The work of the people stalled to ensure felons have the right to vote

'Priorities of Legislature confuse the public,' says Kretz

Working late again March 10, Rep. Joel Kretz was astounded that instead of tackling the $8 billion budget deficit or addressing the needs of our most vulnerable populations, House Democrats instead passed House Bill 1517.

The measure would give felons the ability to vote once they're released from state custody, including the completion of parole or probation. Under current law, convicted felons in Washington are not allowed to vote until they have served their sentence and paid all restitution and legal fees.

“I feel like I'm in some alternate universe,” said Kretz. “Where are their priorities? Today I had a constituent call upset that bills she supported to help disabled individuals could not even get a public hearing in the Legislature, but a bill to let felons vote had passed. She was rightfully disgusted and extremely angry.”

Kretz said he is disappointed that House Republican ideas and solutions to the state's pressing issues have been couched to make time to pass bills like felon voter rights.

“What do I tell that person? Saying 'sorry' just doesn't cut it when peoples' lives hang in the balance with our decisions,” Kretz explained. “I am fighting for the things my constituents have told me are priorities in state government – schools, public safety, vulnerable populations – all while Democrats pass bills that coddle dangerous felons and fail to solve critical issues like protecting families.”

Important work remains on the table, Kretz said, while Democrats insist we debate and vote on bills that do not help workers keep their jobs, employers keep their employees or  families make ends meet.

“We can and should do better for the people of Washington state,” Kretz said.

Since the Legislature convened Jan. 12, Washington has lost 25,728 jobs. That amounts to 443 job losses every day of the 2009 legislative session.


Washington State House Republican Communications