Roberts decries end of sentencing bill

After the Legislature passed its deadline for bills to pass the House or Senate, House Judiciary Committee member Mary Helen Roberts decried the death of a bill that would have eliminated the sentence of life without parole for juveniles.

“Some change in state law is needed to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Miller v Alabama that ruled a mandatory sentence of life without parole to be unconstitutional.”

Roberts said Friday that of bills still alive, her priorities include one extending foster care for some youth until they are 21, noting that the bill will be heard in the Senate this week; another works to maintain parent-child connections when a parent is incarcerated and limits the circumstances under which parental rights may be terminated; a third diverts into treatment juveniles with mental health problems who have committed a minor crime.

“These last two bills have already been heard in a Senate Committee and I am hopeful that they will continue to move through the process to become law,” Roberts said “I also have other bills that are still in play. My bill dealing with sibling visitation has a Senate companion bill that is more likely to move than my House version.”

Roberts is vice chairwoman of the House committee on public safety and emergency preparedness, and a member of the rules committee and the committee on early learning and human services, in addition to her position on the judiciary committee. She is a Democrat representing the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, north Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

Ryu says callers asked thoughtful questions during telephone town-hall event

State Rep. Cindy Ryu says that she and fellow Democratic 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi heard many “relevant and thoughtful questions” during a telephone town hall event last week, with about 6,000 people participating.

“During that hour, we covered many topics, including education, budget, transportation funding, the two-thirds ruling, Point Wells, and veterans’ affairs,” she said Thursday. “This was my first ‘Tele-Town Hall,’ and I enjoyed it. I truly appreciated everyone caring enough to answer their phones and listening in as well as asking very relevant and thoughtful questions.”

Ryu and Kagi represent Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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