Forum held to discuss upcoming ballot

Possible legislation debated included Initiative 976, Referendum 88, Proposition 1



Scott Adams, CEO of Pullman Regional Hospital, discusses how $29 million will upgrade PRH’s equipment and facilities Thursday at the Neill Public Library.

KAITLYN TEJERO, Evergreen reporter

The League of Women Voters held a public forum Thursday to discuss ballot measures including an initiative to limit the cost of car tabs and a referendum to allow affirmative action without preferential treatment or quotas.

Deb Olson, voter service team member, facilitated the meeting. She said the meeting was intended to provide information on candidates and issues and talk about supporting and opposing viewpoints.

The league said voting in favor of Initiative 976 will limit annual licensing fees of motor vehicles, motorcycles, motorhomes and limit license tabs to $30 per year.

Members said those in support of the initiative believe working-class people should be able to afford a nice vehicle, but people are being taxed unreasonably.

The league said people opposed to I-976 believe it will devastate public transit, as it will decrease its funding by $4.2 billion.

They said the bridges in Pullman are in poor condition and do not meet earthquake safety standards.

The league also discussed Referendum 88, designed to implement an affirmative action policy in an effort to create fairness and opportunity.

They listed some opposing viewpoints of the referendum, including the fact it would divide the community. They said it would make race a contributing factor in college admissions and government job positions.

The league hosted a guest speaker, Scott Adams, CEO of Pullman Regional Hospital.

Adams spoke about a $29 million proposition created to expand and update the hospital.

“$20 million will go to expanding the hospital’s services and specialties,” he said. “The other nine will help to update our electronic health records.”

He said the records system the hospital uses is over two decades old and soon they will not be able to support it.

Adams said that Pullman Regional Hospital already receives funding from members of Pullman and surrounding communities.

“We get about $400,000 a year, which proves we have support without taxation,” he said. “Colfax and Moscow contribute to the success [of the hospital].”

Adams said the amount the hospital makes goes back into the facility, but the funds have begun to decrease.

A member of the audience spoke in favor of Proposition 1.

“When you have a state where 60 to 80 percent of residents have some kind of healthcare, that is phenomenal,” she said. “I will do whatever I can to support Pullman Regional Hospital because I have had access to things that I never dreamt about, coming from the south.”

Karen Karpman, Commissioner for Pullman Regional Hospital, said there will be multiple benefits of the proposition.

“This allows for coordinated care,” she said. “Different healthcare providers will be able to talk to each other in the same space and that will increase efficiency and the quality of care.”

The League of Women Voters said people can visit for more information on I-976 and Referendum 88 to be informed for the upcoming election.