Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week two of the legislative session was full of committee work sessions and constituent meetings. Next week will be busy with bill hearings. I want to highlight one important bill that is on the agenda for next week.
I am working with Rep. Mike Sells and other legislators to pass House Bill 1232 to place new conditions on the housing voucher program for sex offenders. Since it was created by the Legislature a few years ago, the voucher program has provided temporary housing aid to released sex offenders and creates a business model for housing providers. It lacks necessary parameters; our bill addresses that issue.
After residents of the Shaw Road neighborhood learned about a potential house for sex offenders last summer, they rallied together to ask the Puyallup City Council for help to stop it. Just this week, the Puyallup City Council extended a moratorium on halfway houses for sex offenders and violent criminals. Read that article here: Puyallup council extends halfway house moratorium for another six months. We hope to help the City of Puyallup and other jurisdictions as they work to keep our neighborhoods safe.
Specifically, House Bill 1232 adds five conditions to the housing voucher program for sex offenders:
1. Rules for property owners to notify local governments about intended facilities for sex offenders;
2. Requires facility compliance with local zoning policies and other regulations;
3. A maximum of three registered sex offenders in one location;
4. Department of Corrections notification to local governments regarding the name and risk level of offenders; and
5. Requires distance between facilities that house registered sex offenders, and requires distance from schools and child care facilities.
House Bill 1232 will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, January 29, at 8 a.m. in the O'Brien Building, hearing room D. The companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 5105 sponsored by Sen. Bruce Dammeier, will be heard in the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee on Thursday, January 31, at 10 a.m. in the Cherberg Building, hearing room 1. You're welcome to come down to testify on these bills or be in the audience to support those who are testifying.
For other news about the Legislature and an outlook on the coming weeks, watch my latest video update here. Keep in touch.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000