Bipartisan effort sends constitutional amendment to the ballot
StoryThe Washington State Legislature today sent to the voters a referendum to the people to amend the state constitution. If approved by voters in November, the “Lakewood Law Enforcement Memorial Act,” would allow judges the discretion to deny bail to accused offenders who are facing life in prison if there is “clear and convincing evidence of a propensity for violence that creates substantial likelihood of danger to the community.”
“This is a major step forward for the protection of our community and the men and women in uniform who serve it,” said Metropolitan King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn who Chairs the Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. “I applaud the legislature for compromising and getting it done.”
The legislation, HJR 4220, was spearheaded by Representatives Mike Hope (R-44th) and Christopher Hurst (D-31st) with support from Governor Christine Gregoire. After passage of different versions by the House and Senate, these legislators worked with the Governor on a compromise acceptable to both bodies.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the bipartisan leadership of these fine legislators. They worked tirelessly on behalf of our communities,” Dunn said.
In February, the King County Council adopted motion 2010-0048, sponsored by Councilmember Dunn, to support the bill to enact this Constitutional amendment. Along with the rest of the state, Dunn was horrified by the murder of four Lakewood police officers last fall. Not only did Dunn sponsor a motion, but he went to Olympia three times to lobby for its passage.
“Law enforcement officers are close to my heart,” Dunn said. “As a former federal prosecutor, I saw first hand how hard they worked and how they put their life on the line for others. In the federal system, judges have the ability to deny bail. It’s a power that is sorely missing from the state system.”