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Washington State is unique in a number of respects. Many believe the state’s residents are largely divided along political lines by the Cascade Mountains, with liberals to the West and conservatives to the East. This dichotomy of ideology is reflected in the state’s varying laws, which range from conservative tax policies to liberal individual rights measures.
The state of Washington has a unique tax policy. It has the least progressive tax structure in the nation, and like just six other states it does not impose personal income taxes. Additionally, Washington State does not levy franchise taxes or corporate income taxes. Washington does, however, impose a business and occupation tax on many businesses.
Washington’s Natural Death Act came under fire in the 1997 case of Washington v. Glucksberg. In Glucksberg, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Act’s ban on physician- physician-assisted suicide did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In doing so, the Court asserted that assisted suicide does not qualify as a fundamental liberty interest, in part because it runs contrary to American tradition. Furthermore, the Court found that the ban was rational because it furthered the state’s interests in preserving human life and protecting the mentally ill and disabled. The Court also expressed worry that if it sanctioned physician-assisted suicide, this might lead other states to enact voluntary or even involuntary euthanasia laws.
Washington made history in November, 2008 when it became the second state in the country to authorize doctors to prescribe medications to terminally ill patients, or those with six months or less to live. Washington voters approved Initiative 1000, or the “aid in dying” measure, by almost 58%. This measure permits adults who are mentally competent and terminally ill to legally request and administer to themselves a lethal dose of medication. Initiative 1000 differs from a failed 1991 Washington initiative in that 1000 clearly bars euthanasia and lethal injections.
In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502. Washington, along with Colorado, is now one of two states in the country which has legalized marijuana for recreational use. Adults over the age of 21 may legally carry one ounce of marijuana, or 16 ounces of marijuana infused product, or 72 ounces of marijuana infused liquids. The Initiative also earmarked a 25% excise tax on wholesale and retail marijuana, making marijuana a source of revenue for the state.
According to the National Center for State Courts, there were over 300,000 cases filed in Washington courts in 2005, and about 140,000 of these were civil matters. If you need help with a criminal or civil matter, LegalMatch.com can help you find the best lawyer for your case.
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Last Modified: 05-08-2014 10:08 AM PDT