Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Garth Meyer
Gazette Reporter 

BoCC rejects 'Liberty State' test vote


October 3, 2019

Two Whitman County Commissioners listened to a request for an advisory vote on the proposed “Liberty State” Monday.

Kevin Akesson of Colfax spoke to Art Swannack and Michael Largent on the effort to make eastern and much of central Washington its own state.

“We're finding broad support on the east side of the state,” said Akesson.

In his comments, he also noted the commissioners' recent matter of how to regulate marijuana may be moot in a 51st state.

“If a state in Eastern Washington existed in 2012, this would not have happened. That's one issue of many I see a distinct difference east vs. west, in general,” Akesson said.

The advisory vote he requested would entail a non-binding measure on an election ballot. The votes are often used to inform lawmakers how people feel about a certain issue.

“Liberty State, that's not set in stone,” said Akesson, referring to the name.

Commissioner Swannack asked what the costs may be to put on an advisory vote.

Largent asked about the movement's organization.

After listening to Akesson's answer, he followed.

“At this point, a loose association of individuals, asking for us to do their polling for them via advisory votes. I'm questioning if this is putting the cart before the horse...” Largent said. ”I have no sense that there is a groundswell of support for that issue.”

In further comments, Akesson mentioned the state legislature's last session budget surplus and a raise in taxes.

“The legislature, the way things went, there was some frustration there,” he said.

Swannack noted that he had not heard a majority of people on the subject speaking in favor.

Akesson was asked if he had any further input for now.

He noted “one key issue” in closing, Washington State Senate bill 6219 and whether it would allow for public funding of abortion. He pointed to it as one of the main issues to address in a 51st state.


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