Committee passes Padden bill to keep repeat property offenders behind bars longer

A bill from 4th District Sen. Mike Padden that could keep repeat property offenders behind bars longer was approved today by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Senate Bill 5056 would require that someone who is found to be a habitual property offender to be sentenced to an additional 24 months in total confinement for a Class B felony, and an additional 12 months for a Class C felony.

“We have a real crisis in the explosion of property crimes, including auto thefts, catalytic converter thefts and electric charging equipment,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “What this bill tries to do is keep habitual, repeat offenders behind bars for longer periods of time. If you remove repeat offenders, the property crime rate will decrease substantially. In talking with law enforcement, I’ve learned that relatively few people commit most of the crimes in this area.”

Under an amendment to the bill that was passed by the committee today, it is up to a judge’s discretion whether a defendant is a habitual offender and if the defendant should be in total confinement.

During the public hearing on SB 5056 on Tuesday, officials with the Washington Retail Association and Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs testified in favor of the proposal, as did Jessica Laughery of Hutton Settlement. TVW’s coverage of the public hearing can be viewed here.

SB 5056 is expected to go to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration.