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.

Legislative Session 2018 

2018 was an extremely active legislative session with a number of victories and positive movement forward on a variety of public defense related issues. In addition to the increase of funding for State Office of Public Defense appellate and parents representation contract attorneys, another of our proactive priorities, the Washington Fair Chance Act” passed after several years of advocacy. Other significant legislation that will positively affect our clients include juvenile auto-decline reform, LFO reform, the creation of a DOC Ombudsman Office, the compromise on the deadly force initiative as well as increased funding to meet the needs of the Trueblood settlement. Funding also was included in the budget for the Sentencing Guidelines Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the SRA. Click here for a list of bills that passed this session.

Unfortunately, time ran out or there was a lack of political will in passing the repeal of the death penalty, DWLS 3 reform, juvenile sexting, and expansion of the Parent Sentencing Alternative. We’ll be continuing our work on those issues during the interim. Please contact Christie Hedman if you have any questions or are interested in our legislative work.

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 visit our Amicus Advocacy page.