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Restorative and Criminal Justice Issues for Lobby Day – 2/21/2011

Restorative Justice.  Restorative justice brings together all the people affected by a particular offense to provide an opportunity for the offender to accept responsibility, acknowledge the harm done, and for all to come to agreement about how to best make right any wrongs. HB 1775/SB 5706: Encouraging juvenile restorative justice programs.  The bill provides agencies the option of referring cases to restorative justice programs as part of counsel and release for juveniles with no priors and charged with non-violent offenses involving less than $50.  Extensive evaluations document the effectiveness of restorative justice programs, resultingin reduced recidivism, reduced fear and anger reported by victims, and families supported and strengthened.  Identical bills (prime sponsored by Rep. Goodman and Sen. Harper) have been approved by both House and Senate Committees.  Referred to Rules Committee in the House and likely to Senate Rules in the Senate. Sentencing Reform.  Makes it possible for offenders to…

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Economic Issues for Lobby Day! 2/21/2011

Economic Justice:  Support funding for Basic Health Plan (BHP), Disability Lifeline, Apple Health for Kids, and Take Charge family planning.  The House and Senate have approved the conference committee report for the supplementary budget (ESHB1086) that runs through of June of 2011.  BHP and other programs will be kept, but enrollments are reduced.  The crucial issue now is support and funding for the coming biennium.  Efforts to provide the needed funds include HB 1847/SB 5816 (prime sponsored by Rep. Cody and Sen. Chase, respectively), which would eliminate tax exemptions for banks on mortgage interest, cosmetic surgeries, privately owned aircraft, and coal use for power generation.  Referred to Ways & Means in each chamber; no action yet.  A referendum may be needed because a 2/3 majority is needed to eliminate tax exemptions via a legislative vote.  A more general bill for tax exemption reform is HB 1889 (sponsored by Rep. Hasegawa).

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Local Responses to Global Challenges: Increased opportunities for Clean Air – Feb 11

Department of Ecology assertions the state is not doing enough to clean its air has potentially increased support for HB 1825 that would create a Coal Free Future for Washington by forcing TransAlta to quit burning coal by 2015, ten years earlier than currently required by an outstanding gubernatorial order. (For more details on the Department of Ecology report click here.) Concerns remain about the impact terminating coal-fired power production will have on the Lewis County economy. The 1:30 pm hearing scheduled for Tuesday, February 15th in the House Environmental Committee has been confirmed. Friends, and friends of Friends can show support for HB 1825 by contacting House Environment Committee members. Click here for a list of committee members. Members’ email addresses follow the following format: first name.last so that Environment Committee Chair Dave Upthegrove’s email address is . Still no action on HB 1320 or SB 5238: Washington Investment…

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Criminal Justice: creating alternatives – Feb 11

Abolition of Death Penalty considered 5th District Senator Cheryl Pflug is reported to be considering whether to vote in favor of SB 5456, which replaces the death penalty with life without parole. The bill was heard Wednesday, February 9th and is believed to have sufficient support to get voted out of committee if Senator Pflug decides to support it. If you live in the 5th District, we encourage you to contact Senator Pflug via email (Click here). Please write a short message explaining your opposition to the death penalty and encourage the senator—as your representative—to vote in favor of SB 5456 to replace the death penalty with life without parole. If you know someone who lives in the 5th District—Issaquah, Sammamish, Hobart, Maple Valley, and part of Renton—encourage that person to contact Senator Pflug in support of SB 5456. You can also call Senator Pflug at 360-786-7608, although, email is…

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Economic Justice: Access to health care – Feb. 11

The Budget and Policy Center documented the cost of tax loopholes and suggests a five-point strategy to reduce these costs and to generate additional revenue needed to fund vital services our state has historically provided to help keep everyone healthy. Click here for a summary of the paper.  The League of Education Voters put together an on-line calculator which lists the budget reductions that can be gained by cutting various services state residents currently rely on, and lists several ways to increase revenue to minimize the cuts required to balance the budget. Click here to test your hand at creating a budget. The proposal (HB 1738) to transfer purchase and coordination of Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program health benefits from DSHS to the Health Care Authority was considered this past week. It is hoped this increased administrative and purchasing coordination will result in increased savings. No action was…

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