The following are highlights from the KCBA Board of Trustees meetings held July 23 and August 22, and convened by KCBA President Richard Mitchell.
Trustees began the new membership year with a review of recent KCBA public policy and association policy decisions. Trustee Dan Kilpatric briefed the trustees on KCBA's long-term involvement in drug policy reform issues, including KCBA's development of the Drug Policy Project, which was a coalition with various organizations from the medical and social service fields that had similar interests in challenging the traditional "War on Drugs" approach.
Trustee Victor King reported on the bar's support, beginning in early 2005, for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Since that time, KCBA has supported various proposals relating to this issue, including the passage of domestic partnership legislation and most recently the same-sex marriage law approved earlier this year in Olympia.
Second Vice President Steven Rovig discussed KCBA's most recent position on an immigration-related issue. In response to anti-immigrant legislation enacted by the Arizona legislature, KCBA passed a resolution encouraging Washington's elected officials to oppose similar proposals in this state.
Trustee Kathleen Royer then briefed the trustees on the bar's recent adoption of a new definition of diversity that expands beyond ethnic diversity to include a broader definition encompassing all individuals who self-identify with those groups historically discriminated against or which are underrepresented in the legal profession because of sexual orientation, disability and gender.
Finally, First Vice President Anne Daly reported on the bar's recent resolution supporting the elimination of life without possibility of parole for juveniles. She explained how Washington sentencing laws for juveniles work and how discretion in sentencing is removed from the judge in proceedings where the juvenile is being charged as an adult.
Mitchell then introduced a new topic for discussion: the growing problem of new lawyers today who are unemployed or underemployed. He reviewed his discussions with faculty at Seattle University School of Law, which has begun exploring new approaches to this problem. Special guests Bill Becker, Jack Kirkwood and Gregory Silverman, each affiliated with the law school, gave presentations on their initial discussions about potential new residency programs. Board members expressed interest in continuing to discuss this form of new lawyer training.
Andrew Maron, chair of the Public Policy Committee, briefed the trustees on the committee's accomplishments for the past year, including the development of criteria to be used for consideration and selection of priority public policy issues; identification of approximately 20 current public policy issues of interest; briefings on six specific topics of interest; and creation of subcommittees to study three specific issues: (1) court funding; (2) death penalty; and (3) initiative/referendum reform.
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