Monthly Archives: February 2018

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    Bellevue Reporter: Washington Senate passes reforms to reduce recidivism and racial disparities in juvenile justice system

Bellevue Reporter: Washington Senate passes reforms to reduce recidivism and racial disparities in juvenile justice system

February 28th, 2018|

From the Bellevue Reporter:

The Washington state Senate recently passed legislation extending juvenile justice jurisdiction for some youthful offenders to age 25.

The bill is now in the House and was placed on second reading by the Rules Committee on Tuesday.

Current Washington law requires that 16-17 year olds who commit certain crimes are automatically tried as adults without any consideration of brain development, criminal history, upbringing or other potentially mitigating circumstances. Some of these crimes include: first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary (if the offender has a prior felony or misdemeanor), and any violent offense in which the offender is alleged to have been armed with a firearm.

Over the course of two decades, these provisions have been proven to disproportionately impact people of color and increase recidivism due to youthful involvement with the adult criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 6160, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, reforms these provisions and places them within the jurisdiction of juvenile court instead of adult court.

“In making any change to the juvenile justice system, it is critical we keep at the forefront our goal to truly rehabilitate our young people and give them a fair chance to participate in society meaningfully,” said Kuderer. “When one third of offenders incarcerated as a young adult ultimately re-offend, it’s clear we must do more. This legislation takes a significant step to address some of the failings in our system and begin the difficult work of positive change.”

The legislation would also extend the age limit for confinement in a juvenile rehabilitation institution from 21 to 25 for juveniles adjudicated of these offenses.

“We have found that many of the young people who have been incarcerated experienced some kind of significant trauma,” said Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma and chair of the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee. “The evidence is clear that early exposure to the criminal justice system can be seriously detrimental in the development of young lives. Now is the time to move forward from an era of policies which all too often failed to rehabilitate children who make mistakes early in life.”

SB 6160 represents a compromise between all corners of the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, law enforcement professionals, criminal defenders and advocates who work directly with youth.

http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/washington-senate-passes-reforms-to-reduce-recidivism-and-racial-disparities-in-juvenile-justice-system/

 

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    Senate passes student-drafted legislation to encourage composting and recycling

Senate passes student-drafted legislation to encourage composting and recycling

February 13th, 2018|

Supporting student-led efforts to encourage composting and recycling in public schools, the Washington state Senate today passed legislation to further enable the environmentally friendly practices.

Senate Bill 6168, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, was initially drafted by students from Lake Washington High School through the state-funded Capitol Classroom program sponsored by TVW.

“I’m thrilled that the Senate was able to acknowledge the hard work of our dedicated teens from Lake Washington by passing this legislation, which has been in the making for years,” said Kuderer. “This is the type of civic engagement that we need to be encouraging in schools across Washington, giving students a sense of ownership and showing that they too can influence the future of their state.”

In addition to allowing public schools to offer students the opportunity to recycle and compost their food waste, the bill also permits the state to provide free pickup of compost and to provide supplies such as bins and compost bags.

SB 6168 passed out of the Senate unanimously and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Video: Eastside Senators Discuss Education Funding

February 13th, 2018|

Sens. Patty Kuderer, Manka Dhingra, and Lisa Wellman, who each represent legislative districts in King County’s Eastside, discuss education funding, levies, and taxes.

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    Washington Senate passes reforms to reduce recidivism and racial disparities in juvenile justice system

Washington Senate passes reforms to reduce recidivism and racial disparities in juvenile justice system

February 12th, 2018|

The Washington state Senate today passed groundbreaking legislation extending juvenile justice jurisdiction for some youthful offenders to age 25.

Current Washington law requires that 16-17 year olds who commit certain crimes are automatically tried as adults without any consideration of brain development, criminal history, upbringing or other potentially mitigating circumstances. Some of these crimes include: first degree robbery, first-degree burglary (if the offender has a prior felony or misdemeanor), and any violent offense in which the offender is alleged to have been armed with a firearm.

Over the course of two decades, these provisions have been proven to disproportionately impact people of color and increase recidivism due to youthful involvement with the adult criminal justice system.

