Criminal Justice Report – 2016 Legislative Session
The Legal Financial Obligations (LFO) bill (HB 1390) passed the House 97-0 but did not get a vote in full Senate. The intent of this bill is to lessen the burdens on released prisoners as they try to reintegrate into society. Senator Padden, Chair of Law and Justice Cmte, replaced it with a substitute that did not require courts to meaningly take into account ability to pay in assigning LFOs and only reduced, not eliminated, the (12%) interest rate on LFOs. This substitute was unacceptable to FCWPP or other progressive sponsors. Four FCWPP Alerts were sent urging activists to contact key legislators in support of a strong LFO bill.
The Post-Secondary Education bill (HB 2619) — which would permit the Department of Corrections to spend state money on post-secondary courses for prisoners — passed the House 84-13 but the bill itself did not get a vote in the full Senate, despite a successful effort to have it initially moved through the Senate Higher Education Committee. Research has shown that education of prisoners pays off many times over in terms of savings from reduced recidivism. Fortunately, the sponsor, Senator Hewitt, was able to insert a statement in the budget that permits some form of post-secondary education at least temporarily. Two FCWPP Alerts pertained to the post-secondary education bill.
The Correction Ombuds bill (HB 2817 / SB 6154) did not get a vote in either full House or full Senate. Two FCWPP Alerts focused on the corrections ombuds bill. No parole bill was introduced this year.
The Certificate of Restoration of Opportunity bill (HB 1553), although not actively worked by FCWPP this year, passed both houses and was signed by the Governor! It is effective, June 9, 2016.
A bill (HB 2908) to establish a joint legislative task force to study deadly force was approved.
Volunteer lobbyists made visits to many legislators on both sides of the aisle and testimony was given at hearings for the post-secondary education bill and the corrections ombuds bill. A total of eight Alerts on criminal justice issues were sent this session, all but one limited to activists in the districts of key legislators for a particular bill.
Environmental Stewardship and Peace Report – 2016 Legislative Session
A bill to extend incentives for solar and other alternative energy implementations (HB 2346) passed the House 77-20, but did not get a vote in the full Senate.
The Toxic-Free Kids bill (HB 2545) was lobbied by participants of Quaker Lobby Day and passed both houses and was signed by the Governor. This law will ban specified toxic flame-retardants for children’s toys and furniture.
FCWPP expressed support for the governor’s effort to use Clean Energy rule making in the Dept. of Ecology to cap and tax carbon emissions on 24 emitters, specifying 5% reduction in emissions every 3 years.
FCWPP lobbied at Quaker Lobby Day for strong action to reduce carbon emissions and to augment I-732, which proposes a revenue-neutral carbon tax, by returning more of the revenue to achieving solutions for climate disruption, air and water quality, and equity for low income families.
Two Alerts on ESP issues were sent: one to Seattle area activists concerning a bill affecting carpools and one to the full FCWPP Alert list concerning thanking the Governor for his stand on climate change and urging him to request the Department of Ecology to enhance its proposed Clean Air (carbon) rule from a 1.5% to 4% reduction of carbon emissions per year.