Mosbrucker fentanyl bills gain Senate approval, one step closer to the governor’s desk

The state Senate has unanimously approved two of Rep. Gina Mosbrucker’s bills to address the state’s fentanyl crisis. Both bills were amended and must receive final House approval before being sent to the governor.

House Bill 2396, also known as “Ivan’s Law,” passed the Senate last Thursday, Feb. 29. The bill is named after 24-year-old Ivan Howtopat, a Yakama Nation tribal member, who was suffering from fentanyl withdrawal when he committed suicide in the Klickitat County jail last May.

The bill outlines specific requirements for the state Department of Health, including consideration of the phrase, “Not even once” when designing public outreach campaigns on the danger of fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is not like other drugs where you can use it many times to get high and not necessarily overdose. Fentanyl is one pill — one kill,” said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale. “Users think they can do this over and over, like other drugs. But they are mistaken. We are seeing people of all ages dying from this toxic drug. The message must be, ‘Don’t try this. Not even once!'”

Mosbrucker, who serves as ranking member on the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, wrote HB 2393 after holding community meetings last year in Goldendale, Toppenish, and Yakima, on the deadly and addictive drug and its impacts.

“I talked to hundreds of people, some in a tent, some on a reservation, some in my hometown, and learned a lot about fentanyl. I heard hours and hours of heartbreaking stories,” said Mosbrucker.

The bill would require jails that release individuals from custody to provide information about treatment programs related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Mosbrucker says she wrote that component of the bill after speaking with an individual who had struggled with drug addiction.

“He said to me, ‘You’re asking me on the street when I have a heroin needle in my arm or I’m smoking fentanyl if I’d like to go to jail or treatment. I can’t make a good decision with my life at that point,’ adding that he’d probably do what he could to have his drugs,” Mosbrucker noted. “But when he was at the Yakima jail, a corrections officer saw that this man was doing better because he was now sober, and asked the inmate if he would like to have treatment. It was at that time, the individual said ‘yes,’ and was able to get the help he needed. This is a success story we need to replicate.”

Originally, the bill called for the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, in consultation with the state Department of Health (DOH) and the Washington Poison Center, to compile resources on how to decontaminate fentanyl residue and that of other synthetic opioids from motor vehicles. A Senate amendment changed the bill to put the DOH in charge of the decontamination resource materials.

The measure passed the Senate 49-0.

House Bill 1635 would create a model program in Washington for the training and certification of dogs to detect fentanyl.

“There are two kinds of fentanyl: pharmaceutical, which helps people through surgeries and cancer treatment, and the illegally manufactured fentanyl, which is killing people. Only one dog in the state of Washington is certified and trained in the detection of fentanyl,” said Mosbrucker. “This bill would help to expand the training of K-9 teams to detect fentanyl and protect human lives.”

Under the amended bill, the state’s Criminal Justice Training Commission must develop model standards for training and certification of fentanyl-detecting dogs by July 1, 2025. The measure also needs final House approval before being sent to the governor.

The 2024 session is scheduled to end Thursday, March 7.

###

Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov