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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature convened on Tuesday, May 16, for a one-day special session and passed a new drug possession law: Senate Bill 5536.
While the bill falls short of what Washington needs to curb the substance abuse crisis plaguing our communities, it's a step in the right direction. It will enact tougher penalties on illegal drug use and possession, protect local control, divert more resources into treatment and recovery, and give law enforcement professionals clear guidance.
The soft-on-crime, pro-drug legalization experiment in this state is clearly not working. Going forward, the Legislature needs to focus on tougher penalties to ensure people suffering from addiction are off the streets and receiving the treatment they need. There's nothing compassionate about allowing people to slowly kill themselves with substances in our communities. We need to be wise with your dollars and they need our help.
Background: In February 2021, the state Supreme Court ruled in in State v. Blake, that Washington's felony drug-possession statute was unconstitutional because it criminalized possession even when a person did not knowingly have drugs.
Two months later, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5476, a temporary measure reducing the penalty for possessing illegal drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine from a felony to a misdemeanor, which was set to expire on July 1, 2023.
Upcoming town hall meeting
On May 27th at 10:00 a.m. Rep. Suzanne Schmidt, Sen. Mike Padden and I will host an in-person town hall meeting at CenterPlace Event Center (2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley).
As always, residents of the 4th District are encouraged to join us for a discussion about the 2023 legislative session and other important topics in our region and state.
We look forward to seeing you there!
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Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, or would just like to have a cup of coffee together. I work for you all year long and I encourage your feedback. I am here to serve you and everyone in the 4th Legislative District.
It's an honor to serve you.
122C Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7984 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000