Rep. Hurst Fails to Act to Punish Child Abusers

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On January 28, State Rep. Mike Hope sent a letter to Rep. Chris Hurst, chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, to request a hearing for HB 1724, which would increase the penalties for first-time child abuse offenders.

The legislation came out of the actions of the parents of Eryk Woodruff, who was beaten by babysitter Matthew Christiansen.

According to what Hurst told KOMO News, "the bill's timing is off ... the bill was introduced too late in the session to beat the cutoff, and there isn't much he can do."

The legislative session began on January 12th, and the hearing was requested January 28th. The 17th day of a 105-day session is too late to introduce a bill? Granted, they don't introduce new bills through the whole session, and the cutoff for this bill is the end of next week. But Hurst got the request two weeks ago.

And he obviously isn't enthusiastic about the bill, saying "increasing prison time for offenders would cost millions of dollars for the state at a time when lawmakers are looking far and wide for ways to cut costs."

That's nonsense for two obvious reasons. First, if taken to its logical conclusion, we should just not incarcerate anyone. The first and primary function of government is to protect the citizenry in its life, liberty, and property, which means keeping dangerous felons off the street. Saying "there's not enough money to protect people from criminals" is never rational, especially when these are the worst criminals that most need incarceration.

Second, changing the law now won't have any impact on any budget for several years, since it would only apply to new sentences, not existing ones. As the law would increase jail time from 8-to-10 years to 10-to-18 years, even considering parole this will take about five years to have any cost impact.

He could have scheduled a hearing two weeks ago, and his reasons for opposing it on its merits are, well, meritless. Clearly, Hurst isn't being forthcoming. Contact Hurst and let him know that you know.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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