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Published on Friday, February 19, 2016

Law & justice bills, where are they post-cutoff?

AWC is following several public safety and law and justice bills that are still on the move this session. Here’s a brief update of where they stand:

HB 2287, Rep. Gina McCabe (R-Goldendale), concerns providing notice to first responders that a person with a disability may be present at the scene of an emergency. Specifically, the bill asks the Department of Health to create a program to train first responders how to best handle situations involving persons with disabilities. It also tasks the Adjutant General to conduct an assessment of the resources necessary to display on the screens of first responders, as part of the enhanced 911 system, information submitted by persons with disabilities or their parents, guardians, or caretakers.

HB 2287 passed the House unanimously and has been referred to the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee.

HB 2764, Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), concerns public defense fund distributions. In 2015 AWC successfully lobbied the Legislature to appropriate an additional $900,000 to cities and counties for public defense services. This comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that limited the number of cases public defenders can take. As a result, jurisdictions have been forced to hire additional defense attorneys with no additional funds to supplement. Unfortunately, the distribution of these funds allotted counties 90 percent and cities 10 percent. HB 2764 seeks to equalize these distributions by allotting counties 50 percent and cities 50 percent.

HB 2764 passed out of the House with a 90-8 vote and has been referred to Senate Ways & Means.

HB 2700, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) and Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick), concerns impaired driving. Over the past several years Reps. Goodman and Klippert introduced, and successfully passed, legislation amending Washington’s DUI laws. Throughout the interims they meet with stakeholders to discuss changes to make. AWC has been a part of that process.

The 2016 iteration would:

  • Prohibit the Department of Licensing (DOL) from destroying records relating to convictions for Reckless Driving or Negligent Driving in the first degree if the offense was originally charged as a driving under the influence (DUI) offense. It would also authorize the DOL to suspend a driver's license when a person served with a traffic-related criminal complaint willfully fails to appear at a requested hearing for a moving violation.
  • Clarify the sentencing enhancement for Vehicular Homicide-DUI offenses.
  • Exempt law enforcement officers from the requirement of arresting and keeping a DUI defendant in custody if the person requires immediate medical attention and is admitted to a hospital.
  • Require DUI Victim Impact Panels (VIP) to use in-person speakers for VIP sessions which may be supplemented with limited prerecorded videos.
  • Authorize the DOL to waive the requirement for written verification of an ignition interlock device (IID) installation from an IID company in certain circumstances.
  • Reduce the time for which: (1) a temporary driver's license is valid; (2) a person arrested for DUI must request a hearing from the DOL regarding his or her license suspension; and (3) a hearing must be held.

HB 2700 passed the House almost unanimously and is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on February 23.

HB 2558, Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), establishes a task force on jail standards. Read more about the bill in our previous Bulletin article here. While AWC is not opposed to the creation of a task force, we have concerns that the recommendations may result in additional unfunded mandates. The bill failed to make the February 17 cutoff deadline and is considered dead.