The Washington State House Public Safety Committee (WA House PS) considers issues relating to law enforcement agencies, crime prevention, criminal penalties and sentencing, impaired driving, registration and civil commitment of sex offenders, and adult correctional programs and institutions.
On Monday April 1st, the House Public Safety Committee hosted an executive session on SB 5605, “Concerning misdemeanor marijuana offense convictions.”
- See details on SB 5605’s Senate policy committee public hearing and executive session. SB 5605 was passed by the full Senate without amendments. In the House, the bill was referred to the Public Safety Committee which hosted a public hearing for the bill on March 25th.
- Committee Counsel Kelly Leonard summarized striking amendment 5605 AMH PS H2669.2 by Committee Chair Roger Goodman (audio – 1m, video). Specifies that the underlying bill applies to misdemeanor marijuana possession offenses charged under specific predecessor statutes as well as equivalent municipal ordinances. Reorganizes subsections in current law and the underlying bill, and removes duplicative language.
- Goodman told members the amendment would “make sure marijuana convictions under municipal codes and under statutes prior to 1998 are also included.”
- Goodman reiterated the change included “all of the statutes that apply” and added that many misdemeanors occurred “in urban areas under municipal codes.” He said the companion bill, HB 1500, was “much more ambitious” while SB 5605 left it “up to those individuals, one by one” to seek vacating of convictions from a court (audio – 5m, video).
- Ranking Member Brad Klippert encouraged a yes vote on the striking amendment “because I believe it’s significantly better than the underlying bill.” The amendment was passed by unanimous voice vote.
- Discussing the newly-amended bill, Goodman repeated his support. Klippert praised a phrase in the bill (“the court may”) as “awesome” judicial discretion, while another (“the court shall”) required he vote against the bill. Representative Jenny Graham said she was “in agreement with” Klippert and raised concerns about who would pay for the process. Staff answered the bill “[doesn’t] have a restriction on the courts charging or not charging fees.” Goodman confirmed individuals would need to cover vacating costs.
- In a roll call vote only Klippert dissented.
- The amended bill was passed.
- The bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee and scheduled for a public hearing on April 5th at 1:30pm.