DUI and gun-safety bills pass legislature


Lawmakers in Washington approved a list of bills including a legislation which makes the 4th arrest of an impaired driver a felony offense.

The change came as a legislative meetings were wrapping up with State budget meetings are at standstill with no resolution to K-12 school funding.

According Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, this week was a perfect opportunity to pass Democratic and Republic bills through the other party’s assembly room.

Padden’s bill, SB 5037, would make an impaired driver face a felony charge at the 4th DUI instead of the 5th DUI in 10 years for a repeat driver under the influence.

The proposal in recent years had usually been delayed by the Democratic House, however it did pass the Republic controlled Senate a few times.

A vote of 85-11 lead to the bills House approval on Thursday.

“I think it will save some lives,” chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, Sen. Mike Padden said Friday.

A Renton man was recently arrested for his 11th alleged DUI which helped the bill’s prospects according to Padden.

If the measure is signed into law 192 current gross misdemeanors would convert to felony DUI cases per year according to the bill’s fiscal note.

Measures at the top of the priority list for Democrats were also passed.

A legislation that had been sought by gun-safety advocates was also approved by the Senate on Thursday as HB1501.

HB 1501 states that when felons, domestic abusers, or others subject to court orders are denied to purchase a fire arm law enforcement and victims should be notified.

In March HB 1501 passed by a wide margin but on Thursday it passed unanimously.

“We are thrilled that the state Senate did the right thing by holding a vote on the Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill, passing this meaningful legislation that will help save the lives of women and children here in Washington,”  said CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Renée Hopkins.

HB 1614 was another measure passed by the Senate on Thursday by Democrats. The measure makes changes to the law regarding impaired driving.

DUI and gun-safety bills were described by Gov. Jay Inslee as “late-breaking successes.”

“There’s been some good things to come out of this session already,” said Inslee, there was also mention of birth control prescription refills, REAL ID and distracted driving agreements.

Before bills become laws they must be signed by the governor.


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