Legislature backs Padden’s bill on pretrial drug and alcohol monitoring

Today the House of Representatives voted 92-6 to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, aimed at improving public safety by making it more practical for courts to order pretrial drug and alcohol monitoring.

“There are often real-world consequences to Supreme Court decisions,” said Padden, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee. “Senate Bill 6134 addresses the consequences of a state Supreme Court decision that is already having an impact on public safety and the ability of courts to protect the public from potentially dangerous defendants.”

Senate Bill 6134 would clarify that a $150 limitation on costs for pretrial supervision does not apply to costs for pretrial electronic alcohol and drug monitoring, which is critical in protecting the public and victims from DUI and domestic-violence defendants.

The bill is in response to the June 11 decision in Washington v. Hardtke. In that case, the Supreme Court found that the costs for an electronic alcohol-monitoring bracelet fit under the statutory meaning of “pretrial supervision.”

“The practical effect of that decision is that courts can no longer impose reasonable, pretrial supervision, intended to protect victims and the public at large,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “This created an important public-safety issue, in which judges in counties without the funds to pay for monitoring costs lost the practical ability to order monitoring critical for public safety.

“I am pleased that lawmakers were able to come together so quickly to solve this problem.”

SB 6134, which has the support of both the Association of Washington Cities and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, passed the Senate 42-2 Monday and now heads to the governor.