Maycumber bills would make drugs illegal again, address auto thefts, and get more cops on the street

‘We’ve seen this dangerous shift the last few years with Olympia adopting laws that seem to favor criminals over victims,’ says Maycumber

According to the Washington State Department of Health, overdose deaths in our state in 2021 increased by 66% from 2019.

In a similar fashion, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, auto thefts in Washington state have increased by 93% since a number of new police “reform” measures went into effect at the end of July, 2021.

Additionally, depending on the year, Washington state historically ranks as the last or second-to-last state in the nation for law enforcement per capita.

Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, a former law enforcement officer, is introducing legislation in Olympia to address all three.

Maycumber, R-Republic, says it’s time lawmakers start focusing on the safety of families and communities rather than passing laws that favor criminals.

“We’ve seen this dangerous shift the last few years with Olympia adopting laws that seem to favor criminals over victims,” said Maycumber. “All three of these issues tie into each other. Because drug possession is no longer illegal, we have more drug addicts stealing more cars to fuel their drug habits, and at the same time, we have less law enforcement to investigate and prosecute auto theft. It’s going to get worse if we don’t do something now to get addicts the help they need and more resources, including more law enforcement, directed at the auto theft crisis in our state.”

In 2021, the state Supreme Court’s Blake decision decriminalized Washington’s drug possession law. Instead of rewriting the law to address the court’s concerns, lawmakers in Olympia have implemented a temporary fix that has done nothing to stem the tide of drug abuse in our communities, says Maycumber.

Her House Bill 1415 is a one-word, permanent “fix” to the Blake decision. It adds the word “knowingly” into statute. If someone “knowingly” has drugs on them or is using them, law enforcement can make an arrest and begin the process of getting the individual the help they need.

“Oftentimes, the arrest is what helps people get out of the immediate drug-induced crisis that they’re in,” said Maycumber. “Getting them away from the bad influences around them and into various programs and offering services is a much more humane and effective way to handle drug abuse. Doing nothing and allowing hard drugs to be used around our schools and children, is not the right way to go.”

Maycumber’s House Bill 1682 would direct more resources for the prevention, investigating, and prosecuting of auto theft at the local level.

“It doesn’t matter if you live in Olympia or Okanogan. I think most of us know someone who has been impacted by the rise in auto thefts,” said Maycumber. “Our local municipalities are being overwhelmed by the increase in auto theft and need more resources to combat a problem that the state is partially to blame for.”

Maycumber’s last bill, House Bill 1461, would create a pilot program to provide law enforcement training in eastern Washington.

“We know we need more cops on the street,” said Maycumber. “We’re last – or near last – in the nation for law enforcement per capita. The only law enforcement training is on the west side of the state. I’ve been an advocate for community policing for years. I believe training more law enforcement in the areas they’re going to serve is another step toward this proven, effective means of policing.

“I know the individuals, families, and parents in my district want legislators to address the issue of public safety, first and foremost,” said Maycumber. “They are feeling less safe and secure in their homes and neighborhoods. Lawmakers need to step up and provide leadership to help make our communities safe again.”

The 105-day 2023 legislative session began in Olympia on Jan. 9.


Washington State House Republican Communications