Topic: Adam Kline
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May 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM
OLYMPIA — A stiffening of state DUI laws championed by Gov. Jay Inslee and a bipartisan group of lawmakers cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday, moving out of the Senate Law & Justice Committee unanimously.
Among other items, Senate Bill 5912 would add 10 days in jail to all minimum DUI sentences, make drunken driving a felony on the fourth conviction (it currently is on the fifth) and make the installation of an ignition interlock device a requirement for repeat DUI offenders to be released from jail.
The bill also would pilot a 24/7 alcohol-monitoring program as an alternative to prison, restrict deferred sentencing in drunken driving cases and expand DUI courts.
Those items all were agreed upon in recent negotiations between Inslee and the leaders of the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over DUI issues. But the question of how to pay for them remains a key sticking point.
On Tuesday, the unanimous committee vote belied concerns from Democrats that the proposal doesn’t give enough money to local governments to implement the changes or devote enough to treatment.
Before the vote, senators made clear they were voting on the policy, not the financials of the plan.
The Senate version of the bill will next go to the budget committee that will decide if the state can afford the changes.
The House Public Safety Committee is expected to vote on a similar proposal soon.
Despite the remaining hurdles, Inslee expressed optimism about the bill in an afternoon news conference.
“I’m very happy about this,” he said. “I think this bodes well for us getting this done this special session.”
April 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM
OLYMPIA — After days of discussions, Gov. Jay Inslee and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers said Tuesday they are nearing agreement on a far-ranging plan to overhaul Washington state’s drunken driving laws.
The lawmakers said they are working on a compromise bill to put a renewed emphasis on preventing DUI offenders from consuming alcohol. But they cautioned the details are not finalized and at least two other bills are under consideration.
The competing plans come three weeks after a fatal collision in Seattle spurred lawmakers to focus on DUI laws.
The draft of the main proposal would stiffen sentences for drunken driving convictions, establishing a six-month minimum sentence for the second conviction and one-year minimum for the third. But it would let offenders opt out of jail by participating in a new state program in which they’d have to prove they’re sober at all times.
That program, which would be run out of the state Attorney General’s Office, is modeled on a successful effort in South Dakota.
The draft bill would also prohibit those convicted of a third DUI from buying or being served alcohol for 10 years. To accomplish that, lawmakers would create a special driver’s license and require everybody to be carded — not just those who appear young.
Only Alaska has a law like that, said state House Public Safety Chairman Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland. New Mexico is considering something similiar, he said.
The bill would also require cars impounded during DUI arrests be outfitted with ignition interlock devices. Currently, the devices are required for DUI offenders, but the offenders must get it installed themselves.
Finally, the bill would expand DUI courts and reduce deferred sentencing for DUI charges.
“It’s a comprehensive approach,” Goodman said.
The bill would take effect in 2015.
The proposal, introduced as House Bill 2030 and Senate Bill 5912, will be discussed at a 2 p.m. news conference Tuesday. It is also scheduled to be heard during a joint hearing of the House Public Safety and Senate Law & Justice committees Thursday.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Spokane Valley Republican Mike Padden, said his panel will also hear a second proposal, Senate Bill 5902, that would make drunken driving a felony on the fourth offense.
It’s currently a felony on the fifth offense.
Goodman said he likes Padden’s proposal but doesn’t know if the state can afford to house the new prisoners it would bring.
State Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he is preparing a bill of his own that would pay for Padden’s proposal while also funding mandatory alcoholism treatment for DUI offenders and increased enforcement of ignition interlock device installation.
Kline says his proposal would extend the expiring beer tax and dedicate the money solely to DUI response.
“If this is important, let’s put our money where our mouth is,” he said.
March 26, 2013 at 3:38 PM
OLYMPIA — Democrats used a state Senate committee hearing Tuesday to vent about how increasing political spending by corporations poses “a threat to our democracy.”
State Sen. Adam Kline and state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, both from Seattle, urged the Senate Government Operations Committee to adopt a measure to show support for an amendment to the United States Constitution to “return the authority to regulate election campaign contributions to congress and state legislatures.”
That authority disappeared, Kline and Pedersen said, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to remove limits on independent political spending by corporations and unions.
“I don’t want to get the violins and throwing flags and all that, but part of the reason this country was created was to institute self-governing, and this goes I think to the core of that,” Kline said. “It allows those with frankly more money to have a louder voice.”
The public testimony at the packed hearing occasionally got testy.
At one point, Chris Esh of the Washington Public Interest Research Group referred to “dark money groups” and promptly got cut off by committee chairwoman Pam Roach, R-Auburn.
Nobody spoke against the bill — one resident accidentally signed up to oppose the bill but spoke in favor of it — but the measure is no sure bet.
The symbolic bill narrowly passed the state House on a near-party line vote earlier this month. But a similar bill introduced in the state Senate never got a vote in committee.
November 30, 2012 at 1:54 PM
The Washington State Liquor Control Board says it needs to hire 40 additional staff and bring an outside expert in marijuana to implement the voter-approved marijuana legalization measure.
In a briefing to a Senate committee in Olympia on Friday, LCB director Pat Kohler said the biggest challenge of setting up a regulated marijuana market was “understanding the product and the industry itself.”
“There’s a lot of people who think they have a lot of experience in this area,” joked Rick Garza, Kohler’s deputy.
The LCB is taking the lead in creating rules for state-licensed marijuana stores, growers and processors called for in Initiative 502, which passed 56-44 on Nov. 6. Friday’s hearing was the first chance for lawmakers to ask questions about the historic measure.
Kohler estimated there could be 328 stores – the same number of liquor stores under the now-defunct state liquor monopoly – but her staff needed to better understand potential customer demand, among other things. A state fiscal analysis predicted that 363,000 state residents would buy from the state stores, based on federal use surveys.
She said the LCB is preparing a bid for a consultant with expertise in the marijuana industry to advise LCB staff during the one-year rule-making process before licenses would begin being issued in December, 2013. That year “gives us a bit more time to be thoughtful to implement something that has never been implemented in the nation,” she said.
The 40 new staffers would be paid for out of existing funds, and would primarily go to hire enforcement officers, she said.
Sen. Adam Kline, a Seattle Democrat who supported the ballot measure, urged Kohler’s staff to work with “deliberate speed.” As of Dec. 6, one ounce of marijuana is legal to possess, but only state-licensed stores can sell it. That gives drug dealers a year to “entrench themselves,” said Kline.
“The more time it goes on, the more we’re asking for trouble,” he said.
Alison Holcomb, the lead author and campaign manager for Initiative 502, said there has been a “unregulated marijuana market for 100 years,” and that giving the LCB a year to create rules for a regulated market is wise.
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