Republican’s Failure to Compromise Would Leave Dangerous Parolees Without Supervision And Gut Public Health Staffing

The march toward government shutdown continues again today in Olympia as Senate Republicans are still not making a legitimate effort toward compromise.  Governor Inslee and Democrats have offered new middle-ground compromise proposals that The Olympian Editorial Board earlier this week said “makes a lot of sense” and continue to try and break the stalemate.

Enthusiasm for the Republican approach of delaying and denying compromise seems to be limited. According to the Seattle Times, less than a half of dozen people attended their rally in support of their budget on Wednesday.

With less than 2 days left of the second special session and less than 5 days until government shutdown, it’s long past time to get serious. A government shutdown would have significant impacts on the public safety and public health of Washington families.

Potential impacts to public safety include:

  • Completely halting new admissions to Department of Corrections, putting pressure on counties to hold offenders.
  • Ending notifications of prison releases to law enforcement and/or victims.
  • Community supervision will be limited to offenders under the Interstate Compact in accordance with federal law; all other supervision will be suspended, including sexually violent predators.
  • Limited ability to coordinate emergency response to incidents such as prison disturbances, major criminal behavior in the community threatening public safety, or natural disasters.
  • 3,000 prison employees will be laid off.

Potential impacts to public health include:

  • Department of Health will be left with a single employee to monitor the state for life-threatening emergencies such as food-borne illnesses, outbreaks of diseases transferred from animals to humans, radiological and nuclear emergencies, poisoning from shellfish toxins, and contaminated drinking water.
  • Processing of license applications for health care professions regulated by Department will be halted and only three employees will be left to receive and investigate complaints against health care professionals or facilities. 
  • Services to clients with HIV will be suspended.

“The path to averting a government shutdown is very simple,” said Jamal Raad, Communications Director for the Washington State Democrats. “Republicans need to meet Democrats halfway so we can spare Washington families of the devastating effects of a government shutdown. The safety and health of Washingtonians are too important to play political games over. It’s time to compromise.”