Senate Bill 6160, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, reforms these provisions and places them within the jurisdiction of juvenile court instead of adult court.

“In making any change to the juvenile justice system, it is critical we keep at the forefront our goal to truly rehabilitate our young people and give them a fair chance to participate in society meaningfully,” said Kuderer. “When one third of offenders incarcerated as a young adult ultimately re-offend, it’s clear we must do more. This legislation takes a significant step to address some of the failings in our system and begin the difficult work of positive change.”

The legislation would also extend the age limit for confinement in a juvenile rehabilitation institution from 21 to 25 for juveniles adjudicated of these offenses.

“We have found that many of the young people who have been incarcerated experienced some kind of significant trauma,” said Sen. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma and chair of the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee. “The evidence is clear that early exposure to the criminal justice system can be seriously detrimental in the development of young lives. Now is the time to move forward from an era of policies which all too often failed to rehabilitate children who make mistakes early in life.”

SB 6160 represents a compromise between all corners of the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, law enforcement professionals, criminal defenders and advocates who work directly with youth.

The bill passed on a vote of 35-12 and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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    Blog: Protecting the Personal Information of Public Employees

Blog: Protecting the Personal Information of Public Employees

February 10th, 2018|

Today, the Senate passed a bill I sponsored to protect the birthdates of public employees from hackers and other malicious actors. As you may have read recently, this legislation has caused a bit of a stir.

I want to be clear that, as an attorney who has practiced in public records for over 30 years, I am a strong supporter of government transparency.

But I also believe that it is our job as legislators to constantly evaluate if our system is working effectively and fairly, and when it isn’t, we’re obligated to take action.

In 1972, Washington passed the first public records act in the country. At that time, computers were in their primitive state and the public saw them mostly as the blinking round lights on episodes of Star Trek. But times have changed and our Public Records Act (PRA) needs to be examined in light of the world in which we now live.

In addition to the internet that you and I use in our daily lives, there is now something known as the “dark web” where, hidden from view, users illegally traffic all kinds of information. From what I hear law enforcement officials at all levels of government say, the “dark web” is not a place where you want your personally identifying information (PII) to be found.  Yet right now the state offers up the most sought-after data trafficked on the dark web on a silver platter.

I have been interested in protecting this information since my kids started using the internet nearly 20 years ago. Having served on the General Government & Information Technology Committee when I was in the House of Representatives and now serving on the Board of WaTech, which operates the state’s core technology infrastructure, I routinely hear from cybersecurity experts about the dangers posed to our state by cyber-attacks of all kinds.

While I am confident in the infrastructure we’ve put in place to protect Washingtonians, including state of the art software and computer equipment designed to thwart hundreds of thousands of attacks a minute, the truth is that there is no way to protect all PII with 100% certainty. Especially when the birthdate of every public employee is available with a simple public records request.

But the reasons to pass Senate Bill 6079 don’t end there.

During public testimony, we heard from state employees who work for the division of child support that they receive three or four threats to themselves or their colleagues every month. I’ve also heard about a teacher who had left an abusive domestic relationship only to learn the hard way that, thanks to the PRA, her violent ex-boyfriend legally obtained her birthdate. With that information, he found her address from other sources.

The threat of individuals abusing the public records act to procure PII and using it to inflict physical or emotional pain against public servants doing honest but difficult work is real and unacceptable.

I empathize with some of the concerns brought forward by journalists worried about their ability to access information important to their investigations. Hoping to address these concerns, our caucus introduced an amendment that would continue to allow journalists the access they need to investigate stories involving public employees.  But due to procedural roadblocks, we decided to move the bill forward to the House without amendment so we can continue working on this critical legislation over there.

The real stories about real people whose physical, emotional and economic security is put at risk because the state has not yet closed this avenue within the PRA are the reasons I sponsored the bill and why I will work hard to see it enacted into law.

And just to be sure I was doing the right thing, I asked myself one simple question: would I want my child’s birthdate to be disclosed by the state simply because they work for the government? No, and I’d bet neither would you.


For additional perspective on the issue, be sure to read the recent letter to the editor in the Bellevue Reporter from Becky Turnbull, an employee at Bellevue College:

Time to update the PRA | Letter