The 2002 Session of the Washington State Legislature ended with reasons for Friends to be encouraged. Please share the news with your Meetings and Worship Groups.
DRUG SENTENCE REFORM BILL DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR LOCKE
FCWPP’s key legislation in this session, the drug sentence reform bill, which reduces prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders and expands funding for treatment alternatives, passed the House with 67 yeas, 30 nays, and 1 absent on the final day of session. Governor Locke is expected to sign it.
Friends had a significant role in the origins and success of this, which begins the transition from treating addiction as a criminal act to placing it in a public health context where lasting solutions lie. The following is an assessment from Roger Goodman, who is leading the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project:
“In a national context, I believe we’ve done well here with drug sentencing reform. What started three years ago with Dan Clark (who fashioned a resolution to force the SGC to do its job) has now flowered into the next significant phase of drug policy reform.”
FLAWED BILL CREATING NEW TERRORISM CRIMES AND EXPANDING POLICE SURVEILLANCE DIES IN SENATE
A bill intended to create new terrorism crimes and to allow much greater flexibility in police investigations and surveillance failed to pass out of the Senate, bouncing back and forth between the two houses of the legislature several times in the final days and hours of the session. Senate Bill 6704 ended up with language requested by Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire and Governor Gary Locke to move our laws closer to the Federal Government’s approach under the Patriot Act. Senator Adam Kline, the original sponsor of SB 6704 and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, worked hard to oppose it once his careful language was struck from the bill and replaced with House bill language fraught with threats to everyone’s individual liberty and including an expansion of the death penalty. Friends lobbying supported Senator Kline’s successful effort.
Expect more details, and action requests regarding these bills and other topics in a subsequent Alert. In the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact me..