I understand that WA Coalition for Parole has decided not to drop a bill this session, could you tell us why?
Absolutely, we are happy to share our reasons for the strategic decision to not to run a bill this year.
1) We met with legislative leaders in November and December, and they told us bluntly that there’s no chance of a parole bill passing this year, and actually requested that we not try to run one.
2) The political reality is that the Democrats are in a very difficult position right now. They control the House by just a thread, and the Republicans already control the Senate. That means the House Dems must worry a lot about holding onto their majority. If they lose it in the next election, they will be powerless for a long time. So they are not going to undertake anything as controversial and politically risky as parole without being absolutely certain that they will succeed.
3) For us to succeed in actually getting a bill passed rather than just getting another hearing, we will need to demonstrate to legislative leadership that we can deliver, at bare minimum, 25 committed votes in the House and 50 in the Senate. To get those votes, we must demonstrate that we have significant numbers of well-organized supporters in each of the 49 legislative districts, and that we have incorporated input from all of the stakeholders. If we haven’t done these things, it tells legislators that they don’t need to take this effort seriously because we’re amateurs and we haven’t done our homework.
So we decided that rather than wasting energy by rushing into the legislative process unprepared this year, we will wait and come to the Legislature in 2016 fully prepared, with all our homework done, and with the political strength to get the bill passed. We will be working hard in the coming months to lay the groundwork with legislators in their districts, line up ally organizations and individuals, organize prisoners’ families, and increase public support. We will need your help with all of this–in fact we won’t have a chance without you. If there’s one thing legislators care about, it’s what their constituents want. So if you’re up for taking on a homework assignment, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFP Management Team