House approves Mosbrucker bill to diversify state’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission

The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill Wednesday by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker that would provide more diversity among members of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission (SGC).

The commission advises the governor and the Legislature on issues relating to adult and juvenile sentencing. Under current law, the SCG consists of 20 voting members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate for three-year terms. It also includes four legislators serving two-year terms as nonvoting members — one from each of the four caucuses in the Legislature.

Under House Bill 1114, four new voting membership positions are added to the SGC to be appointed by the governor.

“What we heard in the commission meetings was that we didn’t have enough of the voices at the table with interests about the issues we were discussing and recommendations we were making,” said Mosbrucker, who serves as a member on the commission.

“This simply adds four new voting members, including one representing the tribes, a representative of the state Supreme Court Minority and Justice Commission, a behavioral health professional with experience working in the criminal justice system, and a person from academia who is well-versed in sociology and/or criminology,” added Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale.

“The experience and knowledge of these additional members will be a valuable asset as the Sentencing Guidelines Commission makes its recommendations to the governor and the Legislature,” noted Mosbrucker. “The need to have a diversity of voices particularly applies to those groups who have been underrepresented in the past, such as the tribes and academics. It’s vital that individuals most affected by sentencing guidelines have a voice policy development. Lived experience is valuable when it comes to sentencing recommendations. This bill will ensure broad experience is on the commission.”

The bill was approved 96-0. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov