SEATTLE - Decades after American Indians were arrested for exercising treaty-protected fishing rights during the "Fish Wars," a proposal in the state Legislature would give those who were jailed a chance to clear their convictions from the record.
During fish-ins and other civil disobedience protests of the 1960s and 1970s, tribal members and others were roughed up, harassed and arrested while asserting their right to fish for salmon in violation of state regulations at the time.
Rep. David Sawyer, a Democrat from Tacoma, is the prime sponsor of the bill. He says it's time to allow people to clear those charges.
Lawmakers are hearing public testimony Tuesday afternoon.
Under House Bill 2080, tribal members who were arrested before 1975 could apply to the court to expunge their misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony convictions if they were exercising their treaty fishing rights.