FCWPP Legislative Priorities for the 2010 Session

Approved by Steering/Legislative Committee, 1-09-2010

Primary Priorities

Criminal Justice: Sentencing Reform. The long-term goal is to reform both the nature of sentencing and sentencing review, reducing the prison population. Specific efforts will include advocacy of a sentencing review board, reductions in sentence lengths, continuation and/or expansion of earned release, ending the sentence of life without the possibility of parole for juveniles, and placing all 3-strikers under the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board. FCWPP will continue to coordinate with the Three Strikes Reform consortium, which may shift to a broader view that includes sentencing review in general.

Drug Reform. Building on the Minute on the War on Drugs by the North Pacific Yearly Meeting, we seek the decriminalization of drugs such as marijuana and the replacement of the War on Drugs as far as practical with regulation and a public health model. Such an effort would help address the large number of persons incarcerated by minor drug offenses, such as possession of marijuana, as well as the larger issue of the ineffectiveness and damage to human lives of the War on Drugs. Request that the Washington Institute for Public Policy Research investigate the possible savings from decriminalization of marijuana.

Economic Justice, including Health Care. Support adequate funding for programs such as General Assistance Unemployable (GAU) and the Basic Health Plan (BHP) that address needs of those who are marginalized. Reestablish Working Group on Economic Justice. Oppose Initiative 1033, which would undercut funding for such programs. Support expiration of I-960, which requires a two-thirds majority to raise taxes, and adoption of new funding methods for state programs such as an income tax.

Voting Rights and Re-entry of Former Prisoners. Seek effective implementation of the Voting Rights Restoration Act and the housing vouchers provision – both passed in 2009, as well as the Re-entry bill 6157 enacted in 2007. Explore the opportunity opened by Appeals Court ruling that felons cannot be denied the vote while in prison. Other approaches include tax breaks for employers providing jobs to ex-prisoners.

Other issues to monitor and/or research

Restorative Justice. This is being investigated by a Working Group set up for that purpose. Efforts are underway to work with local officials to implement pilot programs and to convene a group of legislators to explore this changed paradigm for criminal justice. Request that the Washington Institute for Public Policy Research explore possible savings.

Environment: Local Responses to Global Challenges. Large and small transit agencies across the state are facing drastic budget shortfalls. We support increased transit funding to replace funding lost under Initiative 695, increase direct contribution to transit and other multi-modal programs, and provide local options for transit systems across the state. We also support a Complete Streets program which accommodates all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit systems, along with a program of Incentives for Transit-Oriented Communities, where compact, walkable design and policies play a crucial role in meeting our state’s greenhouse gas emissions goals.

Prison Closures. Advocate that the State Reformatory at Monroe not be chosen for closure (it is accessible by inmates’ families and prison volunteers and has more programs than any other prison in the system).

Post-secondary Education for Prisoners. Our long-term goal is to get higher education programs back into the prison system because of their beneficial effect on reducing violence on the inside and recidivism on the outside.

Prison Impact Statements. Bills proposing increases in sentencing would require a statement of financial impact, highlighting the high cost of increased incarceration.