DUI bills get hearings Monday, Tuesday

Human trafficking, sovereign immunity measures also on tap

OLYMPIA – Two important DUI bills get hearings this week as the Legislature enters the 11th week of its 15-week regular legislative session.

A measure making the 4th DUI a felony in Washington state will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee 1:30 p.m. Monday in House Hearing Room D. Senate Bill 5037, sponsored by Senate Law and Justice Chair Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, would permit felony charges to be filed against impaired drivers after three previous misdemeanor convictions within 10 years.

Among those scheduled to testify is Amy Freedheim, senior deputy prosecuting attorney in King County and lead prosecutor in felony DUI cases. Freedheim said last week, “I don’t think people realize how dangerous DUI driving is. It still kills more people than firearms in this country.”

A bill tightening DUI laws will be heard in the Senate Law and Justice Committee 10 a.m. Tuesday in Senate Hearing Room 4. House Bill 1614, sponsored by House Public Safety Chair Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, makes a number of changes to existing law. They include extending the no-violation period before an ignition-interlock device can be removed, from four months to six months, and requiring courts to notify the Department of Licensing when people fail to appear for hearings on traffic-related offenses.

Other Law and Justice hearings this week include:

Sovereign immunity

  • SB 5896, sponsored by Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, requires legislative approval for payment of pain and suffering claims against the state of more than $1 million. To be heard in the Senate Law and Justice Committee 10 a.m. Tuesday.


Human trafficking and crimes against minors

  • SB 5813, sponsored by Padden, raises the felony class for child sex-abuse imagery from Class C to Class B, and prevents defendants in trafficking cases from claiming they were not aware of the victim’s age. To be heard 1:30 p.m. Monday in the House Public Safety Committee.
  • HB 1184, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, enables easier prosecution of online prostitution-related communications, allowing charges to be filed where communication is initiated or where it is received. To be heard 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
  • HB 1079, sponsored by Orwall, allows courts to issue no-contact orders against those accused of trafficking offenses, preventing them from contacting victims while awaiting trial. To be heard 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.