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Statement on Domestic Partner benefits–Referendum 71

The Friends Committee on Washington State Public Policy (FCWPP) recommends approval of Referendum 71, affirming the adoption of SB 5688 by the Washington State Legislature in 2009 to extend to domestic partners all of the legal benefits afforded to married persons. Background: SB 5688 was adopted by the 2009 Washington State Legislature with the intent that for all purposes under state law, state registered domestic partners must be treated the same as married spouses. Agencies must amend their rules to reflect the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all privileges, immunities, rights, benefits, or responsibilities granted or imposed by statute to an individual because that individual is or was a spouse in a marital relationship are granted or imposed on equivalent terms to an individual because that individual is or was in a state registered domestic partnership. The terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and…

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Ask the Governor to sign the Voting Rights bill

Friends, With the House concurrence today, both the Senate and the House have now passed the Voting Rights Restoration bill HB 1517 in the same form, so it goes to the Governor. Please contact Governor Chris Gregoire to say that she has your support for signing this bill into law. You can leave her a message through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or through her office at 360-902-4111. Despite an unfortunate amendment added in the Senate, this bill is a major advance in democratic rights for thousands and thousands of ex-prisoners who have completed all supervision by the Department of Corrections. Helping them feel that they have a stake in a democratic society is part of their becoming productive citizens and not returning to prison. Thanks for all your help! Sam Merrill, Clerk, Legislative Committee Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy

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Alert: Contact your Senator to support Voting Rights Restoration without amendments

FCWPP Alert: Please contact your State Senator to support Voting Rights Restoration without amendments Friends, Sen. Mike Carrell will likely offer an amendment to the Voting Rights Restoration bill (HB 1517) specifying that voting rights would be revoked if an ex-prisoner failed to keep up payment for restitution. Despite all that Sen. Carrell has done in the past to help ex-prisoners rebuild their life in society, this amendment is highly undesirable because: 1) The amendment would destroy the "clear bright line" concerning who can and cannot vote. This clear bright line is a principal rationale for the bill and the reason that the Secretary of State supports the bill. 2) There is legal opinion (from the ACLU) that the amendment's provision would be unconstitutional. 3) The amendment would be discriminatory against those with less means. The Voting Rights Restoration bill (HB 1517) is expected to come before the State Senate for a…

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Please contact fence-sitting Senators about Voting Rights Restoration

FCWPP Alert! - Contact Senators whose vote on Voting Rights Restoration is uncertain HB 1517, the voting rights restoration bill -- having passed the House -- is now in the Senate. We thank all of you who contacted the Senate Leadership asking that the bill be approved for a floor vote. Assuming it does make it to the floor for a vote, we need to be ready with enough votes for it to pass. It is crucial for passage in the Senate for constituents to contact Senators whose expected vote on voting rights restoration is uncertain and seek to convince them to support HB 1517. If you live in the district of one of the following Senators, your call or email is especially needed: Sen. Chris Marr (D-6) Sen. Paull Shin (D-21) Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-23) Sen. Rosa Franklin (D-29) Sen. Jean Berkey (D-38) Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40) Sen. Fred Jarrett(D-41) Sen. Randi Becker (R-2)…

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Urge Senate Leadership to bring Voting Rights Restoration to a Vote

Now that HB 1517, which would restore voting rights to ex-felons who have completed all supervision under the Department of Corrections, has passed the House, it is up to the Washington State Senate to complete the job. The bill passed out of the Senate Government Operations and Elections Committee on Monday and is now in the Senate Rules Committee. The next step is for the Rules Committee to approve HB 1517 and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote, an action that depends primarily on the Senate Leadership. Thus, the most pressing action needed from us at the moment is to contact the four members of the Senate Leadership (regardless of what district one lives in) and urge them to bring HB 1517 to a vote on the floor (see contact information below). Sen. Lisa Brown (Majority Leader): (360) 786-7604Sen. Ed Murray (Majority Caucus Chair): (360) 786-7628 Sen. Tracey Eide (Majority Floor Leader): (360)…

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