Legislative and Policy Advocacy

WDA’s legislative advocacy program is coordinated with the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL).  We share a lobbyist, Bob Cooper, and staff oversee various issues and advocacy efforts under the guidance of our joint Legislative Committee.

2018 Legislative Session

We are gearing up for the 2018 legislative session that starts January 8, 2018.  It is a “short” 60-day session and officially ends March 8 (although there are indications that it may end a few days early if Democratic leadership has its way). With Democratic leadership in both houses and in the governor’s office, we expect that a significant portion of our proactive legislation that was stymied in recent years has a good chance of passage this session.

WDA and WACDL met with Governor Inslee in November and shared our legislative priorities. The priorities include supporting the State Office of Public Defense’s budget request as well as the Washington Fair Chance Act (Ban the Box), and Keep Washington Working Act which provide protections for those with criminal convictions and non-citizen clients.  Sealing and vacation reform also is a high priority. The governor reported that mental health and substance abuse treatment funding are high priorities for his office.

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.

Amicus Work

WDA appears on behalf of indigent persons, public defenders and other criminal defense attorneys on issues relating to due process, access to justice, criminal defense and the rights of indigent persons.

If you are handling a matter at the appellate level that you would like WDA to provide amicus briefing on, or to sign on to your amicus, please contact Hillary Behrman.