By The Chronicle staff
Two Republican senators have introduced three bills ahead of the 2023 legislative session to roll back what they say are “friendly” laws recently passed by Democrats in the Legislature.
“One of our main goals for this program is to promote bills that will help keep people and communities safe in our state,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, is the ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee and was a Spokane County District Court Judge from March 1995 to January 2007. “Unfortunately, thanks to the harmful laws passed by our Democratic colleagues, many people across Washington have been feeling less safe for years.” he just passed. They have every right to expect the Legislature to take action to reverse this alarming increase in crime.”
The first bill, Senate Bill 5034, is sponsored by Padden and makes it easier for law enforcement to track vehicles. The bill is a response to legislation passed by the Legislature in 2021 changing the legal framework for vehicle searches.
“It doesn’t matter that crimes have increased since this law was passed because it prohibited law enforcement officials from following people who are under suspicion. Until we make it easier for the police to do their job, we will continue to see this spike in crime. Communities deserve better,” Padden said.
Senate Bill 5035, also sponsored by Padden, would make illegal drugs such as fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin a class C felony with diversion and drug court options.
“In 2021 the Democratic majorities in the legislature passed SB 5476, which reduced the sentence for drug possession to a misdemeanor that does not properly use data-backed drug court programs. It’s no surprise that drug overdose deaths are expected to hit record numbers in Washington this year. The Democrats’ anti-drug policy has been a total and costly failure,” Padden said.
State Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, pre-filed Senate Bill 5011, which would restore second-degree theft to the list of crimes that count as strikes under Washington’s voter-approved “three strikes” law. In 2019, the Legislature dropped second-degree robbery from the schedule, a change that was retroactive to another law in 2021. The changes allowed Roy Wayne Russell, Jr., a Clark County child rapist and murderer, to avoid the mandatory life-without-parole sentence that comes with ” strike” for the third time.
“There are some on the list of rescuers who could go crazy and walk free one day. It seems like the public did this without caring about the families of the victims,” Wilson said. they will realize the mistake they made and join us to correct it.”
The 2023 legislative session begins on January 9 and ends on April 23.