March 10, 2013, 3:33 am

Key bills still under consideration by the state legislature

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March 9, 2013

FCWPP Alert: Key bills still under consideration by the state legislature. Please contact your legislators concerning these bills. Legislative action must be taken by 5:00 p.m. this coming Wednesday, March 13th to move a bill out of its house of origin; otherwise the bill will not be considered further this session.

Bills discussed in this report:

(Clicking the bill number in the index below will take you to the section in this report addressing that bill. Clicking the bill number in the section that describes the bill will take you to the Legislative Bill Report)

 

Criminal Justice Working Group

  • SHB 1096: Concerning Juvenile Weapons Crimes

  • HB 1429: Post-Secondary Education of Prisoners

  • HB 1338: Re-sentencing individuals given life without parole as juveniles

  • SB 5064: Re-sentencing individuals given life without parole as juveniles

Local Responses to Global Concerns Working Group

  • HB 1915: Implementing Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules

  • SB 5802: Implementing Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules

  • SB 5805: Fast-track provision to expedite permitting, reducing public comment

Oppose SHB 1096:
Takes away Judges ability to divert cases when juveniles illegally possess firearms

  • Existing law allows judges to require juveniles who illegally possess firearms to do time in detention centers or to divert the cases to alternatives such as family counseling, anger replacement training, restorative justice, or foster parenting.

  • SHB 1096 limits the number of times a judge can divert a case and mandates detention for repeat incidents.

  • Studies show detention increases alienation and increases the probability an individual will reoffend, while diversion has the opposite effect (see: Evidenced Based Alternatives ).

Action Needed: SHB 1096 is currently in House Rules. We hope it will not be voted out for a floor vote; however, we need to do all we can to provide Judges, Families, and Defense Attorneys every opportunity to thwart increasingly more dangerous criminal activities by supporting diversionary intervention whenever appropriate. We can not afford to tie the hands of the people who work most closely, on an individual basis, with juveniles making decisions that will shape their future lives and potentially have major impacts on the communities to which they belong.

Please contact both of your state representatives and ask they vote to oppose SHB 1096. Legislators’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses can be accessed through Find Your Legislator.

Support HB 1429:
Permit State Support for Post-Secondary Education of Prisoners

  • Eliminates the statutory provision that prohibits the Department of Corrections from paying for post-secondary education of prisoners.

  • Authorizes the DOC to implement post-secondary education programs within available resources, i.e., no new funds provided or requested.

  • Studies by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy have shown that for every dollar spent on education there is a benefit of $19 in terms of reduction of recidivism and victimization. (see: Education in Prison)

  • Additional educational opportunities will help offenders successfully re-integrate into their communities.

Action Needed: HB 1429 is currently in House Rules. Please contact both of your state representatives and ask they vote to support HB 1429. Legislators’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses can be accessed through Find Your Legislator.

Support HB 1338; Oppose SB 5064:
Re-sentencing Juveniles on Life without Parole

  • Last summer the Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile to life without the possibility of parole. This ruling was based, in part, on the fact the human brain is not fully developed until 25 years of age. Youths frequently make foolish decisions to commit heinous crimes without the benefit a fully functioning frontal lobe in their cerebral cortex. When sentenced to life in prison after some of the aforementioned crimes, youths literally go through puberty and become adults while in prison. The courts have said that once these kids grow up, we need to look at the adults they have become and decide whether there is good cause to continue their incarceration.

  • HB 1338 requires this second look occur after 20 years in jail.

  • SB 5064 waits another 10 years, and does not take a second look until 30 years have passed.

  • Neither of the two bills require release (i.e. juveniles sentenced under the laws created by these bills could remain in prison for life).

  • Based on all of the above, we encourage support for HB 1338. If the review panel decides there is no value created by continued incarceration after 20 years, the prisoner should be released. In addition, the public should not have to pay for another 10 years’ incarceration when keeping this person in prison does not increase public safety.

  • Contrariwise, if the person whose case is under review has failed to take advantage of opportunities to grow, or has not done the things needed to assure those considering whether to grant early release that the probability he will commit another crime is acceptably low, having the opportunity to inform the offender of this fact at 20 years makes good sense. Let’s not wait for 30 years to pass before telling someone he needs to make better use of education or treatment programs in the prison if he ever wants to get out.

Action Needed: HB 1338 is currently in House Rules. We expect it will be pulled to the House floor for a vote before cutoff. Call or email the two people who represent you in the House of Representatives and ask them to support HB 1338.

SB 5064 is currently in Senate Rules. We expect it will be pulled to the Senate floor for a vote before cutoff. Please contact your state senator and ask she vote to oppose SB 5064, then vote to support HB 1338 when it comes over from the House.

Legislators’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses can be accessed through Find Your Legislator.

Support SB 5802 and HB 1915:
Implementing Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules

  • SB 5802 and HB 1915 provide that an independent consultant be contracted to prepare an evaluation of approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

  • A Legislative Workgroup including the Governor would be formed, which will use the consultant’s evaluation and make a recommendation of a state program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that, if implemented, would achieve the state’s greenhouse gas emission limits.

Action Needed: We’ve been informed HB 1915 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Appropriates Committee on March 11th. Please contact committee members, especially if one represents your district, to ask they give HB 1915 “do pass” recommendation when it comes up for Executive Action.
House Appropriations Committee members’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses can be accessed through Appropriations Committee.
SB 5802 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee and needs to be pulled to the Senate Floor for a vote. Friends are encouraged to contact their senators (see: Find Your Legislator for contact information), and ask they vote to support SB 5802 when it comes to the floor. If your senator is a member of the Senate Rules Committee (see: Senate Rules Committee), you can also contact her or him and request he or she pull the bill from Rules.

Oppose SB 5805:
Fast-track Provisions to Expedite Projects like Coal Export Facilities

This bill changes the definition of projects of statewide significance and could:

  1. Permit expedited treatment for the proposed “pit to pier” gravel pit on Hood Canal.

  2. Allow fast-track permitting for mega-projects like coal export facilities in Bellingham and Longview, circumventing the public hearing process otherwise required. Given the more than 100,000 comments related to coal export facilities, which have already submitted for consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers, this “fast-track permitting” seems particularly inappropriate as it could apply to this project.

  • SB 5805 passage could increase coal trains going through our state and their attendant pollution. Amendments are being considered to limit this bill so that it might only support the proposed 1,000 foot conveyor belt for moving gravel on Hood Canal, without supporting coal trains (see: Hobbs Amendment ); however, the Hood Canal project also deserves the careful consideration of potential environmental impacts provide for under exiting law before it is approved.

Action Needed: Please contact your state senator and ask her to vote to oppose SB 5805. Legislators’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses can be accessed through Find Your Legislator.

Thanks for all you do.

 

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