It is quiet right now in the Legislature, which makes it the perfect time to reach out to our Representatives and Senators and let them know what is important to us.See leg.wa.gov site for their contact information. I am suggesting three issues that may resonate with JUUstice Washington members. This list is one guy’s best guess of those few priorities that have-
- had some traction in the 2000 - 2019 legislatures;
- been or currently are priorities for our justice allies, and
- have precedent in other states or jurisdictions.
- Clean Fuel Standards - 2019 House Bill 1110 - Passed the House, Active in the Senate
- Mitigation measures to preserve the Southern Resident Orcas - Supported by the Governor and an active issue in 2019
- Eliminate Cash Bail in Washington State - Cash Bail imprisons the poor, who cannot post bail from family resources.
Legislative Advocacy Action Team
Patrick O'Connor, Director of Thurston County Public Defense, will discuss new developments in the Thurston County justice system. These include bail reform as a part of a new risk-assessment tool for pretrial release; the First Look project that evaluates diversion potential for new arrestees; ICE arrests and the Keep Washington Working Act; and planning for an LFO Reconsideration Day. When: Monday, Nov. 18th, 7:00pm Where: Olympia UU Congregation, Olympia WA Sponsored by Justice not Jails.
On a given day in Washington State, up to 50% of the people in county jail are there because they are poor. Cash bail enforces a guilty until proven innocent structure on the poor. It does not have to be this way. According to 2019 studies by the Washington State Auditor, bail alternative services in Yakima and Spokane counties showed the following:
The benefits to those detained because they cannot afford bail are important. Several studies show people who stay in jail before trial often have worse outcomes in their legal cases, even after accounting for factors like criminal history. Multiple studies in different places show remaining in jail before trial increases the probability of conviction, guilty pleas and jail sentences, including longer sentences.JUUstice Washington supported bail reform in the 2019 legislature, but we were not successful at passing the bills. This issue may stand a better chance in the 2020 if we ask our legislators to pay attention to common sense solutions. Kelly Thompson
Pretty impressive document. Issued by the Office of Program Research Washington House of Representatives and published on April 29, 2019. Read more here . . .