Law and justice panel passes 42 bills before committee deadline

From tightly-written legislation related to marijuana use and school searches to bills that took on broader issues such as eminent domain and human trafficking, the 42 measures endorsed by the Senate Law and Justice Committee so far in the 2013 legislative session cover a wide swath of concerns.padden_pq

“I’ve been told more than once that ours is the most interesting of the Senate policy committees because of the range of subjects we take on,” said Sen. Mike Padden, the committee’s chairman.

Today was the deadline for the Senate’s 13 policy committees to act on Senate bills. Padden, R-Spokane Valley, noted that 14 of the 42 measures his committee moved forward – exactly one-third – were introduced by members of the Senate minority caucus.

“I’m interested in good ideas; whether it comes from a Democrat or Republican doesn’t matter to me. And when it comes to dealing with intoxicated boaters and continuing the battle against human trafficking, for instance, all of the members of our committee stood together,” Padden noted.

The first bill endorsed by Padden’s committee was Senate Bill 5010, passed Jan. 31. Prompted by the passage of Initiative 502 in November, which removed state-law prohibitions related to marijuana, SB 5010 would reconcile that change with how courts go about ordering offenders to refrain from marijuana use as a part of community-custody conditions.

Among the last bills to emerge from the committee Thursday was Senate Bill 5015, which would allow prosecutors to file a charge of aggravated first-degree murder when the victim is age 14 or younger, and allow them to pursue the death penalty.

A list of the bills that have been referred to Padden’s committee and been voted on by the committee is here.