Monthly Archives: April 2016

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    Hasegawa pushes lawmakers to consider racial disproportionality

Hasegawa pushes lawmakers to consider racial disproportionality

April 8th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – An addition to the 2016 supplemental budget, requested by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, will provide a path to better understand how legislative policies affect communities of color in Washington state.

“We talk a great deal about addressing racial disproportionality in the Legislature, and yet we often have no understanding of how new policies may specifically impact communities of color,” Hasegawa said. “If members can request racial impact statements before policies become law, we can ensure we don’t inadvertently take the state backwards with new policy.”

The budget proviso dictates the Caseload Forecast Council must work in cooperation with appropriate agencies to develop recommendations that will lead to cost effective racial and ethnic impact statements to legislative bills – similar to fiscal impact statements that determine how much it will cost to implement a policy. Hasegawa sponsored a bill that formed the basis for this budget proviso, which did not pass, Senate Bill 5752.

“This is a significant step in the right direction when it comes to reversing institutional disparities that have plagued our state and nation in areas from criminal justice to education to essential services. As far as we’ve come over recent decades, there is a lot of work still to do when it comes to social justice. I am excited to see where this research takes us,” Hasegawa added.

The Caseload Forecast Council must submit a report on their findings to the governor and appropriate legislative committees by the end of the year.

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    Hasegawa bill ensures coroners can proceed with independent inquests

Hasegawa bill ensures coroners can proceed with independent inquests

April 4th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Although relatively rare, coroner’s inquests are an important process by which a proceeding is held to publicly review the circumstances of a death. Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, venues for inquests are required to be provided through the superior court. The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature with wide bipartisan support and was recently signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“This is a good government bill to ensure coroners have the facilities available to do an inquest when and if they need to do so,” Hasegawa said. “The people have voted coroners in to office to do an important job and we need to be sure they have the resources to do that.”

Senate Bill 6295, which passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 53 vote majority in the House, requires that if the death of a person seems unnatural and a coroner deems an inquest necessary, the superior court must schedule a courtroom where the inquest can be held, or designate a public venue if a courtroom is unavailable.

This clarification ensures that coroners have the means to thoroughly investigate deaths that occur under suspicious circumstances or unlawful means, and will allow the judicial system to better serve the public in both rural and urban areas of our state.

The idea for the bill was brought to Hasegawa by concerned citizens and advocates from Pasco, following the death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes. The Franklin County Coroner pushed for a coroner’s inquest into the shooting, but his desire was rebuffed by the prosecutor, the county commissioners who refused to pay for it and Superior Court judges who determined there was no space available.

To watch the bill vote, please click here (and scroll to 5:26:45).