Monthly Archives: January 2014

Darneille bill would collect DNA from felony arrestees

January 31st, 2014|

The Senate Law & Justice Committee today heard a bill that would require DNA samples to be collected from all adult ranked felony arrestees in the State of Washington. (Senate Bill 6314).

“This bill is about justice and ensuring that victims of violence, women, children and the vulnerable are protected,” said Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, the bill’s sponsor. “We can’t stop all the unthinkable things that happen, however, this bill would be a critical step in solving crimes and helping prevent others from being victimized.”

Under the bill, DNA samples would be collected at the time of booking from any adults arrested for a ranked felony offense or selected gross misdemeanor offenses. (Examples include violation of protection orders related to domestic violence, sexual assault, marital dissolution, child custody disputes, abuse of vulnerable adults or a foreign protection order.)

The DNA sample would not be opened or analyzed by a Washington State Patrol Crime Lab technician unless judicial findings of probable cause were established. The sample would then be uploaded to the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The only information that is added to CODIS is the originating lab identifier, a randomly generated specimen number, 13 genetic markers that do not contain any medical information other than gender, and an identifier for the lab analyst. If the court does not affirm probable cause, the untested sample would be destroyed.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Darneille unsuccessfully sponsored a bill addressing this issue. When asked why that is, Darneille said that there is a concern among some lawmakers that there is constitutional doubt as to whether or not DNA collection upon arrest is a legal search under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and Article VII of the Washington State Constitution.

The United States Supreme Court weighed in on this issue in June 2013 in its ruling of Maryland v King. The majority opinion states that “taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

“I was ready to sponsor the bill last year, but wanted to wait on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. With that in our favor, we have the technology and the means to use DNA as another law enforcement tool,” said Darneille, now in the second year of her first term as a senator. “I expect that, if passed, this law would face its own legal challenge in our state. I believe however, it is a conversation worth having and a law worth passing. We would gain so much if we moved forward with this legislation to reduce violent crimes against women and children, solve cold cases, exonerate the innocent, and identify and hold accountable the people who commit these heinous crimes.”

Studies of states that have passed similar DNA collection upon arrest laws show higher numbers of direct matches between DNA collected and entered into the national system and the number of crimes that have been solved as a result. Darneille’s bill would make Washington the 28th state in the country to adopt this type of law.

“If, in our state, we can pass this law and protect women, children, the elderly and the vulnerable,” said Darneille, “we will have tipped the scales of justice in favor of those who have been wronged.”

Darneille meets with LYAC representative

January 27th, 2014|

Sen. Jeannie Darneille met with the 27th district Legislative Youth Advisory Council representative Hannah Fumiko Russ in her office.

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    Darneille bill will give cities tool to provide low-income housing

Darneille bill will give cities tool to provide low-income housing

January 22nd, 2014|

As the need for low-income housing continues to rise, a Senate bill is would turn abandoned and unused buildings into safe and secure homes.  Ian Cope reports.  (TRT: 1:02) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

SCRIPT

There are few things more ironic than a homeless man or woman sitting on the steps of a boarded up building.  A bill proposed this week in the Washington State Senate would seek to give those men and women a place to call home.  Tacoma Sen. Jeanne Darneille is sponsoring a bill to give cities the opportunity to donate properties that have been foreclosed to non-profit groups to renovate and turn into low-income housing.  Washington’s 39 counties already have that ability and the bill will simply extend that right to local communities.  Darneille says the need for such action grows greater every day.

Sen. Darneille (TRT: 18) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “The number of homeless families in our state is continuing to rise and local communities options for helping them have not risen at the same degree, so we have a growing number of children who are living with their families in cars, couch-surfing with family members and friends.”

Along with providing housing, Darneille says she is hopeful that trade organizations and community and technical colleges may also be contracted with to provide on-the-job training or apprenticeships for men and women training for construction or contracting work.

Darneille meets with NAMI members

January 20th, 2014|

Sen. Jeannie Darneille today met with constituents and members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in her office.

Darneille meets with Planned Parenthood Teen Council

January 20th, 2014|

Sen. Jeannie Darneille today met with members of the Planned Parenthood Teen Council.

Week One Legislative Update – Jan. 15, 2014

January 17th, 2014|

Dear neighbor:

To all of you who joined in on the 2014 telephone town hall meeting last week, thank you! We had a peak attendance of over 1,200 people, and most of the time had over 300 people on the line. Although we were not able to answer all the questions, we hope that it was informative. The telephone town hall is one of the many options we utilize to communicate with you: Watch for an announcement of our annual in-person Town Hall meeting, usually held on a Saturday in February at a public location in the district, and constituent coffee hours during the interim. 

Pictured above L to R: Sen. Jeannie Darneille, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Jake Fey answer questions during the telephone town hall.

This week kicks off the 2014 legislative session. Sessions in even-numbered years are shorter, just 60 days. Despite the shorter session, we will still have a number of contentious issues to grapple with in these coming weeks.

Unfinished business from 2013

This year, the Legislature will be considering two key pieces of legislation that failed to pass in the Senate last year.

The Washington State Dream Act would allow the children of illegal immigrants raised here in Washington to be eligible to apply on an equal basis for financial aid at Washington colleges and universities. These students have grown up here, paid taxes here and gone to school here, and now they want to access to be eligible for higher education so they can develop their skills and contribute to our economy and society.

The Dream Act has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Last year, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House. In the Senate last year, Rodney Tom and the Republicans voted to block it from coming to the floor for a vote. We are hopeful that we’ll pass the bill in 2014.  This bill passed the House on the opening day of Session.  

