Legislator of the week – Jeannie Darneille

Every Friday during session, the Bus gives its Legislator of the Week award. Nominations are culled from our homeskillets in media, politics, and the non-profit worlds.

Best hair in the House.

Best hair in the House.

Ah, America. If you’re a citizen of age, you have the right to the ballot, and concurrently, the responsibility of directing your government. All citizens enjoy this right. All of them.


Except for some of them. That would be convicted felons, who remain without their right to vote, even after their sentences are complete.

Here’s the deal. The Bus believes that democracy works best when the most voices are heard. And that includes people who have been incarcerated. Furthermore, if you truly want someone to re-integrate into society, why would you deny this most basic principle of community engagement?

And this is not just a “better democracy” issue (as if a better democracy were not reason enough) – 59% of felons in Washington are under 35. That means a huge percentage of people our age can’t participate in the democratic process. That means our generation’s voice is stifled.

Luckily, there’s a bill that would give convicted felons their voting rights back once they are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections. It’s a basic civil right bill, and would bring Washington into line with most other states, but there’s a strong and steady opposition.

The bill, HB 1517, passed through the House of Representatives this week, making it through just before the final cut-off day. Representative Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma), the prime sponsor, helped shepherd this bill through, and for her hard work to make democracy stronger and increase young peoples’ voice, we are giving her the Legislator of the Week award. Democracy thanks you, Jeannie!


2 Responses to “Legislator of the week – Jeannie Darneille”

  1. 1 TheRealAdam
    March 13, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Finally, jeez. My uncle has been out for years, and can’t vote. Pisses him off, and me too. Let me know how I can help get this thing done.

  2. 2 washingtonbus
    March 13, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Most definitely. There are a couple good ways: one is, if you haven’t already, sign up on the Bus’s website (www.washingtonbus.org) to get plugged in. Second, Facebook the Bus, follow us on Twitter, and check back here regularly. That’s the quickest way to hear about things as they pop up, and signing up at the website will finish it up.

    Good to have you on board!

    The Bus

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