Sen. Dhingra Testimony on CSEC


“We as a state have to decide – are these children victims or are they, criminals?” Senate bill 5744, creates two receiving centers to provide wrap around services for commercially sexually exploited youth.
These young people need help and resources to get their lives back. Putting them in the criminal justice system sets them up for a lifetime of failure instead of potential.


VICTORY! Washington State Senate votes to abolish the death penalty a second time

Washington is on its way to becoming the next state to abolish the death penalty.

By a vote of twenty-eight to nineteen, the Washington State Senate today voted to repeal the unconstitutional statute that permits prosecutors to seek death sentences for people who have been convicted of first degree murder. Senate Bill 5339 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Support for abolishing the death penalty is very high, according to NPI research. Last year, 69% of Washingtonians surveyed told our pollster that they preferred one of three life in prison alternatives to just 24% who said they preferred the death penalty, while 8% said they were not sure. (Read more about our finding.)

Senate Bill 5339 would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is the alternative endorsed by respondents in our poll.

The legislation passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support. Here is the roll call:

Roll Call
SB 5339
Death penalty elimination
3rd Reading & Final Passage
2/15/2019

Yeas: 28; Nays: 19; Excused: 2

Voting Yea: Senators Billig, Carlyle, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Das, Dhingra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hunt, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, McCoy, Mullet, Nguyen, Palumbo, Pedersen, Randall, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)

Voting Nay: Senators Bailey, Becker, Braun, Brown, Ericksen, Hobbs, Holy, Honeyford, King, O`Ban, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Takko, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Zeiger

Excused: Senators Fortunato, Wilson (Lynda)

Three Democratic senators voted against repealing the death penalty: Steve Hobbs, Dean Takko, and Kevin Van De Wege. Their no votes were canceled out by the yes votes of three Republicans: Maureen Walsh, Judy Warnick, and Brad Hawkins.

The Senate’s six new Democratic members (Mona Das, Liz Lovelett, Joe Nguyen, Emily Randall, Jesse Salomon, Claire Wilson) all voted in favor of the bill.

“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 Senator Reuven Carlyle, a longtime proponent of abolition.

“I’m pleased that our state is on the path toward joining the global movement toward abolishing the death penalty,” Carlyle continued. “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.”

So are we. We thank Senator Carlyle and Senators Jamie Pedersen and Manka Dhingra for their leadership on this human rights breakthrough.

Last year, when the Senate passed this bill for the first time, it was a watershed moment. Now the focus shifts back to the House of Representatives. For the bill to reach Governor Inslee’s desk, at least fifty representatives must vote for it.

We believe the votes exist to pass this bill in the House and we’ll be working alongside fellow abolition supporters to secure a vote and win that vote.


Like what you just read? Or found it thought-provoking? Donate to help NPI continue publishing substantive commentary and analysis here on the Cascadia Advocate.

This entry was written by Andrew and posted on February 15th, 2019 at 3:08 PM.

Plan for community mental health sites in Washington advances
But lawmakers have yet to agree if facilities should be publicly run

By TOM JAMES, Associated Press

Published: February 8, 2019, 4:58 PM

OLYMPIA — A proposal for a statewide network of community mental health facilities advanced on a bipartisan vote Friday amid questions over whether they should be publicly operated.

The bill that advanced unanimously from the Health Care and Wellness Committee is one of a pair of linked measures that seeks to implement plans proposed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. The measures would respond to the state’s mental health crisis by transferring treatment for civilly committed patients from two mental hospitals to a network of smaller regional facilities.

But while lawmakers from both parties have broadly embraced the idea, leading Republicans and Democrats said who would run the facilities remains an open question.

“We haven’t made any final decisions,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle.

Options include having the facilities be managed by the state, by community-based nonprofits or by existing hospitals, said Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, who has taken a leading role on the issue in the Senate.

Democrats currently control both halves of the Legislature, and numerous lawmakers from the party said this week they were open to a mix of state and locally managed facilities. That matches language in Inslee’s latest proposal, although he originally called for an entirely state-run network.

But University Place Sen. Steve O’Ban, a Republican active on the issue, said he wanted the state out of running the facilities entirely, citing failures including assaults and escapes at the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, Western State.

“If I had my druthers none of them would be state-run,” said O’Ban.

O’Ban has introduced a bill that would allow nonprofits and for-profit businesses to qualify to run the facilities. Independent operators would be licensed by the state, then kept in line by the threat of closure.

“If they fail, you bring in another,” O’Ban said.

The proposed network of new facilities is a key part of lawmakers’ response to the state’s long-running mental health crisis.

Western State Hospital, the state’s largest psychiatric facility, has long garnered scrutiny from federal officials over safety issues and understaffing, highlighted by assaults on staff and patient escapes, including one man in 2016 accused of killing a woman by tying her up, stabbing her 24 times and slashing her throat.

In 2018, despite improvement efforts, federal authorities declared conditions had gotten so bad that they cut the hospital’s accreditation and $53 million in federal funding.

