There was suddenly a lot of very vocal opposition at the Ways & Means hearing today, even though it is supposed to be only about fiscal issues.(Generally, they will cut you off if you’re not talking about fiscal issues.)
The Ways & Means Committee had already met for about 5 hrs when they finally got to our bill, and the discussion was very emotional and heated. The prosecutors organization, sheriffs and police chiefs, and victims advocates all oppose it now. The same three victims showed up and went through their same complaints against the ISRB. Jenny Graham, a Representative whose sister was killed by Gary Ridgway, also adamantly and emotionally opposed the bill. John Carlson, author of the original 3 Strikes bill (it was an initiative), promised to run a new 3 Strikes initiative if this bill is passed, adding more crimes to the list of strikes. That was the general flavor of the testimony–ugly.
Although Rachael Seevers, Paul Benz, and others represented our side effectively, our chances don’t look good right now. It will take a lot of courage and will from legislators to go forward against this kind of opposition. If they don’t think they can get it passed, they won’t move it. We should find out tonight if it goes forward, since it has to be voted out of Ways & Means tomorrow.
Prison Voice Washington