Dear friends and neighbors,
When we adjourned the legislative session last month, we had a lot to be proud of, with one glaring exception – our failure to act on Washington’s drug addiction crisis.
It was incredibly frustrating to me that this occurred, since we already had a good, bipartisan proposal in the Senate, but we got to work on continuing negotiations right away. It was an unacceptable outcome to fail to pass a bill and allow all drugs to become legal at the state level, to fail to fund treatment programs to help people, and to allow a patchwork of different criminal penalties in cities and counties all across the state.
I’m glad to announce that we came back in a one-day special session and finally passed a bill. While it took too long to reach this point – again, we could and should have gotten this done in the regular session – the final bill’s major bipartisan support shows that we came to a good solution, with 43 out of 49 members of the Senate voting for the bill.
The bill we passed is a good, reasonable balance. It includes major reforms and funding to help people caught up in drug addiction by supporting and expanding treatment programs for people caught possessing drugs, but it balances this with real accountability for those who don’t want to do the work to get better. Just as we need to have a commitment from the state to provide people the help they need, we expect a commitment from folks caught up in our criminal justice system to authentically work to kick drugs and get out of trouble. You can read more about the details of the bill in the Seattle Times here.
This compromise bill is a major step forward from the drug policy we’ve had in this state for the past few years. I’m happy with the work we’ve done, with both Democrats and Republicans, to come together to this bipartisan solution.
I wanted to make sure you heard about this, because it is a big success. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with me – I’m at Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov, as always. Thanks so much for reading!
Sen. Mark Mullet