A proposed WA State House Bill (HB) 2177 would make significant changes to how sex offenders are treated and even described in WA state.

 One of the bill's proposals would be to have a former offender as a board member

 According to information from Jason Rantz of AM 770 KTTH Radio via MyNorthwest.com, the bill demands use of what is called "first person" language. It would change the name of the Sexual Offender Policy Board (SOPD) to "Sexual Offenses Policy Board," so it would not stigmatize offenders.

It would also add a former offender to the board as a member, supporters say the "lived experiences" of the offender would be "invaluable" to the board's input. It would not limit such membership to a Level 1 (lowest level) offender, but a Level 2 or even Level 3 (likely to re-offend) could apply to join.

Supporters of the bill, including some board members, say it brings a much-needed reality check to help them form policy, but opponents say the bill is advocating for sex offenders. According to Rantz:

 "During public testimony at the committee hearing, advocates like Whitney Hunt, a staff member who for the SOPB, defended the legislation. She effectively argued that the change in how sex offenders are discussed treats them equally to their victims."

He says the first-person language is evident-for example- by the attempt to describe pedophiles as "Minor-Attracted Persons."  If the bill passes, the offender who would serve on the board would be described as a “representative with lived experience with incarceration for a sex offense.”

The bill would also propose having a victim of a sexual assault crime also serve on the board. Opponents of the bill say a sexual assault victim is not likely to feel safe or comfortable being on the board knowing there is a convicted sex offender also part of the group.

870 AM KFLD logo
Get our free mobile app

The hearing on the bill was conducted on January 16th, the legislative tracking shows it is still in the House Community Safety, Justice, and Re-Entry Committee.

25 True Crime Locations: What Do They Look Like Today?

Below, find out where 25 of the most infamous crimes in history took place — and what the locations are used for today. (If they've been left standing.)





More From 870 AM KFLD