Session Update! CLS advocates are working hard to advance racial and economic equity in Washington this legislative session. Here’s an update from week four:


Fighting for free communications between people in prison and their families: SB 6021

People in prison need to keep in touch with their families. We all know the importance of family bonds and research confirms that frequent contact with loved ones decreases rates of violence in prison and increases successful re-entries after release. For every 20-minute phone call home, the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) receives $0.40 in commissions from the state-contracted private telecom vendor. Last year, DOC reported making over $2 million in commissions off of people in prison and their families making phone calls. Video calls are even more costly.

People in prison earn as little as $1.00/hour, meaning many full-time employees who are incarcerated earn $40 per week before mandatory deductions. Washington state and its private contractors should not profit off people in prison and their families staying connected. CLS is working with a coalition to make phone calls and email messages in Washington prisons free.

Scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee this Thursday, February 1 at 1:30pm – sign in pro!

Where are CLS’ other priority bills right now?

Promoting Oversight of Local Jails (SB 6189, Sen. Saldaña): This bill was referred to Ways & Means.

Rights for Vehicle Residents (HB 2359, Rep. Peterson): This bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow.

Protecting Tenants from Deceptive Landlord Practices (HB 2114/SB 5961, Rep. Alvarado/Sen. Trudeau): HB 2114 was heard in House Appropriations committee on Jan 24th.

Supporting immigrant equity in state programs (SB 5109/HB 1095, Sen. Saldaña/Rep. Walen): We are encouraging the Senate Ways and Means committee to schedule SB 5109 for a hearing.

SB 6021: Eliminating Communication Expenses for People in Prison

February 1st @ 1:30 pm in the Senate Ways & Means Committee

What you can do to support:

  • Take 1 minute and log in as “pro” prior to the hearing tomorrow! Click here and fill in your information. This is an easy way to support that only takes a second!

You have until 12:30 pm on February 1st to sign in!

Stay tuned for more updates and learn more about CLS’ 2024 legislative efforts here.