Judge rules Pierce County, others can help defend I-976

SEATTLE – A King County judge ruled Friday on multiple motions in the I-967 car tab legal battle.

The initiative is currently on hold while Seattle, King County and several other entities have sued to keep $30 car-tabs from going into effect.

The superior court judge ruled others will be allowed to assist the state Attorney General’s office defending I-976.

“There is absolutely nothing confusing about that,” Tim Eyman, the initiative’s sponsor, said Friday morning pointing to a campaign. “That is what the voters ended up voting on.”

Eyman stood in front of an empty court room Friday morning insisting voters knew what would happen if I-976 passed – but not everyone agrees it’s that cut and dry.

But before the initiative went into effect, the city of Seattle, King County and several others sued claiming the initiative guts public transportation and projects across the state.

A judge halted the initiative after litigants argued parts of the initiative may have been confusing and even unconstitutional.

On Friday a judge approved Pierce County’s request to help the attorney general defend the initiative.

The ruling also granted intervenor status to Tim Eyman, the initiative’s sponsor, and others.

But, another of Eyman’s motions – asking for outside council to take over the defense -- was denied.

The attorney general’s office insists it will fight for those who approved I-976 and told Q13 News last week it has talented lawyers on staff to fight for voters.

“When we defend an initiative that passes, we’re not representing the initiative’s sponsor whoever that is,” said Noah Purcell. “We’re representing the people. The people deserve to have a good lawyer defend them in this case and we had excellent lawyers representing them.”

The AG’s office said Friday it welcomes the help from the outside sources to defend I-976.

Eyman was critical of most of the judge’s rulings.

No matter which side prevails the case will likely eventually be heard at the supreme court.