Tough on crime? Not this legislature

Dear Neighbor,

Greetings! This week marked the house of origin cutoff for this session, where any bill must pass out of the body in which it was introduced to still be considered alive this session. The exceptions are bills necessary to implement our state’s capital, operating and transportation budgets.

We have spent the past few weeks on the floor, passing legislation and amendments. In total, the Senate has passed out of its chamber 323 bills so far this year. And I’ll be honest, not all of them have been good for the citizens of our state. This week alone, the Senate passed several pieces of legislation which dilute criminal accountability in our justice system. These are proposals which would negate the rights of the victim, tie the hands or our prosecutors and law enforcement, or simply ignore our federal laws.

SB 5497 – Would prohibit state agencies from using their resources to participate in federal registration programs based on immigration or citizenship status. We can all agree that there is a very real need for immigration reform, but it should be addressed at the federal level. This legislation would require our law enforcement to violate federal law by disallowing the information exchange with federal immigration agencies and would essentially make Washington a sanctuary state.

SB 5339 – Would repeal the death penalty. This leaves our correctional officers and inmates at risk and with no consequences for additional acts of violence. This also limits our prosecutors’ ability to negotiate with known murders to locate missing victims.  This session I introduced legislation that would require a death penalty review board be convened to review and make recommendations in cases where an incarcerated individual was accused of aggravated murder while in the custody of the Department of Corrections.  My bill did not receive a public hearing.

SB 5288 – Would alter our three strikes law by removing robbery in the second degree. It is important to remember that in most instances, this offense has been negotiated down from a more serious charge.

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