YOUR VOICE NEEDED IN OLYMPIA!
State Legislators need to hear from you on several pieces of legislation that have survived initial deadlines for passage.
Immediate action is required on a package of “anti-terrorism” bills that resemble aspects of the Patriot Act passed by Congress at the Federal level. Here in Washington State, House Bill 2879 would define new terrorism crimes, House Bill 2416 would expand wiretap authority, and House Bill 2411 would restrict access to government records.
ACTION: Call your Representatitves about House Bills 2879, 2416, and 2411* and urge them toVOTE NO.
Existing statutes can address the dangers identified in them. Nothing in these bills would have prevented the events of 9/11.
Call your Representatives as soon as possible to oppose these bills. They may vote as early as Saturday. If they have voted by the time you can respond to this alert, urge your Senator to vote against these bills when they reach the Senate.
Friends should be particularly concerned about HB 2879. It would define several new serious crimes ostensibly associated with terrorism, all of which can be prosecuted under existing statutes. It would create a new crime subject to the death penalty, extending it for the first time in our state to unintentional death.
House Bill 2416 will allow too much invasion of privacy and may be unconstitutional under the strict privacy nights provisions of the state constitution. It could result in many people involved in non-violent protest being caught in the web of terrorism investigations. This bill was requested by the Governor and the Attorney General; call their offices as well to express concern. Governor Gary Locke (360) 902-4111, Washington State Attorney General Christine Gregoire 360-753-6200.
Drug Sentence Reform
FCWPP’s key issue this session is the Drug Sentence Reform bill
ACTION: Call your Representatives and urge them to VOTE YES on 2nd Substitute House Bill
2338, revising sentences for drug offenses.
2nd Substitute HB2338 has a companion bill, Substitute Senate Bill 6361, in the Senate.
The House Bill may be voted on as early as Monday or Tuesday. In addition to your representative (see below forresources to identify your legislators) please commend sponsors Ruth Kagi (D, 32nd district) and co-sponsor Ida Ballasiotes (R, 41st District), also House Criminal Justice & Corrections Chairman Al O’Brien (D, 1st District).
ACTION: Call Representative Ruth Kagi (pronounced K- ghee) 360 786-7910, Representative Ida
Ballisiotes ( “Bal-i-sho-tes”) 360 786-7926, and Representative Al O’Brien 360 786-7928, to thank them for their efforts on behalf of drug sentencing reform and House Bill. Identify yourself as a Friend and member of FCWPP.
The bill reduces sentences for minor non-violent drug offenses and directs savings from less incarceration into treatment, both in the Dept of Corrections and in community-based facilities. Stress these points:
>Treatment works, even if involuntary. Incarceration hasn’t, and is very costly. In many places 5 or
more addicts can be treated for the same cost as incarcerating 1 inmate, with much better results in
terms of recidivism and recovery.
>Treatment is not get-out-of-jail free. It is demanding, and holds offenders accountable.
>The 12 Drug Courts now in operation across the state have broad support from the criminal justice
community (as does this bill) including judges, prosecutors, treatment agencies, and corrections
officials, and are critical to an individual’s success in overcoming addiction and leading drug- and
crime-free lives. More Drug Courts are needed and funding for existing Drug Courts needs to be
expanded, both of which would be accomplished by enacting this legislation.
>Preserving the funding in the bill is critical. It passed the House Appropriations Committee with a
$7.5 million cap (should annual savings exceed that level they would revert to General Fund)
required by leadership. No further cuts are acceptable, especially in light of the severe cuts in the
Governor’s budget for existing treatment facilities. Estimates of the need for treatment statewide
extend beyond $30 million per year.
>$9 million is in the Capital Budget to study and plan a new Correctional Facility at Coyote Ridge in
eastern Washington. If built, this facility will cost about 1/3 of a billion dollars. Drug sentence reform
and treatment will reduce the need for new facilities. Ask your legislator to postpone this year’s
funding for Coyote Ridge to be used elsewhere in this time of need.
In general, during this difficult time of limited state resources, express support for preserving as much funding as possible for basic need programs, especially those social services programs that are preventative in nature. Express a willingness to spend down the “rainy-day” reserve to the $100 billion dollar level. It’s raining. Intimate a desire to fix the state’s tax structure so that we are not so prone and vulnerable when basic needs go up during economic downturns. Thank them for their hard work.
Identify yourself as a Friend and as a member of FCWPP. My effectiveness will be enhanced if legislators hear from people in their districts who respond to our issues.
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.
If you don’t have Web access, or need more info or help on these or other issues, call meat 360 556-2584. I would appreciate hearing from Friends.
Friends Committee 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 senators and representative 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 member’s name to get their e-mail address.
Note: You have received this alert because you are on the emailing list of the Friends Committee on
Washington State Public Policy http://www.quaker.org/fcwpp/. If you have questions, please contact Alan Mountjoy-Venning, FCWPP Lobbyist, at email@example.com or by calling 360 556-2584. If you wish to be removed from this list, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* For text of House and Senate bills, click on Access Washington look for the House and Senate “Bills” link.