Local legislators weigh in on just-completed session

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Rep. Luis Moscoso
Rep. Luis Moscoso
Rep. Ruth Kagi
Rep. Ruth Kagi

Two state legislators who represent Mountlake Terrace, one from the 1st Legislative District and one from the 32nd Legislative District, released statements concerning proposals considered in Olympia during the recently-completed 63rd Washington State Legislative session.

State Rep. Luis Moscoso, 1st District, had high hopes of seeing HB 1413, the Washington Voting Rights Act of 2013, become law, but after passing the House 53-43 on Jan. 27, the bill stalled in the Senate. The legislation would have given courts the power to order new elections where they feel the votes of minorities have been diluted by the jurisdiction’s voting preference.

“I was disappointed to see the voter rights act fail to advance out of the Rules Committee and onto the Senate floor,” Moscoso said.
The 1st District representative expressed appreciation to Senate leadership for considering the bill. “There is a growing acknowledgement of a clear problem in our state, where whole communities are being left without a voice in the democratic process,” he stated. “Senate leadership is joining the House Democratic Caucus in recognizing that too often minorities have little or no representation in their local governments, even when they represent a significant share of the population.”

Despite the bill not getting a vote in the Senate this year, Moscoso was encouraged with the progress it did make, and vowed to champion the legislation during the 2015 Legislative session. “I am fully committed to working with advocates from across the state to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act next year,” he concluded.

For Rep. Ruth Kagi, 32nd District, the passage of SHB 1651, the Youth Opportunities Act, by both bodies of the legislature represented a big victory. The legislation calls for keeping the records of non-violent offenses committed by juveniles confidential. The bill passed the Senate on March 7 by a vote of 48-0, then the House on March 11 by a vote of 97-1. It is expected to be signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee within a few days.

“The Youth Opportunities Act is about core values: fairness, equality and opportunity,” Kagi said. “Children everywhere make foolish and stupid mistakes. In 42 other states these children get a second chance. But here in Washington, their mistakes follow them forever.”

“This bill will provide thousands of young adults who have made a mistake in their teens the chance for a fresh start when they turn 18 – the ability to become productive adults,” Kagi stated. “They will be able to get jobs, housing and scholarships, opportunities that are often not available to people with a juvenile record.”

State Sen. Maralyn Chase, 32nd District, will be in Mountlake Terrace on Saturday, Mar. 15, to discuss her viewpoint of the legislative session. The town hall meeting is slated to take place at the Mountlake Terrace Community Senior Center at Ballinger Park, 23000 Lakeview Drive, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The 1st Legislative District includes the area of Mountlake Terrace east of I-5, Brier and portions of unincorporated Snohomish County; the 32nd Legislative District includes portions of Mountlake Terrace west of I-5.

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