The Washington State legislative session began earlier this month, and many pieces of legislation are currently being considered by our representatives. YBB believes that the following bills will have the most impact on our students and their communities. We have put together a short overview for you so you can read more about these bills and decide if you’d like to support them:
HB 1093 and HB 1783, concerning legal financial obligations:
LFOs are financial penalties that trap incarcerated individuals and their families into cycles of poverty, debt, and re-incarceration. Help put an end to this practice. Read the bills and find out more here and here, and sign the ACLU Washington petition here.
HB1000/SB5000 and SB 5073/HB1529, concerning increased police accountability:
Washington’s restrictive law governing the use of deadly force by police in the US requires that a prosecutor prove malice and a lack of good faith by the officer in order to file criminal charges. This bill would amend the statutes, replacing the current standard which is nearly impossible to prove. Our Washington law is one of the most restrictive in the country, many states don’t even have this language. Read the bill and find out more here and here.
HB 1298 and SB 5312, the Washington Fair Chance Act, aka Ban the Box:
“Ban the Box” legislation would prevent employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position. Helping people get and keep jobs is vital to their successful reentry. Help put a stop to this discriminatory practice and reduce recidivism by supporting efforts to “ban the box.” Read the bill and find out more here. Note: this bill was passed in Seattle in 2013, help it move to the rest of the state!
SB 5155, concerning the suspension and expulsion of early learning youth:
If passed, this bill “prohibits a school district from suspending or expelling a student who is enrolled in grades kindergarten through two, except when the suspension is based on possession of a firearm on school premises or transportation.” Kindergarten through second grade–imagine how the criminal justice system would change if our youth were not criminalized at such a young age! Read the bill here and find out more here and here.
SB 5307, creating alternatives to total confinement for certain qualifying inmates with minor children.
HB 1704, concerning doula services for incarcerated women.
Did you know you can now can track bills through the legislative process online? Sign up to receive updates by email or text here (note: registration is required).
Contact your legislators and tell them what bills you support this session! Find your representatives here.
**Blog post written on 01/23/2017. For more updated information, please visit leg.wa.gov and follow us on Facebook, where we will be posting updates and calls to action.