WA Senate Considers Bill To Tighten Drug Penalties
(Olympia, WA) -- A bill that would tighten penalties for possession of illegal drugs fentanyl, methamphetamine and heroin had a public hearing in the State Senate Law and Justice Committee Tuesday.
Senate Bill 5035 is sponsored by 4th District Senator Mike Padden. It makes posessing illegal drugs, a Class C Felony, with an opportunity to participate in drug court.
Sen. Padden, a Republican from the Spokane Valley, in crafting the bill, said "we need to fix this crisis, and Senate Bill 5035 would help us do that, including a chance for offenders to go into drug diversion programs.” He added "we need the proper leverage to get those people into treatment. A misdemeanor charge won’t compel them to get into treatment as much as a felony charge.”
SB 5035 is scheduled to receive a vote in the Law and Justice Committee on Thursday.
The State Department of Health says 2,264 people in the state died of a drug-related overdose in 2021, compared to 1,731 overdose deaths in the state in 2020 and 1,259 in 2019.
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