On Tuesday the 12th the State Senate refused to concur with House-amended Senate Bill 6704 by a vote of 32-13. The bill was immediately returned to the House, which appears ready to stand firm on its amendments, which replaced all of the more carefully crafted language offered by prime sponsor Senator Adam Kline with language from House bills 2879 and 2416.
The bill can continue to move back and forth before session ends, and messages of appreciation are still needed, especially for the Senate leaders who opposed the amended bill. Brief messages work best Friends can be thankful that the death penalty was not expanded in this state and that due process and the rights of the accused remain intact in state law.
ACTION: Call, e-mail, or write these leaders with thanks for rejecting the House version of SB 6704:
Majority Leader, Sid Snyder 360-786-7636
Majority Caucus Chair, Harriet Spanel 360-786-7678
Majority Floor Leader, Betti Sheldon 360-786-7644;
Majority Whip, Tracey Eide 360-786-7658; Majority CaucusV.Chair, Ken Jacobsen 360-786-7690;
Senator Adam Kline, Chair of the Judiciary Committee lead the effort to see that we limit our response to the threat of terrorism to reasonable and necessary laws which preserve essential rights for all people. He represents the 37th Legislative District, which includes Rainier Valley, Madrona, South and East Beacon Hill, Rainier Beach, Mt. Baker, Leschi, Columbia City, southern Capitol Hill, and Skyway neighborhoods. If you live there, please make sure he hears from you with your thanks. Others from outside of his district should also take the time to call or write with thanks. Reach him at (360)786-7688;
Some Democratic leaders wanted the House version to pass; their names and contact info are omitted here.
HOUSE DRUG SENTENCING REFORM BILL PASSES OUT OF WAYS AND MEANS
Also Tuesday, House Bill 2338 finally passed out of Senate Ways and Means Committee and is headed for a Senate vote where it is expected to receive strong bi-partisan support. Earlier changes to this bill raised the $7.5 million annual spending cap applied to future savings from reduced incarceration of non-violent drug offenders by $750,000. The added amount will be used to provide transportation and childcare services to individuals in community treatment programs.
Many government programs beyond those in the Department of Corrections can anticipate future savings if the bill passes.
Successfully treated addicts show drastically lower recidivism rates for other crimes, reducing the impact on the courts. Community treatment outside of the Corrections system will result in fewer children entering foster care. Injury, hospitalization, and death from accidents caused by addicts under the influence of drugs will be reduced. There are estimates that as much as 10% of the total cost of state government is related to substance abuse, directly or indirectly. Inducing non-violent addicted offenders to seek treatment as an alternative to prison and thus beginning to treat addiction as a public health issue will not only save money, but will improve the lives of many.
ACTION: Call or e-mail your Senator ASAP urge them to VOTE YES when 2nd Substitute House Bill 2338, drug sentencing reform, reaches them. Thank your representatives if she or he voted for the bill in the House, listed in the Feb. 28th Alert. Call me if you need that list.
When calling, writing, or sending e-mail on any issue covered in the Alerts, please identify yourself as a Friend and as a member of FCWPP. Use http://dfind.leg.wa.gov/dfinder.cfm to find out who your legislators are. Go tohttp://www.leg.wa.gov/wsladm/ses.htm for extensive online information on legislators, legislation, our State Constitution and existing state law, among many other things. Call me if you need more info or help.
How to Contact Your Legislators:
Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or Write your Senator and representatives at:
PO Box 4048
Olympia, WA 98504-0482
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
On the web at: http://www.leg.wa.gov/ follow the link to the Senate or House, and click on your member’s name to get their e-mail address.