Senate GOP leaders sounded off Friday about Senate Bill (SB) 1078, which passed the senior chamber and is now headed to Gov. Inslee's desk for signing.

The bill, proposed by a group of west side Democratic leaders, automatically restores a felon's rights to vote upon release from prison or state detention.

It also relieves them of any financial or other responsibility before voting. It used to be a felon had to fully satisfy all terms of their conviction before they could vote. Even if a criminal did their time behind bars, they may still have fines to pay, and/or community service. Some even must complete counseling or alcohol treatment programs.

However, SB 1078 restores their right to vote the day they walk out.

Senator Jeff Wilson, (R-Longview) said this about the passage:

 “Where is the voice of the victims?”

Washington courts can set financial restitution and penalties during sentencing, and under the current system, all monies and responsibilities owed to the victims must be satisfied before voting rights restored. It works in the same general matter as gun rights; except those are harder to get back.

Wilson says this bill is part of a series of legislative proposals by Senate and House Democrats that show exessive sympathy towards criminals, while ignoring victims. He stopped short of calling his fellow Senators soft on crime but did say the majority party's sympathy for criminals should be balanced with respect for victims and their families.

Most of the crime related legislation pushed by Democrats, who control the Senate by a slim margin, with a wider one in the State House, have lessened penalties for criminals and placed obstacles in front of law enforcement.

SB 1078 passed 27-22, although 2 Democrats sided with all the GOP members, who all voted no.

Lives of victims in WA state have taken another blow from a soft on crime bill.


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