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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
People continue to feel less safe and secure in their homes and communities. At a time when some in Olympia want to decrease penalties for drive-by shootings and other violent crimes, pay prison inmates minimum wage, and reduce penalties for certain gang related crimes, some of us are offering solutions to hold criminals accountable.
One of the first things we should do is make hard drugs illegal again. In 2021, the state Supreme Court's Blake decision decriminalized drug possession. Instead of rewriting the law to address the court's concerns, the Legislature has offered a temporary fix that has had no impact on the rampant drug use we see around the state.
I'm sponsoring House Bill 1415 which would be a simple, permanent, one-word “fix” to the Blake decision by adding the word “knowingly” to the statute. If a person “knowingly” possess a controlled substance, they can be arrested. Oftentimes, the arrest starts the process of getting an individual the assistance and services they need.
You can click here to watch my short video update on this legislation.
What do you think? Should the Legislature make hard drugs illegal again? Click here to take my one-question survey.
Below are the results from last week's survey. If you didn't have a chance to take that survey and want to, you can click here.
I'm also sponsoring legislation (House Bill 1682) that would increase funding for preventing, investigating, and prosecuting auto theft statewide.
Since the end of 2021 when several new laws went into effect, auto thefts have increased 93%, according to a report by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC). One of the most impactful of these laws was the inability for law enforcement to pursue criminals unless they have “probable cause.” This has prevented most police pursuits and the criminals know it. And, they know they can attempt to steal cars with impunity because unless the police actually see the crime being committed, they don't have “probable cause.”
We need to fix this and take the legal standard back to “reasonable suspicion.” I am cosponsoring bipartisan legislation (House Bill 1363) to do just that. Unfortunately, it looks like one powerful Democrat Senator may be holding this proposal up. She would prefer to “study the issue” to see if a legislative fix is needed. I think the thousands of victims of auto theft would agree – it is!
And finally, in an effort to get more cops on the streets, I am sponsoring legislation (House Bill 1461) to create a pilot program to provide law enforcement training in eastern Washington.
Washington state ranks last in the nation for law enforcement per capita. We have a law enforcement personnel crisis that is only going to get worse if we do not find solutions to fix this problem. My bill alone won't bring us up to the numbers we need, but it is part of the solution. In addition, as a former law enforcement officer, I am a firm believer in training officers WHERE they are going to serve. Currently, the only law enforcement training is on the west side of the state.
Thank you for staying involved. Know that I am working hard on your behalf to bring our shared priorities, values, and principles to the Legislature every day. It is an honor to serve you.
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