The legislative session is scheduled to come to an end this Sunday, April 25, and your legislators are working hard to finalize bills to send to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. There are some exciting and significant bills that are in their final stages, and I’d like to share them with you today. I have written about several of my prime sponsored bills in the human services and justice area in the past, so this newsletter will tell you about other landmark legislation. Also, don’t miss some important announcements at the end of this newsletter!
Police accountability and reform
HB 1267 mandates the independent investigation of deadly uses of force, custodial deaths, and other officer-involved incidents.
SB 5066 establishes clear standards for police officers to intervene when fellow officers use force unjustly and to report any wrongdoing by fellow officers.
HB 1054 bans chokeholds, neck restraints, no-knock warrants, certain military weapons, and firing at moving cars.
SB 5259 establishes comprehensive statewide reporting and publication for use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement.
HB 1001 authorizes the development of a two-year grant program to encourage a broader diversity of candidates to seek careers in law enforcement.
SB 5051 promotes state oversight, accountability, and the timely and effective enforcement of state standards for law enforcement officers.
HB 1219 will require courts in dependency cases to appoint attorneys for children age eight and older and will establish a Statewide Children’s Legal Representation Program. This will give youth in foster care a voice and adequate legal representation in court decisions that affect their lives.
HB 1194 will strengthen families while keeping kids safe during pending dependency proceedings by ensuring opportunities for parent-child supervision in the least restrictive setting that will ensure the child’s safety.
HB 1061 will improve services for foster care youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood by planning with the help of Developmental Disability Administration staff to identify services they can access to avoid being discharged into homelessness or inappropriately placed in hospitals.
Juvenile Justice and Corrections
HB 1186, will establish a community transition services program that would allow qualifying individuals serving sentences for crimes committed when they were juveniles to serve a portion of their sentence in the community under close DCYF supervision. This will help young people transition back into the community and help prevent recidivism.
SB 5304 will provide a “warm handoff” when someone leaves custody and rejoins their community by allowing them to be covered by Medicaid upon their release from incarceration or confinement, and HB 1348 will prevent the state from suspending a person’s Medicaid enrollment for the first 29 days they are incarcerated, allowing those who are jailed for a short time to continue to have uninterrupted medical coverage after release.
HB 1044 will permit the Department of Corrections (DOC) to offer postsecondary education certificate and degree programs to those who are incarcerated. It will also require the DOC to establish a process to identify, assess and accommodate those with learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and cognitive impairments. Correctional education programs promote literacy skills, improve job prospects, and uphold public safety by reducing recidivism.
The bills I’ve listed here today represent just a fraction of the many important bills being passed this year, so keep an eye out on social media for updates on the governor’s bill signings in the following weeks.
Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund
If you’re an immigrant experiencing hard times because of COVID-19, and you aren’t eligible for federal financial relief or unemployment insurance, this fund is for you. Applications opened once again today, and will remain open from April 21 to May 21 on a first-come-first-served basis, prioritizing those in greatest need.
Apply for the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund and receive up to a $1,000 one-time direct payment per individual.
Learn more and apply online here or by calling 1-844-724-3737.
The Immigrant Relief Fund website is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Swahili, Garifuna, Tagalog, Somali, and Hindi. Help in most languages is available through the hotline, at 1-844-724-3737.
If you’d like to get the message out about the fund to your community, visit the Partner Outreach page for flyers, posters, sample social media posts, and more.
Free Credit Monitoring
The Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO) recently learned of a data security incident involving Accellion, a third-party provider of hosted file transfer services. The office is in the process of sending emails to people who received unemployment benefits between 2017 and 2020 to notify them that their information was involved in the security incident and offering resources to help.
As part of its response to this data breach, SAO is making free credit monitoring available to the people of Washington. Twelve months of free credit monitoring and identity restoration services through Experian are available to people whose Social Security numbers may have been exposed in the Accellion incident.
SAO takes data security seriously and is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information. If you have any questions, you can call 1-855-789-0673, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additionally, you can visit their website for updates at https://sao.wa.gov/breach2021/.
The website is available in the following languages:
ኣማርኛ – Amharic | العربية – Arabic | Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ) – Cambodian | 简体中文 – simplified Chinese | (fārsī) فارسى – Farsi (Persian) | 한국어 [韓國語] – Korean | ພາສາລາວ (pháasaa láo) – Lao | Afaan Oromo – Oromo | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ / ﺏﺎﺠﻨﭘ (panjābi) – Punjabi | Русский – Russian | af Soomaali – Somali | Español – Spanish | Tagalog – Tagalog | Tiếng Việt – Vietnamese
That’s all for today! 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. GET VACCINATED!
Sen. Jeannie Darneille