Political parties take opposing stances on ballot initiatives

Voters start weighing in next week on whether the state should hire more teachers and check more gun buyers’ criminal histories. They are getting opposite advice from the two major political parties.

The state Republican Party is calling for a “no” vote on Initiative 1351, which would mandate smaller class sizes in all K-12 grades. The state Democratic Party has endorsed the measure.

But Democrats aren’t unanimous on the issue. I-1351 has drawn some bipartisan opposition from state legislators, who would have to make tough decisions about how to pay for it. The initiative does not create a source of funding, and some see it as a budget buster. Others say it will help struggling students get the attention they need.

State Republicans want voters to also turn down Initiative 594. The ballot measure requires background checks for all gun purchases, not just the ones by licensed dealers who are mandated by federal law to run checks.

State Democrats have endorsed the measure.

Democrats call for opposing Initiative 591, which is gun-rights activists’ answer to I-594. It would prohibit Washington from being stricter than federal law on background checks.

Republicans have endorsed it.