Legislative Update

I’ve taken Faith Action Network’s Report and boiled down the items that are of particular consequence for the incarcerated:
• I don’t see anything on LFO’s. That bill (legal financial obligations) was stuck in budgeting. We will have to see the budget to know if it made it all the way through.
• Mental Health Funding (about $40M) – Washington’s mental health system got funding for more staff, particularly at our state’s largest mental health hospital, to help provide better care and reduce the boarding of mentally ill people.
• Housing and Homelessness (about $13M, particularly to address youth homelessness)
• Post-Secondary Education in Prisons – Sen. Mike Hewitt was ‘bound and determined’ to see that, even though his bill (SB 6260, concerning post-secondary education in prisons) was stalled in the Senate, a proviso (amendment) that captured the essence of his bill got into the final budget that was adopted Tuesday night.
Please send him a thank you message for this effort: mike.hewitt@leg.wa.gov.
This proviso will only be in effect for the remaining year of this biennium.
• HB 1553 – Walkinshaw: known as the Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP) bill, will establish a program that will reduce the chance of someone coming out of our prison system to recidivate.
• HB 1682 – Fey: known as the Homeless Student Stability Act, will begin a voucher system in our public schools to give homeless students and their households more stability, therefore allowing them a better chance to succeed in school.
• SB 5342 – Hasegawa: known as the Human Trafficking Definition bill, will expand how our state legally understands human trafficking in terms of enforcement. Particularly, this defines human trafficking taking place not only in the sex industry but also in the labor industry. The state attorney general’s office will be a key focus for the implementation of this.
Please send a thank you email to the prime sponsors for any one or more of these bills.

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