House Bill 2879 creating new terrorism crimes and expanding the death penalty, and House Bill 2416 greatly expanding wiretap authority in anti-terrorism investigations, passed the House with large majorities in mid-February. HB 2879 was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday the 28th. Chairman Kline did not let the bill out of Committee, killing it. But the bill has many supporters on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Rotunda. House members have resurrected the language in the two original House bills and have replaced language in Senate Bill 6704 — a much more moderate
anti-terrorism bill that Senator Kline originally sponsored — with the harsher House language.
ACTION: Call your Representatives, ask them to Vote NO on Senate Bill 6704, when it gets to the House Floor. Tell them you support using existing laws to investigate and prosecute terrorism.
Of concern to Friends in the anti-terrorism bill is the creation of a new capital crime Terrorism in the First Degree, punishable by death. Existing laws can and have been used against terrorists, including Timothy McVeigh. It is already illegal to kill people, to bomb buildings, to destroy property, and to intimidate people. The wiretap bill would seriously weaken Washington State¹s strong constitutional privacy provisions. Under current state law, before the police can get required judicial authorization they must show there is probable cause to believe use of the wiretap will lead to evidence of a crime. Under the federal law, police need only certify that information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. In some cases, local authorities could declare an emergency and proceed without
a judicial order. Evidence of unrelated crimes obtained during investigation of suspected terrorism could be used under the new law.
Parts of the wiretap bill bring Washington State much closer to new Federal laws contained in the Patriot Act, some of which closely resemble provisions allowing the government to conduct surveillance on citizens that were removed after Senator Joseph McCarthy¹s efforts to identify Communists were finally rebuked. If new language defining weapons of mass destructions is needed, or if laws to allow sharing of information between different branches of law enforcement are needed, they should be specifically addressed without the added risk these laws carry.
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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.
Friends Committtee on Washington State Public Policy
P.O. Box 452
Olympia, WA 98507-0452
360 556-2584 cell
360 943-2503 home
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 member¹s name to get their e-mail address.
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