re: Poker & WA State Initiative for internet poker
An Initiative to the Legislature presents the internet poker community a unique method of engaging directly in the process of creating law in the State of Washington. We are making what we believe are two very solid proposals to the Legislature, in hopes that they will act on behalf of the people of the State. Here is a little info on just how this process works.
Beginning at the end of next week, the window opens for filing Initiatives to the Legislature. It will take about three weeks from first submission to official measure. Once a number has been assigned, and our language approved, we will have until ten days before the start of the next legislative session to collect the needed signatures. That deadline is January 3rd, 2014.
We will have a goal of 300K signatures, and about 39 weeks in which to gather them. That is just under 40 signatures a week for an average of 200 volunteers. The process of gathering signatures also gives us, the poker playing community, an opportunity to engage with the general public about the game, and to dispel the many myths that are put out there about poker as a game and poker players as people. We get the chance to show them that we are just every day people, just like them, who enjoy playing a skill game against other enthusiasts. And we get to show them that we care about the same issues as those who may oppose, and we can educate them on why regulation is the best way to address those concerns.
Any lobbying being done legislatively is only complimented by this effort. In fact, the work that we put in will have a profound effect, as we meet and talk with legislators and share the specific language we have put forth. This will have far more reaching results that simply sending tweets and facebook messages to our elected officials.
This is real work, and it will take real effort from the community. But it also will have real results that we can all be proud of, and that will set a great example for the two dozen other States with some form of Initiative process.
If we fail to get enough signatures to force this before the Legislature, it will not be a complete failure, because we will have raised the awareness of our Legislators , which can only be beneficial to any efforts to lobby the Legislature thru other channels.
Despite all efforts, the Legislature may still not take any action on internet poker in the next session, or the foreseeable future. It is in this case that our efforts will have the most impact. While lobbying efforts will wait for yet another year, we will have the opportunity to bring the issue to the voters. And we will have spent the better part of two years raising public awareness of the issue.
This is too important not to try. But it's not a one man job, to be sure. So plan to represent the poker community, get out there and gather 40 signatures a week, engage the public in a dialogue on internet poker, and let's change the game in Washington State.