Click here to watch “The Impact” 1/18/2017On “The Impact” – January 18, 2017:
Proposed legislation would abolish the death penalty in the state of Washington. The legislation has support from Governor Jay Inslee-D, Attorney General Bob Ferguson-D, former Attorney General Rob McKenna-R and a list of state senators and representatives from both sides of the aisle.
“I’ve been making speeches and introducing legislation to overturn the death penalty since the late 90’s,” said Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way. “How do we show mercy to our enemies, to those people who may have committed an evil? How can we show mercy and at the same time work for public safety? This bill does both- working for mercy, repentance, and public safety.”
“The bill we are proposing today is straightforward. It eliminates the death penalty in Washington state as a sentencing option for aggravated murder. It mandates instead a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson-D.
“The sad fact is that whether you are charged with, convicted of, and sentenced to die depends a lot on where you live and where you commit the crime. And that kind of arbitrariness is not a recipe for justice. It is a recipe for injustice. And that is another reason why in this state it is time to repeal the death penalty,” said former Attorney General Rob McKenna-R.
“In Washington state we actually have had one person exonerated off death row. And I think as legislators we’re really trying to say how do we create a system, how do we create a system supports the victims’ families? How do we have a system that’s fair? How do we create a system that we know the community is safe and at the same time not risk taking any innocent lives? And that’s why I’m standing here today,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines. “I think there is a system we can propose that balances all those things.”
“This is as difficult of an issue as it gets in public life. In part because the families that have been touched by the tragedy that leads to these criminal prosecutions go beyond our imagination and we all feel deeply their suffering,” said Governor Jay Inslee (D).
“It’s absolutely clear the death penalty cases are unequally applied in the state of Washington. They are frequently overturned and they are always costly. I could not in good conscience allow executions to continue under my watch as Governor under these conditions. This inequality of state sanctioned violence can no longer stand in the State of Washington.”
The legislation also faces opposition.
“Here’s the way I, I take a look at this issue. I think because, I value, and it also comes from a religious viewpoint, I value human life as so precious, unique, and important that when someone through deliberate, malicious action takes precious human life, the only punishment that comes close to being a just one is that that person is then forfeit their life,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place. “For me the most important argument on the other side was one that former Attorney General Rob McKenna raised in that press conference and that is the long appellate process that we have allowed to happen, that I think can be reformed.”
Later in this episode we examine the status of legal marijuana in the state of Washington and what to expect if the federal government cracks down on it. The Director of the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, Rick Garza, joins us for a one-on-one interview.
“I mean I think it ends up in the courts. The states would take the position it’s a state’s rights position to be able to legalize marijuana,” said Garza. “But I don’t think there’s any reason to think about that right now given what we’ve heard.”
Another topic we cover involves proposed hate crime legislation meant to protect police.