Gov. Inslee To Spend Millions on Equity Related Policies
Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday, December 14th in his press conference, that he will be proposing $365 million in what he called "equity related policies."
Inslee didn't specifically elaborate what concrete steps would be taken but said that COVID exposed long standing "inequities in our nation" and in Washington state.
He referenced BLM, saying "Black Lives Matter," and mentioned the protests in the summer in Seattle and King County. He said his policies will react to those protests.
He said "policies and budgets will reflect" changes. He said the "legacy of racism" is present in the history of our criminal justice system, and also he said "this year highlighted the shortcomings of our criminal justice system." He is creating an Office of Independent Investigations. He said it will ensure investigations in officer involved shootings and other incidents will be done through the lens of equity.
He said $26 million dollars will be proposed to create this Office. The Office of Equity will also be restored, after being cut due to COVID shortages earlier this year.
Inslee also had House Rep Melanie Morgan on the conference, and she said this will be a time of "racial reconciliation," referring to Inslee's support for his equity legislation. She did not elaborate on what racial reconciliation meant specifically.
Inslee also wants to ban the useage of credit scores in the area of issuing insurance related to auto, homeowner, boat and renter rates. Currently credit scores often are utilized for worthiness. He said this is an example of systemic racism. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler worked with Inslee on this. This proposal will be put before the legislature.
Inslee said those with poor credit often end up paying more than those with good credit, and he claims this is systemic racism because poorer segments of the population often have lower scores.
Kriedler compared using credit scores for insurance with the 1960's long banned practice of red lining, where minorities dominated neighborhoods were 'encircled' in outlines on government maps for what some say were discriminatory practices in education, hosing and industry. Those practices were banned 40-50 years ago.
Inslee also said he will push for legislation to declare Juneteenth (June 19) a state official holiday.
During the press conference, Inslee also mentioned issuing another proclamation putting a 'pause" on the attempted dissolving health departments, such as what is going on in Pierce County. The health department is facing dissolution and reorganization due to issues over COVID response.
During the later phases during Mike Kriedler's portion, the video was lost, and could not be played, but to see and hear the conference up until then, click on the button below.