WA Senate - Session - Evening
(February 10, 2022) - SB 5927 - Second and Third Reading

Dr. Evil - We Fixed It

While cannabis retail would remain cash heavy if SB 5927 were enacted, senators unanimously voted for a one year sentencing enhancement for first and second degree robberies.

Here are some observations from the Thursday February 10th Washington State Senate (WA Senate) evening session.

My top 3 takeaways:

  • With no amendments put forward on the bill, Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Karen Keiser gaveled a quick second reading before a bipartisan group of speakers urged its passage.
    • SB 5927 prime sponsor, Republican Senator Jim Honeyford, moved for final debate and remarks by the chamber (audio - 1m, video). He quoted an adage about criminals going after banks “because that’s where the money is,” observing that robberies of cannabis shops occurred “because that’s where the cash is because of banking problems.” Honeyford said the bill made it “equivalent to the same as robbing a pharmacy,” and convictions would result in “an additional 12 [months]” (audio - 1m, video).
    • Democratic Majority Deputy Leader Manka Dhingra asked for passage, thanking Honeyford for the “very elegant solution to a problem that we have been seeing all over the state.” She indicated convictions “had to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” to use the enhancement, and she believed “it made a lot of sense” (audio - 1m, video). 
    • Republican Senator Jeff Wilson was in “very strong support” of SB 5927 after, “just a day ago, in my hometown [of Longview] a local store…was robbed by three men…luckily, no one was hurt.” He viewed the bill as bringing “happy relief” to businesses and the public, making him proud “to report home that we’re going to act” (audio - 1m, video).
    • Majority Caucus Chair Bob Hasegawa contended that “the obvious solution to me is that we should be providing banking services for these folks so the money won’t be there for the robbers to get to.” He remained concerned about “the cost and the potential disparate impact” even as he planned “to be a yes on the bill.” Hasegawa added an extra 12 months on convictions would be “fairly costly for the state, maybe even cost as much as creating our own bank” (audio - 1m, video). 
    • Republican Senator Ann Rivers admitted “I can’t help myself” but speak up on “a marijuana bill” to share her only disappointment with the legislation was that “there should be a much larger enhancement for use of a firearm.” She complained that the state penalized “law-abiding firearm owners” while it “seems like we let criminals who use firearms off with a song.” While backing the bill, she wanted penalties that “send a message that using a gun to commit a crime is just unforgivable” (audio - 1m, video).

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