Washington State's Initiative 937 and the Environment: The Emerging Impact of Grassroots Movements on National Policy
Constitutional law, seemingly dormant in the recent past, has reemerged as ballot initiatives and referendums begin to drive national policy change. Ballot initiatives have long served as a mechanism for popular state action when the controlling government fails to address pressing concerns, addresses concerns at a gradual rate that renders any action ultimately ineffective, or enacts legislation that simply fails to adequately address popular concerns. With respect to environmental reform, the latter scenario seemingly persisted in Washington. As indicated by a 2006 initiative, Washingtonians believed environmental reform was an issue worthy of more comprehensive legislation aimed specifically at combating the causes of global warming. More importantly, however, Washington’s environmental initiative indicates that grassroots movements are becoming an important tool, as indicated by increased proposals before Congress, for promoting national policy change.