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Published on Thursday, July 11, 2013

Law & justice highlights – metals theft, impaired driving, gangs and marijuana

The 2013 session began relatively quietly for law and justice issues with few big issues drawing a great deal of attention. The main focus during much of the regular session was a comprehensive metals theft bill, HB 1552, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman and being pushed by a coalition of stakeholders including utilities, cities, law enforcement and metals recyclers. The bill passed, but the Legislature did not provide the necessary funding for two key components – grants for law enforcement and the development of a “no buy” list. The bill does establish new state licensing requirements for metals recyclers.

While the Legislature did not providing funding for metals theft enforcement, they did renew funding for gang prevention and intervention grants. Establishing an ongoing grant program to promote prevention and intervention efforts has been a significant issue for AWC and a number of cities struggling with gang related crime. We were successful in getting the Legislature to include $500,000 in the final budget ($250,000 per year). The funding will be distributed by the Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice. Cities interested in competing for these funds should contact the Council.

Unfortunately, the final budget, SB 5034, continues to shift the cost of law enforcement training on to locals with the requirement that cities pay for 25% of the cost of training at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. Cities have opposed this cost shift since we already pay for the training with traffic ticket revenue collected locally and shared with the state.

Near the end of the regular 105 session, two impaired driving related tragedies occurred in the King County area that spurred members of the legislature as well as the Governor to push for tough new penalties for repeat DUI offenders. The initial proposal called for significantly expanded mandatory minimum sentences and a ten year ban on purchasing alcohol for repeat offenders. This initial proposal came with a $40 million price tag for cities and counties since most of the costs fell on locals for jail and prosecution costs. In the end, the Legislature passed a scaled down version of the proposal, SB 5912, that does not increase mandatory minimum jail times, but does call for the implementation of 24/7 sobriety monitoring as a component of sentencing as well as mandatory arrest and booking for repeat offenders. The Governor is scheduled to sign the bill into law on Thursday, July 18.

With the passage of I-502 legalizing recreational marijuana, there were some expectations that marijuana related legislation could be a focus during the session. However, no bill on the subject advanced much beyond Committee hearings. There was some consideration of a bill to modify the initiative, but it would have required a two-thirds vote to pass, and there was not sufficient interest to make it happen. Additionally, there were a few proposals to modify medical marijuana including taxing it similar to recreational marijuana, but none that advanced. Instead, the Legislature included language in the final budget requiring the Liquor Control Board to look at the impacts of the medical marijuana market on the new recreational market and come back with any recommended changes. We anticipate that the result will be a proposal in 2014 for some level of state licensing and taxation of medical marijuana.

BillTracker AWC priority Bill # Descriptive title Final status
Other significant Issue ESHB 1552 Creates licensing scheme for scrap metal businesses, expands criminal penalties for theft, creates a database for businesses to determine if someone is ineligible to sell Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SHB 1612 Creates database for firearm offenders Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SHB 1613 Ensuring funding for CJTC firing range Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    EHB 2056 Correcting the definition of THC for lab purposes Law; Effective  5/1/2013
Yes ESB 5053 Increases penalties for repeat offenders of vehicle prowling Law; Effective 7/28/2013
Other significant issue ESB 5105 Adds criteria for DOC in administering housing rental vouchers to released offenders. Creates conditions under which vouchers can be provided. Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SB 5145 Fire Department may develop Community assistance programs to help alleviate call volume Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    ESB 5305 Requiring hospitals to report bullet and stab wounds Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    ESB 5484 Enhanced penalties for assault in a court facility Law; Effective 7/28/2013
    SB 5532/HB 1559 Requiring mandatory crisis intervention training for LE (in operating budget SB 5034) Law as part of the Operating Budget
    SSB 5591 Allowing DOL to issue confidential drivers licenses Law; Effective 5/21/2013
Other significant issue E2SSB 5912 Establishes a pilot program for 24/7 monitoring, mandatory arrest and booking for repeat DUI offenders Law; Several effective dates
    SHB 1047 Red-light camera images would be available with a warrant Failed
    SHB 1087 Vacating misdemeanor charges Failed
    HB 1125 Regarding registered sex offenders in adult family homes Failed
    HB 1147 Makes unlawful possession in 2nd degree count as a predicate for unlawful possession in 1st degree Failed
    HB 1486 Change voter approval rate for fire benefit charges Failed
    SHB 1580 Additional costs for defendants who fail to respond to an infraction or failing to appear for a hearing Failed
    SHB 1601 Community service replacement for traffic fines Failed
    SHB 1654 Allows city to form Regional Fire Authority. Failed
    HB 1676 Safe storage, creates penalties for reckless endangerment for leaving a loaded firearm where child can gain access Failed
    SHB 1802 Reimbursing training and salary costs for law enforcement officers hired by another agency Failed
    SHB 1839 Background checks for purchase and transfer of firearms Failed
    SHB 1840 Prohibits possession of a firearm for persons subject to certain protection or no contact orders Failed
    SHB 1897 Requires cell phone companies to release cell phone location information without warrants when there are emergency situations. Failed
Other significant issue HB 2000 Makes various changes to I-502 language Failed
    SSB 5010 Requires offenders in community custody to refrain from marijuana consumption Failed
    SB 5020 Modifies definition of indigent Failed
    SB 5141 Allowing motorcyclists to proceed through red lights when they are not triggered Failed
    SB 5479 State law enforcement agencies will hold firearms for temporary safekeeping Failed
    SB 5485 Safe storage, applies penalties for unsafe storage of a firearm Failed
    SSB 5528 Medical marijuana arrest protection and other technical changes Failed
Other significant issue SB 5792/HB 1911 Reducing medical costs for jails by requiring hospitals only charge Medicaid rate Failed
Other significant issue SB 5887 Plan to tax and regulate medical marijuana Failed