Monday was the deadline for bills to be passed out of their policy committees to remain in the legislative process. This week, fiscal committees are hearing the bills that will have a financial impact, and the deadline for bills to be passed out of fiscal committees is next Monday, Feb. 22.
All of my bills this session have passed out of their policy committees. Today I’d like to tell you about some of them.
Prohibiting price gouging
SB 5191 would prohibit excessive price increases on essential products, goods and services during a declared state of emergency. The list of protected goods and services includes necessary health care services, medical supplies, rental housing, motels, gasoline and emergency supplies such as water, batteries, soap and toiletries.
This bill would provide important protections for Washingtonians and clarity and certainty to the business community. Those who engage in predatory price gouging will face real accountability — a penalty of $25,000 per violation. Those who put profits over people during an emergency must be held accountable.
Providing tools for successful reentry
SB 5121 would expand eligibility for DOC’s graduated reentry program to more people who are incarcerated. The program and this bill address the root causes of recidivism, giving people the tools they need to transition back into the community successfully, which is key for public safety.
It also addresses mass incarceration in Washington by safely reducing our prison population. Expansion of the graduated reentry program is projected to reduce the state’s average daily prison population by over 3,000 in fiscal year 2022. This bill has already passed out of the Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the House Public Safety Committee.
Fatality reviews in jails and prisons
Any time a person dies while they are in custody, it’s imperative to determine whether systemic failures contributed to the tragedy. Currently no formal review process for deaths of incarcerated individuals is outlined in state law. That needs to change.
SB 5119 would require prisons and local jails throughout Washington to conduct a fatality review any time an individual who is incarcerated dies unexpectedly, or when the Office of Corrections Ombuds identifies a case for review. The team that carries out the review must be made up of people with specific expertise and no involvement in the case, and the purpose of the review is to develop recommendations for changes in policies and practices to prevent deaths and strengthen health and safety protections for those who are incarcerated.
Save the date!
On March 10 at 5:30 p.m., I will be joined by my seatmates, Speaker Laurie Jinkins and Rep. Jake Fey for a 27th legislative district virtual town hall meeting via Facebook Live. Mark your calendar today, we hope to see you participate! Click here to questions ahead of time.
Keep an eye out for more information coming soon!
Remembering Kristopher Brannon
Is it right to have a favorite constituent? Yes. I first met Kristopher Brannon when he was a young and very engaging ticket-taker at a now long-closed movie theater in Tacoma. I loved him from the start because of his instant relationship-building. Kris was always ready with a joke, a political question, or a view on the world and I am devastated by his passing. Tacoma has lost its best and truest citizen. I remember him at countless community events, always ready to smile, laugh, shake a hand, give a hug, or shout out a greeting…to everyone! His persistence was awe-inspiring, and he lifted up the voice of his community in policy discussions. I wept all morning for our collective loss, both for Tacoma and for our whole state. We will never forget our Sonics Guy, our proud Democrat, our city’s best cheerleader, our icon, our friend. Bravo, Kris, for a life well lived and thank you for always making room for every person you encountered. There is talk around town about honoring Kris with a mural or statue. These are great ideas, but I want us all to do one more thing: reach out in kindness to another person. You never know what that gesture will mean to another person, but that action is central to the memory of this gentle person. You are loved by all, Kris, and we will all miss you deeply.
That’s all for now! As always, my office welcomes your input on the issues facing our community and policies the Legislature is considering, so please reach out! You can contact us at Jeannie.Darneille@leg.wa.gov. Take care. Watch your distance. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. And get vaccinated!