WA Bill to Toughen Fentanyl Laws Gets Committee Hearing
Spokane Valley GOP Senator Mike Padden has seen his bill get a hearing.
Proposed bill would raise penalties on fentanyl possession
Tuesday, February 7th, Senator Patten's SB (senate bill) 5035 would make fentanyl possession a Class "C" felony, and would allow those convicted of it to have an opportunity for drug court participation.
According to GOP Senate Communications Director Tracy Ellis:
"The Senate Law and Justice Committee held a public hearing today on a bill introduced by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden that aims to reverse the alarming trend in fentanyl use and fentanyl-related deaths in Washington. "
Padden and other GOP legislators have been trying to push back against the controversial Blake Decision by the State Supreme Court in 2021 that basically legalized narcotics possession. According to Ellis:
" SB 5035 is one of several proposals heard by the Senate Law and Justice Committee today that seek to provide a new legislative response to the state Supreme Court’s February 2021 decision in State v. Blake. The justices ruled Washington’s felony drug-possession statute was unconstitutional because it criminalized possession even when a person did not knowingly have drugs."
A bill passed by Democrats in 2021, SB 5476, decriminalized such possession in what Padden says was a de-facto method. That bill is set to expire this summer.
According to information provided by Ellis:
"According to the state Department of Health, 2,264 people in Washington died of a drug-related overdose in 2021, compared to 1,731 drug-overdose deaths in the state in 2020 and 1,259 in 2019. "
Padden's bill is also set to have a hearing Thursday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.