A lawsuit filed yesterday (Feb. 15) in Kittitas County Superior Court in Ellensburg calls for invalidation of Initiative 1433 because it covered multiple regulatory topics and failed to include vital language — both in alleged violation of the Washington Constitution.

NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business, Washington state chapter) is joined in the lawsuit by Northwest Food Processors Association, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food Industry Association, and Washington Retail Association.

Passed by voters on November 8, 2016, I-1433 calls for both an increase in the state’s minimum-wage rate in stages up to 2020, and for unrelated changes in the state’s sick and family leave provisions. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that any initiative can only cover a single subject.

The legal filing states: “Voters who were interested in a minimum wage rate increase were compelled to accept fundamental policy changes in Washington’s leave statutes in the bargain, or vice versa. As stated in Lee (Lee v. State), ‘neither subject was necessary to implement the other,’ … That is constitutionally unacceptable.”

“We are on solid constitutional ground in our lawsuit,” said Patrick Connor, NFIB's Washington state director. “One need not be a lawyer to see the huge flaws in this initiative.”

There is no legal response filed yet from the state Attorney General to defend the initiative, so the future court schedule is uncertain.