On Sunday, the House of Representatives rejected Senate Bill 5536. The legislation would have made the possession and use of hard drugs a gross misdemeanor. The bill failed in the final hours of the current session.
Senate Bill 5536 was introduced as a measure to significantly change drug possession laws. Many of the legislation’s original backers turned against it, citing concerns that the bill has been watered down and could cause more harm than good.
Governor Inslee responded to the results. He believed the bill was going to be the solution for a lot of drug problems in Washington. He also said he expects the legislature to draft another bill that will include pointing people to treatment services and not decriminalizing drugs.
If passed into law,Senate Bill 5536 would have superseded existing public drug use bans in cities like Kent and Bellingham. In addition, an officer would have had to simultaneously witness someone with drugs and using them to make an arrest. Democrats stood by the bill, while Republicans argued it would make things worse.
THE BLAKE DECISION.
Numerous mayors from across Washington state, including Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus, agreed that something needs to be done about the rise in public drug use. However, they signed a letter stating that SB 5536 is not the solution. They argued that instead of helping to crack down on the drug crisis, the bill would add more limitations.
“We’re harming people more than we’re helping,” said Backus. “There’s no teeth to it, and it is also preemptive of any local jurisdiction. Yet, despite this vote, lawmakers on both sides are hoping to find a solution that works for everyone.
“I think the important part you are hearing on both sides, which is all together, is that we care. We care,” said Rep. Maycumber.
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a Drug Offense or any other crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.