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2013 Attorney General's Office Legislative Priorities  

Public Safety                    Open Government                    Veterans

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 Public Safety Banner

Courthouse ProtectionHB1653 (Goodman) / SB 5484 (Kline)

  HB 1653     SB 5484  
  *2/12: Public Hearing
*2/21: Exec Hearing - Passes House Public Safety Cmte
*2/22: Referred to Approps SubCmte on General Gov
Failed to move out of fiscal committee 
    * 2/15: Public Hearing
*2/21: Exec Hearing
*3/13: Voted out of Senate
*3/26: Public Hearing
*4/3: Exec Hearing
*4/9: Voted out of House
*4/28: Delivered to Governor

Attorney General Bob Ferguson believes all citizens should have equal protections as they access our courts—victims and defendants, witnesses and jurors alike. Our bill:

  • Increases the penalty for misdemeanor assault in and around a courthouse to a felony – regardless of the victim.
  • It makes a committing a felony in and around a courthouse – regardless of the victim – an aggravating factor for a judge to consider during sentencing.

The bill applies to any areas in any building used in connection with court proceedings, including courtrooms, jury rooms, judge’s chambers, offices and areas used to conduct court business, waiting areas, corridors adjacent to those areas and common areas of entry to the building used in connection with court proceedings. (read more)

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  Open Government Banner

Providing Training for Public Records & Open Meetings: HB 1198 (Pollet)

  HB 1198  
  *1/23: Public Hearing  
*2/12: Exec Hearing - Passes House Gov Ops & Elections Cmte
*2/23: Public Hearing
*2/23: Exec Hearing
Failed to move out of fiscal committee  

The amended measure requires the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to develop a general training program for compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and Public Records Act (PRA) by July1, 2014.

This general training shall:

  • Be available free online at the AGO website or a functionally similar medium.
  • Focus on best practices for compliance with Sunshine laws, their purposes, applicability, duties, and penalties.
  • Be mandatory of public officials within 90 days of taking office and available for all members of government and the general public for free.

The Attorney General’s Office may use existing materials and programs developed by associations for cities, counties, or other non-profit organizations. The Attorney General’s Office is to review and approve training offered by other agencies, associations, or non-profit organizations. Training approved by the Attorney General’s Office will be updated every two years.

Additionally the bill requires the AGO to develop a more intensive training program for designated public records officers responsible for agencies’ compliance with the PRA. The training may be web-based or in-person—and will include recent court decisions, the AG’s model rules, disclosure of electronic records, and innovative mechanisms for compliance. (read more)

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   Veterans Header

Veterans' Treatment Courts: SB 5129 (Hobbs)
Specialty Treatment Courts:  SB 5797 (Hobbs)

  SB 5129     SB 5797
  *1/21: Referred to Law & Justice Cmte
Failed to move out of committee
    *2/20: Public Hearing 
*2/21: Exec Hearing
*3/13: Voted out of Senate
* 3/27: Public Hearing
*4/2: Exec Hearing
*4/12: Voted out of House
*4/28: Delivered to Governor

Veterans’ treatment courts are an innovative and effective way to hold veterans involved in the criminal justice system accountable, while at the same time helping them stabilize their lives by connecting them to treatment and services to address mental health conditions or substance addictions. Veterans’ treatment courts are a growing national trend – more than 100 have been created across 35 states in the last five years – because of their track record in helping control costs and reduce recidivism. Veterans’ treatment courts acknowledge the unique circumstances and challenges facing our veterans, and both the veteran and the community are better served by avoiding unnecessary incarceration and connecting the veteran to services available from the federal VA’s health network or other service providers. 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson comes from a family of veterans and believes that we should stand up for those who have served our nation. This bill:

  • Authorizes the creation of veterans’ treatment courts in Washington State.
  • Allows us to compete for grants and seek federal funding for veterans’ treatment courts.
  • Permits the consolidation of veterans’ treatment court functions with other therapeutic courts, such as drug court and mental health court. 

(read more)

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