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Friends Committee on
Washington State
Public Policy

A Quaker Organization

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Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (FCWPP)
P.O. Box 452 , Olympia WA 98507-0452
(206) 854-4444
[email protected]

FCWPP Steering Committee Legislative Report

January 12, 2005

The Washington State Legislature convened on Monday, January10, 2005, for its session of 105 days.  Your lobbyist Roger Kluck along with Dan Clark and others arrived at the Capitol campus with a developed agenda well underway.  We are excited about our opportunity to be a witness to Friends' testimonies among our elected officials in Olympia .  We are guided by the truth that there is “that of God” in each person, and that we are called to be advocates for the under-represented and under-valued in our society.

2005 Legislative Priorities

1.         Transition Reentry Reform: 

FCWPP will sponsor and support legislative efforts designed to assist re-entry and transition of people being released from prison.  This initiative focuses on how our State can reintegrate into the web of society offenders who have served their time and enhance their chances at becoming fully functioning members of their communities.  See FCWPP’s overview paper, "Reintegration or Recidivism of Released Persons in Washington State "  (dealing with transition planning and coordination, community reentry programs, education programs, vocational programs, chemical dependency treatment, practical preparation for release, legal financial obligations, and other legal barriers).

Dan Clark and Roger Kluck have gathered together an effective, engaged coalition and convened several meetings in Seattle and Olympia with allies and legislators.  As a result, we have two bills ready for submission.  The first bill reduces the interest rate on a released person’ s legal financial obligations (LFO).  The second addresses restoration of rights upon compliance with conditions other than LFO’s.  We have sponsors in the House for both bills and a Senate sponsor of our interest reduction bill.  We will be developing a special package of materials for enlisting Republican support, focusing on the position and heavy encouragement of the Bush administration in this area.

2.         Tax Structure Reform: 

We will review the current tax structure of our State, and urge lawmakers to create and pass progressive tax policy which distributes the burden of sustaining our common life with justice and equity, and not at the expense of the poor and vulnerable.  Washington State has the most regressive tax system in the country, with our low and middle income residents paying more than their fair share of taxes.  We are also facing a $1.6 billion budget shortfall in the 2005-07 biennium.

FCWPP will continue its involvement with allies in the Tax Fairness Coalition, providing a supporting voice and continue with educational outreach programs.  Continuing with last year’s approach, our primary focus will be to support regular review of tax exemptions, preferences, and credits to determine if they are meeting their intended goals and promoting public good.  We will also oppose repeals of the estate tax at the state level.

3.         FCWPP will also support efforts to:

  • Reduce hunger and poverty by preserving or increasing funding for vital social services including housing assistance, welfare spending, mental health services, GA-U (General Assistance to the Unemployed) program, and public health.
  • Urge exempting the mentally ill from death sentencing, or better yet, replace the death penalty with a mandatory life sentence without parole.

4.         We will also oppose efforts to:

  • Define marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.
  • Erode environmental protections.
  • Erode civil liberties.

5.         We will encourage Friends and like-minded people to participate through FCWPP and other legislative advocacy groups.

  • Call us or send us an email if you have any questions, comments or concerns.  If you have an issue in which you are willing to invest some time, we can help you find the right people, and you can help us with your voice and experience with the issue.  Our Activist Alert list continues to be our main method of communication.  Recipients and Meeting representatives are encouraged to print the alerts and bring them to the attention of their meetings. 
  • Visit or call your legislators.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.  Ask us if you would like our help in these activities.
  • Participate in a Legislative Advocacy Day sponsored by any of many different organizations.  For example, the Washington Association of Churches is sponsoring its annual Church Advocacy Day Gathering on Thursday, February 24 at the United Churches of Olympia (110 11th Ave SE), in Olympia, for a morning session; meetings with Legislators in the afternoon. Contact: [email protected].  A comprehensive listing of Advocacy Days and weekly updates on Legislative activities is also available at the UW’s Policy Watch page located at http://depts.washington.edu/sswweb/policyw/. 

We look forward to serving you and to your participation.

Thank you,

Deric Young
Legislative Committee Clerk
[email protected]