"When you start getting into the question of how to compensate someone, it's hard to answer," said Lara Zarowsky, a policy staff attorney with the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic at the University of Washington. "We have these people who are actually innocent, and they're really struggling … It's hard to get a job for anyone, and especially for someone who has to explain a 17-year gap in employment history."
Hargrove's bill is scheduled for a hearing in the state Senate committee he chairs on Feb. 1. Northrop plans to testify in favor of the legislation -- because even if he doesn't think $20,000 per year is enough, it is more than he has now.
"I could really use it right now," Northrop said. "I'm struggling big time."