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Tell Olympia: Patients Deserve Safe Access to Medical Marijuana

Washington patients suffering from diseases like cancer, HIV, and MS do not have safe access to medical marijuana. We should not force seriously ill people and their families to turn to the black market. It doesn't have to be this way. Tell your senator to support Senate Bill 5073 which creates state-licensed dispensaries that will provide adequate, safe, and secure sources of medical marijuana.  Read More »

We Hear You, Now Listen: Voices Against the Death Penalty

My intense passion for righting wrongs came before any desire to work within legislation or politics. I became involved with social justice issues during my days as a Catholic schoolgirl, and although the dogma eventually disappeared, the need to help others remained.  In choosing an externship, the ACLU was my first choice, and a natural fit.  As I’ve learned more about its work, I’ve found that my gut reaction to the issues has been spot on.  Read More »

Stop the Violence: We Need Better Police Training

Last week, we learned that the King County Prosecutor decided not to criminally chargeformer Seattle police officer Ian Birk with the murder of John T. Williams. Last month, the Spokane County Prosecutor declined to bring criminal charges against Deputy Brian Hirzel for the murder of Pastor Wayne Creach. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in police-involved deaths in places such as Tacoma, Federal Way, and Gold Bar.  All officers would benefit from improved training to learn how to reduce these deadly interactions. Read More »

U.S. State Department to Make Passport Forms Gender Neutral

Great news! In “recognition of different types of families,” the U.S. State Department has announced its decision to offer gender neutral passport applications. These revised applications, which become available next month, will replace the terms “mother” and “father” with “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” and “remove significant challenges for the two million children being parented by [LGBTQ] parents.” This is another positive step by the State Department in relationship to LGBTQ community; last year the department modified a previous rule that transgender applicants could not modify their passport gender designation unless they had undergone gender reassignment surgery. Read More »

Your Right to Take to the Streets

Working in my office in downtown Seattle last Wednesday afternoon, I was pleased to hear the sounds of chanting and looked out to see people peacefully marching down the street holding signs. As spring inches its way to Seattle, I hope we will see more of the same, with people bringing their varied messages to the streets, sidewalks, parks, and squares all around our city. Read More »

Immigration Reform Starts with Hope

I am a proud, naturalized American citizen who believes firmly that immigration reform needs to begin from a positive starting point, not a negative one rooted in criminalization and stripping immigrants of basic civil rights. I arrived in California as a refugee when I was five years old and gained my citizenship as a teenager. This process was spurred on by my mother, who had heard rumors that the US would be deporting all non-citizen immigrants including those with legal status. My family couldn’t afford to all apply for citizenship at once so my mother and father, being the typical self-sacrificing immigrant parents, started my paperwork first, even with the false specter of deportation over their own heads. Read More »

Officer Birk and the SPD's Bigger Problem

I can understand why many people in Seattle are angry that Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk will not be charged with murder. If you or I intentionally shot and killed someone who was not an immediate threat to us, we would be charged with murder or at the very least manslaughter. But the law treats police officers differently. In 1986, Washington’s legislature passed a law that allows police officers to escape criminal charges for killing a person so long as the officer had a good faith belief that his actions were justified and he acted “without malice.” This law protects the officer even if his “good faith belief” was wrong. So, it is not surprising that King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg believed that he would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Birk murdered John T. Williams. Read More »

Take a Stand for Free Speech! Limit Political Surveillance.

On February 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill to curb political surveillance. Washington needs this legislation to protect free speech. Law enforcement agencies in Washington have monitored, collected, and shared phone calls, e-mails, and records of innocent people without suspecting criminal activity. Tell your senator to protect our rights by supporting SB 5048Read More »

Help Curb Profiling! Keep Up Pressure Against the Gang Bill.

Opposition to the Attorney General's gang bill is growing. So far, more than 50 groups from across Washington have come out against the proposal. Now we need your help to prevent it from advancing. Please tell House Leadership to stop this bill that won't reduce crime but will lead to profiling in communities of color.  Read More »

Legislators Hear Why We Should Tax and Regulate Marijuana

Last week the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee dedicated an entire two hour hearing to HB 1550, which would tax and regulate adult marijuana use. It seems that legislators are finally giving this issue the attention it deserves. Read More »