Washington Dems say convicted sex offender should serve on ‘Sex Offense Policy Board’

They also seek to change the name to the “Sex Offense Policy Board” so as not to offend sexual predators.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A bill sponsored by Washington Democrats would require that a convicted sex offender be one of the members of the State Sex Offender Policy Board and change the name to the “Sex Offense Policy Board” so as not to offend sexual predators.

Ex-con and Democratic Rep. Tarra Simmons sponsored House Bill 2177, which would require a victim of a sex offense to serve with the sex offender to “diversify” the makeup of the board.

At a public hearing for the bill on Jan. 16, Simmons said, “…while some people may have a stigma for people who have committed a sex offense, I think they have invaluable information to share that can really guide this board.”

She added that her background as an ex-convict, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2011 for theft, drug, and firearm crimes, brought “…lived experience that was missing here.”

Brad Meryhew, chair of the Washington State Sex Offender Policy Board, who boasted about defending sex offenders on his website before it was scrubbed, and previously worked to rollback restrictions on sex offenders and community notification, also testified that “one of the things that we try very hard to do on the board is to facilitate as many diverse voices as we can at the table. We invite to the table many stakeholders, including those impacted by these policies.”

Alex Mayo, who is with an organization that represents convicted sex offenders called Washington Voices, told the committee that the bill would “increase diversity of perspectives on the Sex Offender Policy Board. For far too long we have been focused solely on punishment. Our policies also need to address healing and prevention.”

In 2023, Washington Democrats were slammed for releasing level 3 sex offenders deemed "the worst of the worst" and most likely to re-offend from the prison on McNeil Island to Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA) housing in unsuspecting communities. In 2021, Democrats passed legislation to depopulate McNeil and more easily distribute sexually violent predators across the state. 

This legislative session, Democrats led by Simmons, are also considering a new bill that would make it easier for level 3 sex offenders, rated the “worst of the worst” and most likely to re-offend, to renter society.

The radical and her Democratic colleagues are also bringing forward a bill that would allow misdemeanors to be dismissed, including assault, stalking, assault with sexual motivation, firearms offenses, and more.

Simmons is also attempting to pass legislation that would allow felons, including serial killers, to vote, serve on a jury and even run for office while incarcerated.

Before the session began, Simmons pre-filed a bill that would give judges clemency powers to unilaterally decide to reduce sentences for violent offenders years later, even if the facts of a case have not changed.

In 2023, Simmons was unsuccessful in attempting to reduce penalties for drive-by shootings to promote "racial equity." She proposed the legislation even as the state has grappled with a spike in crime and record homicides.
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