The Reproductive Parity Act would protect a woman’s right to choose by making sure that her insurance covers pregnancy termination services. Making sure that women, and not their insurance companies, have the freedom to make their own medical decisions is a vital and fundamental safeguard for women. Like the Dream Act, the Reproductive Parity Act passed the House on a bipartisan vote last year but similarly got stuck in committee in the Senate. 

Work on transportation continues

One of the most contentious issues of the 2014 session will be whether or not to make new investments in transportation infrastructure. Our transportation system is in dire need of new investment to complete major important projects, maintain our roads and bridges, and support additional new infrastructure for transit and safe streets for pedestrians. A transportation package would create up to 85,000 much-needed jobs and make key improvements that would benefit our economy for decades to come. At the same time, we need to make sure that any package respects and reflects local priorities and needs. Here in Pierce County the completion of Highway 167 is critical.

Work will continue on this subject to see if we can come to agreement on a plan that works for Washington. The next step must be for Senate Republicans to produce and pass a plan that can then be reconciled with the package already passed by the House. I will keep you updated on new developments.

Supreme Court calls for more K-12 funding

Last week the Washington State Supreme Court held the Legislature to task for our lack of progress towards fully funding K-12 education under the Court’s McCleary decision. The Court told the Legislature that we must continue to increase funding for basic education and that we must outline a plan showing how we will implement it by 2018. The Court specifically mentioned the need to increase funding for books and supplies in our schools, as well as the need to pay a fair market wage to our educators so we can recruit and hire great teachers. Their message made it clear that full funding for our children’s education cannot continue to be delayed.

Meeting our McCleary obligation and fully funding education for our kids was a priority for us last session and it will be a priority again this year. We cannot ignore the court or the pressing need to reduce class sizes, hire more and better teachers, and increase our investment in our next generation.

AMTRAK in Freighthouse Square

I was very pleased to hear that the Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking additional community input on the redesign/demolishment of the westernmost 150 feet of Freighthouse Square. I wrote to Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson in early December to express my deep concern that the design proposed for the relocation of the Tacoma Amtrak station would destroy the face of a local icon. WSDOT has announced that two open houses and a workshop will be held in the next six weeks: dates are not final, but information will be available on www.wsdot.wa.gov.

 2013 Senate Democratic Caucus Leader of the Year

On Thursday, I was honored to receive the 2013 Senate Democratic Caucus Leader of the Year award from the Washington Council of Police & Sheriffs (WACOPS). Each year, WACOPS honor members of each caucus who demonstrate the strongest support to the law enforcement community. This year’s honorees included: Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe; Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane; and Rep. David Hayes, R-Camano Island. To view a few pictures from the event, please visit my website.

My legislative priorities for 2014

As I have throughout the last 14 years, my energies will be focused on policy changes that address the issues of racial inequity and poverty, especially in state programs. I am particularly interested in the intersection between the juvenile justice system, the foster care system, teen homelessness, and the failure of the educational system to graduate students who are impacted by the other issues and will be working on several bills in this area. 

I hope that you will contact me about any legislation that interests or concerns you. Let me know if you will be in Olympia, and I will do my best to get you on the schedule. Or, please call and email me any time. My staff this year, Lisa Fisch, Legislative Assistant, Nancy Ryan, Session Aide, and Nessa Thomas, Legislative Policy Intern will do their best to answer any questions you might have.

Take care,

darneille

Darneille named Legislator of Year by Police, Sheriffs

January 15th, 2014|

Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, has been named the 2013 Senate Democratic Caucus Legislator of the Year by the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS).

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Darneille. “The men and women of law enforcement all across our state deserve our profound thanks and gratitude for the work they do.”

Each year, WACOPS honors members from each caucus in the Legislature who demonstrate the strongest support of the law enforcement community. In addition to Darneille this year’s honorees include: Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe; Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane; and Rep. David Hayes, R-Camano Island.

“Law enforcement officers are at the forefront of our justice system,” said Darneille. “We need to ensure that they have the right tools they need in order to keep all Washingtonians and our communities safe.”

The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs is the largest and oldest organization that represents over 4,000 police officers and deputy sheriffs in Washington State. WACOPS works through legislative action and legal defense to protect the rights and quality of life for law enforcement officers.

Telephone Town Hall, Jan. 9 at 6:15 p.m.

January 8th, 2014|

Sen. Darneille banner

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Jake Fey and I will host a telephone town hall on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. You will be able to talk with us in real time about the upcoming legislative session, and hear about the issues that matter most in our community.

Under the telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive automatically generated telephone calls to their homes in the 27th Legislative District. Constituents may pose questions to me, Rep. Jinkins and Rep. Fey and may stay on the call to listen to the questions and concerns of your neighbors.

If you would like to participate in the telephone town hall you may dial 1-877-229-8493 and enter PIN code 18646.

I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow.

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Telephone Town Hall – Thursday, Jan. 9

January 8th, 2014|

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Rep. Laurie Jinkins, Rep. Jake Fey and I will host a telephone town hall on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. You will be able to talk with us in real time about the upcoming legislative session, and hear about the issues that matter most in our community.
Under the telephone town hall format, thousands of constituents will receive automatically generated telephone calls to their homes in the 27th Legislative District. Constituents may pose questions to me, Rep. Jinkins and Rep. Fey and may stay on the call to listen to the questions and concerns of your neighbors.
If you would like to participate in the telephone town hall you may dial 1-877-229-8493 and enter PIN code 18646.
I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow.

darneille