But local, independently run facilities haven’t been immune from problems either.

In 2016 disability rights advocates asked courts to block new patients from being sent to a Yakima facility run by Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health, a local nonprofit, because it was unsafe.

A U.S. District judge agreed and partially closed the facility, operated in a building formerly used as a jail, after finding parts of its layout could facilitate suicide attempts.

While the question of who will run the facilities remains open, lawmakers involved in the discussions said it wouldn’t derail the proposal, which has prominent signers from both parties, including O’Ban, who said he favors the plan overall.

“It’s around the edges — for the most part, we’re together,” said Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

Legislators advance mental health plan, debate privatization

By TOM JAMESPosted: Feb. 8, 2019 7:00 am Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 3:00 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A proposal for a statewide network of community mental health facilities advanced on a bipartisan vote Friday amid questions over whether they should be publicly operated.

The bill that advanced unanimously from the Health Care and Wellness Committee is one of a pair of linked measures that seeks to implement plans proposed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. The measures would respond to the state’s mental health crisis by transferring treatment for capacity for civilly committed patients from two mental hospitals to a network of smaller regional facilities.

But while lawmakers from both parties have broadly embraced the idea, leading Republicans and Democrats said who would run the facilities remains an open question.

“We haven’t made any final decisions,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle.

Options include having the facilities be managed by the state, by community-based nonprofits or by existing hospitals, said Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, who has taken a leading role on the issue in the Senate.

Democrats currently control both halves of the state Legislature, and numerous lawmakers from the party said this week they were open to a mix of state and locally managed facilities. That matches language in Inslee’s latest proposal, although he originally called for an entirely state-run network.

But University Place Sen. Steve O’Ban, a Republican active on the issue, said he wanted the state out of running the facilities entirely, citing failures including assaults and escapes at the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, Western State.

“If I had my druthers none of them would be state-run,” said O’Ban.

O’Ban has introduced a bill that would allow nonprofits and for-profit businesses to qualify to run the facilities. Independent operators would be licensed by the state, then kept in line by the threat of closure.

“If they fail, you bring in another,” O’Ban said.

The proposed network of new facilities is a key part of lawmakers’ response to the state’s long-running mental health crisis.

Western State Hospital, Washington state’s largest psychiatric facility, has long garnered scrutiny from federal officials over safety issues and understaffing, highlighted by assaults on staff and patient escapes, including one man in 2016 accused of murdering a woman by tying her up, stabbing her 24 times and slashing her throat.

In 2018, despite improvement efforts, federal authorities declared conditions had gotten so bad that they cut the hospital’s accreditation and $53 million in federal funding.

But local, independently-run facilities haven’t been immune from problems either.

In 2016 disability rights advocates asked courts to block new patients from being sent to a Yakima facility run by Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health, a local nonprofit, because it was unsafe.

A U.S. District judge agreed and partially closed the facility, operated in a building formerly used as a jail, after finding parts of its layout could facilitate suicide attempts.

While the question of who will run the facilities remains open, lawmakers involved in the discussions said it wouldn’t derail the proposal, which has prominent signers from both parties, including O’Ban, who said he favors the plan overall.

“It’s around the edges – for the most part, we’re together,” Cody said.

https://www.whig.com/article/20190208/AP/302089735

Sexual assault survivors win in Washington House, push on to Senate

By: Essex Porter

Updated: Feb 7, 2019 – 7:12 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A big step was taken toward justice for sexual assault survivors in Olympia today.

The Washington state House of Representatives today voted 96-0 to make third-degree rape cases easier to prosecute because survivors will no longer have to prove they clearly rejected sexual contact.

“The brain physically shuts the body down, and an individual would not have the ability to express through words that they are not consenting to this experience,” said Andrea Piper-Wentland of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs.

Legislation heard by the Senate Law and Justice Committee today would also give victims much longer to report their attacker.

By the time Lisa Flotin realized she’d been sexually abused by a teacher, it was too late. “Due to the statute of limitations, I hit a wall and my abuser would never face criminal charges. learning this fact was the most devastating day of my life.

Often, survivors react to the trauma of rape with silence.

“I had just been violated in such a deep way that the idea of anyone touching me or asking me questions was terrifying,” said Megan Freney.

Redmond Sen. Manka Dhingra is the lead sponsor of legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations on prosecuting many sexual crimes, especially attacks on children.

“It often takes years for victims of childhood sexual abuse even to acknowledge what has happened to them,” she explained. 

Spokane Valley Sen. Mike Padden is sympathetic but believes survivors shouldn’t expect too much from prosecutions begun years after the crime.

“The longer you go, you have problems with witnesses, memory, the availability of witnesses. It makes it more difficult.”

Despite the odds, Freney won a conviction in her rape case.

“I hope that working together, we can lessen the burden on future victims,” she said.

https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/sexual-assault-survivors-win-in-washington-house-push-on-to-senate/916460707