OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill to strengthen the state’s drug possession law passed off the Senate floor Friday. Senate Bill 5536 would result in gross misdemeanor charges for someone arrested for drug possession.
If an offender successfully completes drug addiction treatment the charge would be dropped.
In 2021 the Washington Supreme Court ruled the state’s felony drug possession law unconstitutional.
Legislators that year established a temporary law resulting in a misdemeanor charge, but only on an offender’s third arrest.
The law required police to refer offenders to drug treatment on the first two arrests.
Also this week, two groups of students lobbied lawmakers.
On Monday more than 100 student representatives on school boards from across the state met with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, as well as legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee.
Their main concern: passing legislation to increase funding for special education and transportation.
On Thursday, members of the Seattle Student Union rallied on the steps of the Capitol in favor of three gun-related bills.
Legislators have proposed requiring safety training for all gun purchasers, a ban on the sale of guns defined as “assault weapons,” and a law allowing manufacturers to be held liable when their guns are used illegally.
Julia Berus, a 16-year-old sophomore from Ingraham High School, was just feet away from a deadly shooting of fellow students on the Seattle campus last November.
”When is this going to end? When will I be able to walk into my school and not worry about losing my life? I don’t want to sit in a classroom saying my ‘I love yous’ to my parents and hoping this isn’t my last breath,” Berus said on the steps of the Capitol.
In another floor action last week, House members overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1618. The law would remove the state’s statute of limitations for survivors of child sex crimes seeking civil action. Current law requires action to be taken before the survivor turns 21, in most cases.