Sex Offender Issue Roils Politics In Washington State


Democrats in Washington State’s House of Representatives are criticizing Republicans for mailing out 25,000 postcards that accuse certain lawmakers of being soft on crime and protecting violent sex offenders. The postcards show a mug shot of a middle-age man with slicked-back hair. His eyes and his name are blacked out. The cards carry a bold headline that reads, “This violent predator lives in your community.” They describe sex crimes supposedly committed by the person, mention the name of a Democratic lawmaker and claim the legislator “refused to impose life sentences for violent sex predators.” The cards are part of a $75,000 Republican ad campaign that Democrats say is targeting lawmakers in swing districts for the November election.

The attack ads are based on a vote taken the first day of the legislative session after House Republicans asked for an immediate floor debate on a newly drafted, 116-page sex-offender bill. The measure would crack down on sex offenders, including imposition of lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. Since the session had just started, no hearing had been held on the bill and lawmakers hadn’t had a chance to read it. The GOP motion was rejected on a party-line vote.


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