SHB 1651: Youth Opportunities Act

We have been informed that SHB 1651 will be heard in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government on Weds, Jan. 29, at 3:30. It is important that, between now and then, people contact the legislators who sit on this committee to explain how important this bill is, and emphasize any positive fiscal impact you think it will have (increased employment, decreased criminal justice involvement, fewer juvenile records sealing cases, etc.). Since this committee is primarily concerned with the budget, the bottom line is that this is the bill that unanimously passed the House last year, only with substantially reduced (or nonexistent) fiscal impact. This is due to the later effective date which allows the courts to put these changes into their new IT system without cost.

SHB 1651 will make youth records confidential. Under current law, youth records are sold to background check companies before they even have a chance to seal their record. It is essentially pointless to do the work to seal your record if it has already been sold electronically to the world. Additionally, it takes 2-5 years to seal your record during that vulnerable time youth are transitioning to adulthood. An open record during this time prevents youth from getting jobs that are sustainable. Making their records confidential allows youth to be what they are – children. And leave their mistakes behind them moving forward into a future with an even playing field. One in three youth of color are arrested. This is a huge opportunity to move into justice and mercy.

Here are the members of the committee, with their connection to the YOA last year. Contact as many as you can!

 Zack Hudgins (D) (Chair): zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

Kevin Parker (R): kevin.parker@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

Vincent Buys (R): vincent.buys@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

Leonard Christian (R): leonard.christian@leg.wa.gov (New to the legislature)

Hans Dunshee (D): hans.dunshee@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

Sam Hunt (D): sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov (Sponsored bill)

Laurie Jinkins (D): laurie.jinkins@leg.wa.gov (Sponsored bill)

Larry Springer (D): larry.springer@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

David Taylor (R): david.taylor@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

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