Dear Friends, Legislators have one week to vote bills out of their house of origin. Any bill not voted by March 11th cannot be considered further this legislative session (unless deemed necessary to implement the budget). Before any bill can be voted on the House or Senate floor, it must be “pulled” by the Rules Committee for that chamber. So, if one of your Representatives is on a Rules Committee (see list below), your opportunity to impact the process is much greater. Please email or call House Rules Committee members today to request they pull each House bill from Rules (the one Senate bill listed has already been pulled). Also, contact your legislators, even if they are not on a Rules Committee, and ask they support each bill when it comes up for a floor vote. Consider reminding legislators of any previous contact: Quaker Lobby Day and any other meetings, connections, or interactions you’ve shared. Make sure to mention you are part of the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy. You might also say you have been following the bills below because they support Quaker concerns for public safety, victim satisfaction and recovery, and treatment of prisoners that provides incentives and skills needed to be productive members of society when they are released. If one or more of these bills has some personal story or resonance with you, please mention that too. Thank you for supporting our FCWPP public policy work. If you would like more information about contacting your representatives, please feel free to call Tom Ewell (360) 341-1457. Additional details can also be found on the Bill Tracker attached to this Activist Alert. Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs; HB 1390) would substantially reduce the court costs and legal financial obligations, other than victim restitution, that released prisoners are required to pay. The bill would eliminate interest, set by law at 12%, on the non-restitution portion of LFOs, and permits courts to waive the non-restitution portion of the principal for offenders ruled indigent. Relief from this burden will help released prisoners reconstruct their lives and reduce recidivism. It will also improve public safety. Higher Education for prisoners in prison (HB 1704) would repeal Washington State’s law prohibiting state money from use for inmate post-secondary education. Studies show every $1.00 spent educating prisoners saves $20.13, primarily because it reduces recidivism. Mitigating the impacts of property crimes: Washington has the highest Property Crime rate in the nation (HB 1885 and SB 5755, which is in the Senate Rules Committee) would change policy regarding property crimes by increasing the focus on behavioral health treatment and services (mental health and drug treatment) and reinstituting community supervision to encourage or require participation in treatment when it is indicated. Experience in other states has shown this approach reduces crime and saves money. Restorative Justice (HB 1505) expands Restorative Justice practices (supported by a FCWPP initiated bill in 2012) for use with all juvenile cases except for sexual offenses and certain violent crimes. Restorative Justice practices look at crime as damage done to relationships and bring together offender, victim, family and community members in an effort to recognize and mend the damage caused by an offense, instead of focusing primarily, or exclusively, on punishing an offender. “Ban the Box” (HB 1701) would, with certain exceptions, prohibit an employer from inquiring about an applicant’s arrest or conviction history — such as by checking a box on an employment application — until after determining applicants met all other job qualifications. This is done to reduce the probability people with an arrest or conviction record are categorically excluded from employment. Decreasing the barriers to successful community participation by juveniles involved in our justice system (HB 1481). HB 1481 allows courts to seal juvenile records when restitution is still owed, if good faith effort is made to pay. It eliminates various LFOs and other fees for juveniles, including juvenile penalty assessment and interest on LFOs, and allows Courts to order community service in lieu of restitution for juveniles if a juvenile has insufficient funds to pay restitution and victim agrees. CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATORSRemember that legislator email addresses are all of the form: . For example, Frank Chopp’s email is . Need help identifying your legislators? ClickHERE.
Let us knowyou contacted your legislators by sending a copy (cc:) of your email to In addition to your direct involvement in advocacy, FCWPP needs your financial support to continue its work. Credit card contributions may be made online at https://qvwa.org, by clicking on the “Donate” button near the top of the page on the right. Directions for making contributions by check are also on the website. Because FCWPP is a lobbying organization, contributions are not tax deductible.