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Legislature sued over how it changed police deadly force law

Tim Eyman says the Legislature's move was unconstitutional.

SEATTLE — Frequent initiative sponsor Tim Eyman is suing Washington state over the constitutionally suspect way lawmakers voted to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings.

Eyman filed the lawsuit Monday in Thurston County Superior Court, four days after lawmakers approved and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a compromise measure backed by both activists and law enforcement groups. There had been years of wrangling over the existing state law, which made it almost impossible to prosecute officers.

Activists initially gathered signatures for an initiative to the Legislature to change the law. Under the Constitution, lawmakers can approve such measures; reject or ignore them; or propose an alternative to appear alongside the original on the November ballot.

In this case, the Legislature created a fourth option: It passed the original initiative as well as a law to amend it. The law to amend it takes effect only if the original is not challenged in a referendum. Eyman says that was unconstitutional.

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