Rising prison populations and high recidivism (re-offense) rates affect all of us in terms of public safety and the best use of public funds. Two measures before the legislature developed by the Friends Committee and key allies will help ex-offenders become successful citizens once they are released. We and need your support to get them to a vote.
HB 1359 in the state house of representatives and SB 5611 in the senate will reduce the interest rate on monetary obligations included in criminal judgments from the current 12% to 2% points over the T-bill rate, currently about 4.5%. This lessens the demoralizing burden of ex-offender debt, and makes resources available for critical housing, treatment, and family support needs.
HB 1358 and SB 5339 allow a discharge of sentence and restoration of civil rights, including the right to vote, for offenders who have served all their time in prison and community custody (parole), and are doing all they can to pay their monetary obligations. This makes them eligible for future expungement of their records, helps reintegrate them into society, and facilitates employment, housing and other needed services Their monetary obligations continue to be enforceable by civil means.
These bills are currently in the Rules committee in each house. We need your help to get them to the floor, where we are confident they will pass. See strategy and background below.
When a bill has been heard by a policy or fiscal committee and reported out favorably, it goes to the Rules committee in each house for consideration as to whether to send it to the full house for a vote. Rules committee members take turns individually “pulling” bills from the eligible list to move them to the next stage for possible referral to the floor. Unless a bill is “pulled” on two different days, it cannot reach the floor. When it does reach the floor, the majority caucus and leadership then decide whether to calendar it for debate and vote. The final day for bills to be voted on and passed by the initial house is Wednesday, March 16. We need people to look over the following list of rules members, and make phone calls or send emails to members to urge them to pull these bills and send them to the floor for a vote. Please also look over the suggested strategy and message below.
If you have a Democratic legislator on the following list, please call their office or the legislative hotline at 800-562-6000, and ask them to please help pull both bills for floor action, giving them the numbers of the bills for their house. Tell them they are critical for ex-offender success in the community and the reduction of prison and criminal justice costs.
If you have a Republican legislator on the following list, please call their office or the legislative hotline at 800-562-6000, and ask them to please help pull the interest reduction bill, HB 1359 or SB 5611, for which the prime sponsor in the senate is Republican Luke Esser. Tell them the bill is critical for ex-offender success in the community—meaning less crime and fewer victims–and the reduction of prison and criminal justice costs. (Most Republicans are reluctant to support HB 1358 or SB 5339, the discharge bill, and wouldn’t consider pulling it, because it would help restore voting rights to ex-offenders, who they believe would vote against them).
Legislators can also be reached by e-mail. You can find your legislators’ e-mail addresses at:
If one or more of your legislators isn’t on this list (each district has 1 senator and 2 representatives), you may still want to call or email them to alert them to the importance of these bills, and ask them to urge their colleagues to move them out of Rules and to bring them to a vote, as well as otherwise supporting them.
House Rules Members:
Democrats: Speaker Frank Chopp, Chair, 43rd Dist; Brian Blake, 19th Dist; Judy Clibborn, 41st Dist; Dennis Flannigan, 27th Dist; Bill Grant, 16th Dist; Zack Hudgins, 11th Dist; Sam Hunt, 22nd Dist; Lynn Kessler, 24th Dist; John Lovick, 44th Dist; Dawn Morrell, 25th Dist; Alex Woods, 3rd Dist.
Republicans: Glenn Anderson, 20th Dist; Mike Armstrong, 12th Dist; Doug Ericksen, 42nd Dist; Joyce McDonald, 34thDist, Rodney Tom, 48th Dist.
Senate Rules Members:
Democrats: Rosa Franklin, 29th; Lisa Brown, 3rd; Mark Doumit, 19th; Tracey Eide, 30th; Karen Fraser, 22nd; Mary Margaret Haugen, 10th; Adam Kline, 37th; Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 36th; Craig Pridemore, 49th; Harriet Spanel,40th; Pat Thibaudeau, 43rd.
Republicans: Bill Finkbeiner, 45th; Luke Esser, 48th; Mike Hewitt, 16th; Jim Honeyford, 15th; Linda Parlette, 12th; Val Stevens, 39th; Joseph Zarelli, 18th.
Please send me an email to let me know of any calls you make on these issues, and send me a copy of any emails you send. Thanks.
FCWPP Criminal Justice Chair