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The WDA Legislative Advocacy Program

2017 Legislative Session

The Third Special Session of the 2017 Washington State Legislature finally came to a close on July 20, 2017 despite lack of resolution on the capital budget.  It is unclear when the impasse will be resolved although there are rumors that a one-day special session may be called in the coming months to pass the budget.  Although generally the capital budget is of lesser concern to public defenders, its lack of passage is negatively affecting a number of projects including slowing down renovations at Western State Hospital that are to address safety and capacity issues.  

The good news is that in the 2017 Operating Budget, which was passed at the end of June, public defense funding remained whole, and appellate public defenders and defenders in the Parent’s Representation Program funded by the State Office of Public Defense (OPD) will receive small raises (splitting an additional $432,000 each year). $188,000 of it was set aside for social worker contracts through OPD.  The increase was significantly less than the $6.65 million that was requested, and OPD plans to renew its request for increased funding and parity with the Attorney General’s Office next year. 

Additionally, the Parent’s Representation Program will expand to a statewide program with a $5.75 million appropriation for the biennium, adding Adams, Douglas, Island, Lewis, Okanogan, San Juan and Walla Walla counties, along with the balance of Pierce County not included in the program. 

Here is a link to the new bills that passed for the 2017 Legislative Session.

We Need Your Help

The legislative committee is looking for members to review bills and testify.  Please let Christie Hedman know if you are interested in assisting.

Further information on the legislature and the legislative session may be found at

If you are interested in participating in the committee or have questions about our legislative program, please contact Christie Hedman at 206-623-4321.

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