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UPDATE: Spokane anti-camping initiative back on November ballot

A controversial initiative that would have barred camping near parks and schools has been placed back on the ballot.

Last month a homeless service provider, Jewels Helping Hands, and Ben Stuckart, the leader of the Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium, sued to have an initiative that would have banned camping across a large swath of the city removed from the ballot. They argued it was outside the scope of the initiative process.

A Spokane County Superior Court judge disagreed, allowing it to appear on November ballots. Thursday, an appellate court commissioner ordered the initiative removed from the ballot while judges consider its legality. But just hours later, a panel of appellate court judges reversed that order, putting the measure back on the ballot. They’ll consider whether it’s legal in October.

Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton said her office received the decision just before today’s deadline for general election ballots.

“Thankfully, we were able to reinstall the original programing because we had saved the file, so we're ready to send our proof off to the printer today,” Dalton said.

She said judge’s final decision could impact the election in a few ways. If they find the initiative is illegal, they may order the auditor to not tabulate the results for it. If they find it is an allowable use of the initiative process, the votes will be counted and it will become law.

The initiative is sponsored by Spokane lawyer Brian Hansen, with financial support from commercial property owner Larry Stone. Hansen’s attorney, Mark Lamb, has argued in court filings that Jewels Helping Hands and Ben Stuckart do not have standing, and that the initiative is an appropriate time, place and manner restriction on camping.

The initiative would bar camping within 1,000 feet of parks, schools and childcare facilities.

This story was updated from its original version to include the panel's ruling.