed in January to succeed retiring state Sen. Bob Morton, faces fellow Republican Brian Dansel, and the in the 8th District Republican Sen. Sharon Brown of Kennewick, who was appointed in January to replace Sen. Jerome Delvin, is running against Republican Phillip R. Lemley.