Jan. 19, 2002 Olympia Friends Meeting House
Attending: Jonathan Brown, Susan Campbell, Dan Clark, Alan Mountjoy-Venning, Ruth Yarrow, Deric Young
1. Administrative Matters
a) Leglink: This service costs $88 per month. Alan will assess if it is worth the cost and report back to the committee at the end of the legislative session.
b) Third House: The cost to be a member is $75, which provides Alan with a badge and contact with other lobbyists.
c) Lobbyist Registration: Dan and Alan are registered lobbyists and Deric is currently applying.
d) Other: The Legislative Committee will evaluate Alan’s performance. The Steering Committee as a whole will deal with administrative matters and is Alan’s employer.
2. Legislative Program
a) Economic Justice. Friends appreciated the presentation last night on cutback in the much needed public resources; Alan was one of the presenters. Deric will head our efforts on tax reform, aiming for an adequate and equitable revenue system. While there will probably be no bill alerts on tax reform this session, FCWPP will study the issues and will participate in the Advisory Group for the State Legislature’s Tax Structure Study Committee. Other economic justice issues include public transportation, and maintaining social services.
b) Criminal Justice. FCWPP has supported sentencing guidelines recommendations that would reduce the prison population. We also aim to reduce drug sentences, releasing funds for treatment — ultimately aiming to achieve decriminalization of drug use by treating it as a public health problem with treatment provided for those who need it. Dan reported that our efforts last year have not all been introduced as legislation but did result in proposed legislation that would reduce drug sentencing from level 8 to level 7 on the sentencing grid, shortening the sentence for dealing heroin and cocaine, and use the savings to fund community treatment programs. The current legislation would also eliminate triple-scoring. These bills are HB 2338*, which will come before the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee on Tues. Jan 22 at 10 a.m., and as SB 6361*, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thurs. Jan. 24, at 10 a.m. A bill calling for a moratorium on the death penalty will come up before the legislature again, but has little chance of passing. However, Europe’s pressure on the US to end the death penalty is a hopeful sign. FCWPP is a partner with the WA Coalition to End the Death Penalty. House Bill 2202*, another good bill with little chance of passing, would shut the gun show loophole for gun buyers.
a) Meetings. The next in person Legislative Committee meeting will be at Quarterly Meeting, April 26, 7 p.m., at Lazy F, Ellensburg. The following one will be at fall Quarterly. In between we will communicate by conference call.
b) Alerts. Alerts have to be timely but our Committee needs to be sensitive to the growing information glut and the need to respond to the interests of the 100 on our activist list — and the close to 700 households in the Yearly Meeting. We agreed (as did the Steering Committee subsequently) that approving and sending out alerts is the task of the Legislative Committee. If there are difficult questions, the Executive Committee would be consulted. If there is time pressure, any member of the Executive Committee is recognized as a moderator and can make the decision to send out an alert. Dan and Ruth are currently on the Executive Committee.
c) Other. The threatened closure of the WA State Library was a concern. Another is the threat to environmental and public health from the nuclear wastes at Hanford, heightened by a recent memo from the US Dept. of Energy eliminating vitrification of high-level radioactive waste (the best treatment known) for 75% of the nation’s high-level stockpile. Ruth will send out an alert soon, since hearings will take place in Seattle, Portland and the Tri-Cities next week.
Submitted by Ruth Yarrow