Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says prosecutors around the state are still trying to figure out the full impact of a Washington Supreme Court ruling (State v. Blake) on Feb. 25 that deemed the state's simple possession drug law unconstitutional. Washington State House Republicans on Monday introduced a comprehensive package of legislation that addresses the ruling.
"The fallout of the court decision will be devastating and deeply impact public safety for all Washington citizens and our communities. And it will not help those who are suffering with substance abuse," said Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, who serves as ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee. "I'm also really concerned about the message this decision sends to our young people. If law enforcement loses the power to make arrests for narcotics possession, we're going to be losing a powerful deterrent for keeping our kids off drugs."
Legislation introduced Monday includes:
House Bill 1558 would promote recovery and improve public safety by providing behavioral health system responses to individuals with substance use disorder and providing training to law enforcement personnel.
House Bill 1559 would provide a behavioral health response to juveniles consuming controlled substances.
House Bill 1560 would consider the mental state element of a person's intention to knowingly commit a crime (mens rea) involving offenses related to possession of substances.
House Bill 1561 would expand offenses and penalties for manufacture, sale, distribution, and other conduct involving controlled substances and counterfeit substances.
House Bill 1562 would allow local governments to enact laws and ordinances relating to possession of controlled substances and counterfeit substances.
The measures are awaiting referrals to House committees for further action.
Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic will talk about the issue Wednesday on The Morning News. Don't miss the conversation set for 7:40 a.m. Wednesday on KIT.