We can all celebrate the passage in both houses of the state legislature of not one but two of the criminal justice bills that we have worked on for at least the past ten years
An Independent Corrections Ombuds (HB 1889) passed the Senate last week on a 48 to 0 vote! Because of some amendments in the Senate, this version will have to be returned to the House for final passage, and then sent to the Governor for his signature. For the roll call in the Senate, see: http://apps2.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1889&Year=2017&BillNumber=1889&Year=2017#rollCallPopup
Reform of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) for persons released from prison (HB 1783) also passed the Senate, with a 32 to 17 vote! There were no amendments in the Senate, so the bill is expected to move directly to the Governor, for his signature. For the roll call in the Senate, see: http://apps2.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1783&Year=2017&BillNumber=1783&Year=2017#rollCallPopup
If your legislators voted for these bills, this is a wonderful opportunity to thank them for their support (see above for the roll calls). And thanks are due to our Legislative Advocate, Noah Martin.
Passage of the ombuds bill is especially satisfying, because this year Quaker Voice played a leadership role in the coalition for the ombuds effort.
Unfortunately, SB 6052 to abolish the death penalty, after passing the Senate on a close and dramatic vote, was not brought to a vote in the House. But the experience of passage in one house this year can offer a firm foundation for consideration next year. Our experience culminating with passage last week of the Ombuds and LFO bills after so many years of effort demonstrates that persistence pays off!
And thank you for all the support, enumerable emails, and phone calls you have made to legislators over the years!
Quaker Voice Criminal Justice Working Group