Legislators have returned to the State Capitol to begin the 2016 legislative session and much work has already been accomplished. The Legislature faces a number of budget challenges, including the need to address an impending teacher shortage, and our ongoing obligation to fully fund our public schools.
As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I’m working on important issues to keep our families and neighborhoods safe, including efforts to reduce domestic violence, drunk driving, human trafficking and other crimes. It’s an honor and responsibility that I take seriously.
We have much work to do and not a lot of time to get it done! I’ll be in touch with you again soon to keep you up to date on the latest from Olympia.
We often hear moving, painful stories from victims testifying before the Public Safety Committee. In response, I have sponsored numerous bills over the years to address their concerns. This session I am working hard on several measures that I hope will be enacted into law this year.
During last summer’s wildfires, residents evacuated from their neighborhoods returned to find their homes burglarized. Criminals had used the state of emergency as an opportunity to steal from these defenseless victims. Imagine coming home, thankful that your home wasn’t destroyed by fire, only to find your home ransacked and your valuables stolen! That’s kicking someone while they’re down. In response, I have introduced HB 2812, giving courts the power to increase prison time for those offenders.
Domestic violence is one of the most chronic social problems in our communities, and I’ve been working for years to reduce the harm from domestic violence. This year I’m moving comprehensive legislation, HB 1632, to increase accountability for repeat offenders and for those who assault children in the home. Repeat domestic violence perpetrators are some of the most dangerous people in our communities, committing many other violent crimes. I want us to make sure repeat offenders are appropriately punished – and supervised – to prevent them from victimizing others again.
Finally, our aging population is at greater risk of abuse, both from physical neglect by caregivers and theft from fraud and undue influence. I’ve worked with the AARP and the Kirkland Senior Council on an important piece of legislation, HB 1499, which will better protect the elderly by increasing penalties for criminal mistreatment and theft from vulnerable adults, as well as make it easier to bring charges and secure criminal convictions. We need to make sure that older adults and the vulnerable among us aren’t taken advantage of or, even worse, outright abused by the people entrusted with their care.
Thanks for taking the time to read about our current work down in Olympia. As this legislative session progresses I’ll be sending you further updates on activity here at the State Capitol. If you have any questions or concerns about legislation, or have an idea you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. You can reach me at (360) 786-7878 or email me at Roger.Goodman@leg.wa.gov.
All best wishes,
State Representative Roger Goodman
45th Legislative District