Radio Report: Lawmakers pass new, stronger drug possession law during one-day special session
Lawmakers completed a one-day special session in Olympia Tuesday by approving a new bipartisan agreement that makes it a gross misdemeanor to knowingly possess or use hard drugs in a public place. John Sattgast reports.
SATTGAST: Lawmakers were up against a clock. Had they not acted, hard drug possession would become legal July 1st. A previous attempt failed on the House floor just hours before the regular session adjourned April 23rd.
Centralia Republican Representative Peter Abbarno says the final agreement strikes a balance between accountability and compassion . . .
ABBARNO: “But at the same time, provides an opportunity for those struggling from addiction, but wanting something better for their lives.”
SATTGAST: First and second-time offenders could face up to 180 days in jail and a one-thousand-dollar fine. Prosecutors are given more flexibility to direct drug addicts into treatment programs. And local governments may still regulate drug paraphernalia.
Representative Gina Mosbrucker helped negotiate the final agreement…
MOSBRUCKER: “This bill isn't perfect. And we're going to make it perfect. We're going to keep driving forward and trying to teach those people who are addicted that you do matter. Your life matters and you are worth 100 percent of getting better.”
SATTGAST: The bill passed the Legislature Tuesday with strong bipartisan support and Governor Jay Inslee immediately signed it into law. John Sattgast, the state Capitol.
###Washington State House Republican Communications
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