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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Over the past two years since the state Supreme Court ruled against Washington’s felony drug possession law, we’ve seen an explosion of the use of hard drugs across our state. Thousands of people have died from overdoses of fentanyl, heroin, and other toxic drugs. This is impacting every community in Washington, including our own here in south central Washington.

That’s why Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer and I are holding a town hall meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in Goldendale. Entitled “Save our Communities,” this town hall meeting will focus on the drug crisis across our state. It will also give citizens the ability to discuss their concerns about the serious and growing problem of drug abuse, addiction, and deaths from overdoses of hard drugs, including fentanyl and heroin. 

In addition, I will give an update of new legislation passed during a one-day special session on May 16 that provides a combination of accountability and treatment for those abusing drugs.

Please join us tonight to save our communities from the scourge of this deadly poison.

WHAT: “Save our Communities” Drug Crisis Town Hall Meeting

WHO: Rep. Gina Mosbrucker and Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer

WHEN: Tuesday, June 20 – 7 p.m.

WHERE: Klickitat County Search and Rescue Training Center, 7 Potts Lane, Goldendale
(Please note the updated address of the meeting.)

Blake special session to fix the state’s drug possession law

Last month, on May 16, we returned to Olympia for a one-day special session, just three weeks after adjourning the 105-day regular session on April 23. We did so after reaching an agreement on the so-called “Blake fix” bill.

For background, in February 2021, the state Supreme Court ruled Washington’s felony drug possession was unconstitutional because it didn’t require someone to “knowingly” possess drugs for conviction. Under the State v. Blake ruling, hard drugs were essentially decriminalized. However, that same year, the Legislature approved a temporary law making it a misdemeanor to possess drugs. That law was set to expire on July 1, which would have allowed hard drugs to become legal.

Since the court ruling, thousands of people have died from overdoses of fentanyl, heroin, and other toxic drugs. That’s why it was essential to act this year before the temporary law expired.

As ranking Republican on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, I became a key negotiator on the so-called “Blake fix” bill during the regular session. We worked for days and days to find an agreement on a solution that would be both compassionate, but hold drug addicts accountable, and provide treatment options.

In the last hours of the regular session on April 23, three of the four caucuses agreed on a bill. Unfortunately, we very surprised when House Democrats brought up their own last-minute plan, which didn’t even have the support of their own members. Just hours from adjournment, it failed on the House floor, 43-55, with 15 Democrats voting against it. Unfortunately, we adjourned without a fix. With that July 1 expiration date approaching, having no fix would have been disastrous for our state, essentially allowing hard drugs to become legal. With no solution, the governor called a special session.

I was deeply involved along with others in my team in helping to bring the four caucuses together on a bipartisan agreement. During a one-day special session on May 16, the Legislature passed a new drug possession law.

Among other provisions, drug possession becomes a modified gross misdemeanor with 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 for the first two offenses. The penalty increases to 364 days for subsequent offenses. The bill gives prosecutors and judges more flexibility to use a “carrot and stick” approach to get addicts into treatment but retain jail time if they don’t accept the help they need. There’s $63 million for programs to alleviate illegal drug use and provide treatment. The legislation also enables cities and counties to set rules around drug paraphernalia.

I believe the new law strikes a fair and important balance between accountability and compassion for those addicted to hard drugs. While more still needs to be done, the new law empowers our police and sheriff’s offices with the tools they need to help people in crisis, and it provides a pathway out of the cycle of addiction and into treatment and recovery.

I will talk more about this new law tonight at our town hall meeting in Goldendale. I hope you can join me and Sheriff Songer tonight at 7 p.m.

ICYMI – 2023 regular session update

In case you missed it, I invite you to read my email update from April 25, just a couple of days after the Legislature adjourned it’s 105-day regular session.

In this update, you’ll learn about:

  • Six of my prime-sponsored bills that were signed by the governor.
  • The agreement on the police pursuit bill.
  • My work to date on the Blake fix.
  • Funding we received in the capital and transportation budgets for the 14th District.
  • And more!

Also, be sure to watch your mailboxes in the next week or two as Rep. Chris Corry and I are sending out a 2023 Legislative Report with an update of the session.

I work for you throughout the year

Although the Legislature is now adjourned, my work for you continues. Please be sure to contact my office any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about state government, or if you are having trouble with a state agency. We can often help to overcome roadblocks or refer you in the right direction for an answer to your questions. Also, many of the bills I have sponsored started out with an email or a phone call from a constituent just like you.

It is my highest honor to serve and represent you. I am most grateful. Thank you!

Honored to serve you,

Gina Mosbrucker

State Representative Gina Mosbrucker, 14th Legislative District
431 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7856 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000