Monthly Archives: February 2019

Washington Senate votes to eliminate death penalty

February 15th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate today voted 28-19 to eliminate the death penalty in Washington law and replace it with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release or parole.

Senate Bill 5339, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), makes Washington statute consistent with a 2018 decision in which the state Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty as unconstitutional after ruling it was administered in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.

The court reached based its conclusion on statistical evidence showing significant county-by-county variation in decisions to seek or impose the death penalty. The court noted that African-American defendants were four-and-a-half times more likely to receive a death sentence than white defendants in similar cases.

“I have the deepest personal respect for how important this issue is for victims’ families and I’m so grateful for the reflection and grace of the dialogue in the Legislature,” said Carlyle, who has repeatedly sponsored legislation to end the death penalty in Washington over the last decade. “I’m pleased that our state is on the path toward joining the global movement toward abolishing the death penalty.

“Closing the books on this chapter in our state’s history is a responsible public policy step, given where the courts and our state have come, and this measure solidifies our statute in a way that makes it clear and unequivocal for years to come. After working on this issue for so long, I’m pleased and incredibly humbled that the state Senate has taken this important step forward.”

The bill will now proceed to the House of Representatives.

Washington’s death penalty law, enacted in 1981, had not been enforced since 2014, when Gov. Jay Inslee placed a moratorium on state executions. Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia have abolished the death penalty, and gubernatorial moratoria are in place in three more states.

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    Senate committee unanimously approves consumer data privacy act

Senate committee unanimously approves consumer data privacy act

February 14th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee today unanimously recommended passage of the Washington Privacy Act, one of the nation’s strongest privacy protection measures based on global standards to strengthen consumer access and control over personal data held by companies and the government.

The comprehensive act, Senate Bill 5376, reflects central elements of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and gives Washington residents meaningful tools to determine how their personal data is used and shared. It also sets out steps companies must take to prevent practices that might compromise the security of personal information and limits how companies and law enforcement can use facial recognition technology to ensure it is not irresponsibly deployed.

“We’re extremely proud that it was a unanimous vote, Democrats and Republicans coming together to recognize that consumer privacy is essential and that data belongs to individuals,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), the bill’s sponsor and the chair of the committee.

“As the home of Microsoft, Amazon and other leading technology companies, we think about the deployment of technology in a global sense,” Carlyle said. “The GDPR is the emerging global standard on consumer data privacy protection and this act combines elements of that with best practices and lessons learned from around the United States and around the world. We’ve had the support of some of the most important companies and citizen activists in the country, and we think that this act can become a national standard for other states to consider.”