A bill that would prohibit any future state contracts with Second Chance may be shelved without a legislative hearing.
Rep. Mark Sterk said he learned Tuesday that the Government Administration Committee isn’t likely to have time to hear the bill and six others filed last week because of the shorter 60-day session.
The Spokane Valley Republican co-sponsored the bill targeting the private company that runs work release programs in Spokane and Seattle.
Such an outcome riles Spokane parents and business owners who fought the placement of a work release center in the Brownstone building downtown. When legal protests to the city and a Superior Court judge failed to stop the project, they hoped to find relief in Olympia.
“I’m extremely disappointed that Mark Sterk has gotten this bill so far, only to have it stopped on a technicality,” said Patty Marinos, director of Dynamic Christian Academy. “I think Washington state deserves a chance to hear it.”
“We’re not going to give up,” said Susan Davis, owner of Destiny Floral & Gifts, 417 S. Browne.
Second Chance has run state and federal work release programs at Third and Browne since Jan. 12.
Political opposition to the company has focused on Second Chance’s record statewide and the Spokane center’s proximity to two private schools, a high school, a day-care center and a skateboard park, all within six blocks.
Sterk vowed that his concern about work release won’t end when this session does.
“I’m not so much interested in closing (Second Chance’s) doors as much as making them come to the table and talk.”
But Brownstone opponents felt shaken that their day at the Capitol may never come.
“We’re upset and we’re running out of ideas.” said Jeff Messner, whose children attend Dynamic Christian.