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Learn More About Our Constitution

Thanks to the folks at WDET 101.9 FM, Detroit’s NPR station, you can learn more about the US Constitution and Bill of Rights through the WDET Book Club.  Whether you prefer books, films or podcasts, WDET has assembled a great list of resources to help you better understand the documents that are the foundation for our democracy.  Register to keep in touch with the Book Club’s activities and you can also receive a free pocket copy of the US Constitution.  If you’d like to help your children learn more about the Constitution, follow this link to the resources the Book Club has assembled with young readers in mind.

GAO Reports Servicemembers Risk Losing Rights

The Government Accountability Office recently reported that servicemembers are at risk of losing valuable rights and protections granted to them by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)  Businesses may ask servicemembers to waive certain rights granted by the SCRA.  Servicemembers are often unaware that they are doing so or have little understanding of the long-term effects.  The rights servicemembers can inadvertently waive include the right to terminate motor vehicle leases early, the right to stay the enforcement of civil court proceedings, and protections against foreclosure.

See a summary of the GAO report here.

See the full GAO report here.

For more information about the report, contact GAO Director Tranchau (Kris) T. Nguyen at (202) 512-7215 or nguyentt@gao.gov

Unpaid Tickets No Longer Grounds for License Suspension

Unpaid traffic fines will no longer be used as grounds for suspending a person’s driver’s license.  Not only that, but licenses that are already suspended – due to fines or a failure to appear for a noncriminal moving violation – will be reinstated.  This moratorium stems from a recent Thurston County court case that led to negotiations between the ACLU and the State of Washington.

The moratorium will be in place until SB 5226 takes effect in 2023 – which will still allow suspensions for failing to appear in court.

You can read the full article from the Seattle Times HERE.

 

Important Changes to Landlord Tenant Laws

The Washington Legislature recently passed a number of important changes to the state’s landlord-tenant laws (generally, at RCW 59.18).  These changes include things like standards for rent repayment plans (as long as the state eviction moratorium is in effect), help for low-income tenants to get legal assistance, support for Eviction Resolution Pilot Programs and a prohibition against “no cause” evictions.

 

The Northwest Justice Project has put together a very good summary of the changes HERE.

Information about King County’s Eviction Resolution Program can be found HERE.

You can find a link to an Eviction Defense Helper HERE.

Behind on Rent? King County Announces New Assistance

Low income residents of King County who are behind on their rent can now apply for a new assistance program.  Recipients will be selected in a weekly lottery-style drawing and can can receive up to 12 months of total rent – including up to three months of future rent.  To qualify for the aid, applicants must be experiencing COVID-related hardships and housing instability.

You can read the entire Seattle Times article HERE.

Renters can apply for the help here: https://rent-help.kingcounty.gov/

White House Fights to Increase Access to Legal Aid

Having legal representation can make all the difference in the world – from keeping someone in their home, to securing proper citizenship status, to protecting people against consumer fraud.  This week, the White House announced that it was reinvigorating federal efforts to provide that critical aid – including a request of $1.5 billion in funding for state and local justice systems.

 

You can read the White House announcement HERE.

The Associated Press story can be read HERE.

 

A New Tool for Tracking Felony Cases in King County

The King County Prosecutor’s Office has launched an online dashboard that lets you track important data bout the felony cases that they’re pursuing.  The tool is an effort to offer more transparency around the number and types of cases being brought in the County – and how it’s being affected by the pandemic.

You can view the dashboard HERE.

You can read and listen to the the full story HERE.