Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A recent study summary of the Model Penal Code (MPC) was made public that advocated for the elimination of community notification for sex offenders in our state. The State Sex Offender Policy Board was seriously considering offering this recommendation to the Legislature. You can read more information in this article:
Washington panel considers outlawing community notification of sex offenders – The Center Square, Sept. 28,2023
But then the public got wind of this. I went on the Jason Rantz show and expressed my outrage over this potential action. You can listen to that interview here.
At a time when the governor has let out violent criminals who have then gone on to commit more heinous crimes, and our families and communities are feeling less safe each and every day, now is NOT the time to decrease public knowledge of the whereabouts of violent sex offenders being released back into society.
More and more media outlets began reporting on this issue, and then the sex offender policy board began to backtrack.
State panel in damage control after confusion about eliminating sex offender notifications – KOMO News Radio, Oct. 2, 2023
WA SOPB chair reiterates support for community notification on sex offenders – The Center Square, Oct. 6, 2023
I believe it’s entirely possible the board would have proceeded with this recommendation to the Legislature without quick and loud public backlash. Especially when you read this quote from The Center Square story:
“Also testifying in opposition to the revisions was Jessica McCoy, who argued that Board Chair Brad Meryhew’s work as a private defense attorney specifically representing those accused of sexual misconduct constitutes a conflict of interest.”The Center Square, Sept. 28, 2023
In my opinion, this whole situation reiterates the need for all of us to stay engaged on these issues and push back against those that favor criminals over crime victims. There is a national push to release violent criminals early, require less bail money, and generally reduce the sentences of all sorts of criminal behavior. And yet we see the results of these shortsighted actions playing out on the streets of our nation when the media decides to cover the stories of increased violent crime.
In fact, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs recently released its Annual Crime in Washington Report. The report indicated our state just experienced its highest murder rate since the 1980s, with increases in other major crime categories. Below are some news stories from this summer.
- Homicides, violent crime up in WA as police staffing hits all-time low (The Seattle Times)
- Murders hit record, auto thefts soared in 2022, new figures show (Washington State Standard)
The crime report again pointed out the Washington has the least number of law enforcement per capita in the nation. If we wanted to reach just the national average, we would have to hire at least 7,000 new law enforcement officers statewide!
During the upcoming 2024 legislative session, I will continue my efforts to help keep our communities safe, hold criminals accountable for their crimes, and bring balance back into our criminal justice system.
House Page Program
Speaking of the upcoming session, does your child (at least 14 years old but not yet 17) want to serve as a House Page during the 2024 legislative session? Pages earn $65/day and assist the Legislature in daily tasks. Pages participate for one 40-hour work week, assisting the House of Representatives with duties including serving on the chamber floor, making deliveries throughout campus, supporting member offices, and attending Page School, which helps them understand the legislative process.
I will send out another email update before the session begins to talk more about legislation I’m proposing and supporting. Until then, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns about state government issues.