Thank you legislators
I want to thank our legislators from the 30th Legislative District for their excellent work in this session. They have supported several important bills to provide healthcare in Washington.
Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget proposal shows his commitment to fully funding family planning. The WA Legislature must carry that forward ensuring patients maintain access to the full range of reproductive healthcare services by including $5.2 million in the 2021-2023 operating budget. This will secure an additional $10.9 million in matching federal funds. With so many people struggling in the pandemic, inaction will worsen health and economic disparities. We need our legislators to support the family planning budget.
Voting rights restoration
In ancient democracies, the right to vote was only revoked if the right was abused, fast forward to the beginning of Jim Crow laws in 1865, and voter disenfranchisement has morphed into the beast we see today, arguably worse. Washington State has an opportunity to mend a piece of this injustice, and media coverage of this issue has been almost non-existent.
House Bill 1078, and Senate Bill 5086 are on this season’s legislative agenda, they would restore voting rights to persons with a felony conviction upon release from total confinement. The gist? HB 1078/SB 5086 would restore voting rights to persons on probation and parole.
In the United States, about 4 million people are living in communities that don’t have their constitutional right to vote, meaning we have 4 million neighbors who live in an environment in which they cannot vote to make civic change. Minorities are put in prison at the highest rates, thus they are disenfranchised at those high rates. When put in prison at a politically formative age, the chance to create a consistent involvement or interest in civic participation is lost, this is passed on to their children, creating a lasting cycle that perpetuates their lack of involvement. Consequences of voter disenfranchisement aren’t solely an issue now, but its continued existence has rippling effects that last far into the future.
This bill isn’t about punishment, that’s already been taken into consideration in our legal system, this bill is about their release and reintegration into their communities. They carry the title of felon with them everywhere they go, they are denied housing, jobs, and public services due to actions that they have already served time for. We don’t need to keep reminding them of their felony status every election. We need to show them that they can make a difference and welcome them home.