Washington lawmakers are seeking to tighten regulations on paid signature gatherers who circulate petitions for ballot initiatives.

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Washington lawmakers are seeking to tighten regulations on paid signature gatherers who circulate petitions for ballot initiatives.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, requires all signature-gathering businesses and paid signature gatherers to register with the Secretary of State.

It also ups the fee for filing initiatives or referenda from $5 to $500. But $450 of that would be refunded if the initiative qualifies for the ballot.

The bill’s sponsors say the measure will help guarantee the validity of signatures collected by paid signature-gatherers and ensure greater transparency in the ballot measure process.

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But opponents like initiative promoter Tim Eyman fear the bill will stifle citizens’ ability to get their issues on the ballot.

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