23rd LD Update: Community Focused Legislation for Justice, Safety, and Accountability

Dear friends and neighbors,

I am pleased to announce that the 2024 legislative session has come to a productive end! Despite its brief duration of 60 days, this session has had a significant impact. We successfully balanced the supplemental budgets and managed to end on schedule, without imposing any new taxes.

One of our primary goals during this session was to ensure that our investments aligned with the critical needs of our communities. To achieve this goal, we focused on addressing challenges that directly affect our community while upholding our values of justice, safety, and accountability. Furthermore, we ensured that human rights were safeguarded, and minors were protected.

I am excited about the progress we have made and look forward to continuing this momentum in the future.

Community Safety Justice & Reentry

I want to share some legislative successes from this session that directly impact our community and uphold our justice, safety, and accountability values. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve achieved:

We’ve banned the inhumane and dangerous practice of hog-tying of individuals in police and corrections custody, aligning with recommendations from the Department of Justice and safeguarding human rights (HB 2414/SB 6009). We passed legislation that now protects minors and others from the sharing of digitally altered intimate images, including those created using AI, shielding them from exploitation and harm (HB 1999). With SB 6140, we’ve established protocols for honoring tribal warrants, fostering cooperation between state law enforcement and federally recognized tribes, and respecting tribal sovereignty in pursuing justice. House Bill 1241 strengthened penalties for harassment of election workers to ensure everyone can participate in the democratic process without fear or intimidation. We introduced new laws to address fertility fraud, holding physicians accountable for deceptive practices and ensuring patient safety and dignity (HB 1300).

We’re also creating opportunities with apprenticeship programs for incarcerated individuals, paving the way for successful reintegration into our community, promoting economic stability, and reducing recidivism (HB 2084). We’re supporting our first responders’ mental health and well-being with training programs, peer support networks, and grants for wellness initiatives (HB 2311). Enhanced resources and protections, including expanded crime victim benefits and improved responses to sexual assault cases, empower survivors of trafficking and other crimes to access care, justice, and civil remedies, facilitating their journey to rebuild their lives (SB 6006 | SB 5937). We’re holding perpetrators of hate crimes accountable by extending statutes to cover the destruction of public property motivated by bias, ensuring justice for all (SB 5917). The Office of Independent Investigations has been strengthened to conduct thorough and independent inquiries into incidents involving law enforcement, ensuring transparency and accountability (HB 2086).

With the passing of HB 1169, we ended mandatory Legal Financial Penalties (LFPs) last year. This significant milestone in justice reform liberates low-income individuals from crippling debt cycles post-incarceration and secured vital funding for crime victim programs. By replacing mandatory LFOs with stable state funding, we streamlined government efficiency and dismantled systemic barriers to reintegration, fostering a more equitable and just legal system for all constituents.

Stay Connected!

I’m excited to meet in the community in the months ahead. Feel free to reach out anytime. I’m here to help with any questions or concerns. Look at the options below to keep in touch – I look forward to staying connected!

E-mail me directly: Tarra.Simmons@leg.wa.gov.

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Rep. Tarra Simmons