Local officials pan plan
April 29, 2021
Wahkiakum County officials and District 19 legislative representatives had little good to say about legislation reclassification of possession of small amounts of drugs.
The legislation reclassifies possession as a misdemeanor, sending people into diversion programs for the first two offenses.
"They know they can't get arrested," Mark Howie commented before the board of county commissioners on Tuesday. "We're already seeing an increase in thefts and burglaries."
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Bigelow noted that the change expires in two years to encourage the legislature to evaluate the issue and make further changes.
He added that treatment is voluntary under the legislation, so he doubts many people will be motivated to complete a diversion program.
"Brace for impacts 'cuz it's not gonna work too good," he said
Commissioners met with District 19 legislators via Zoom on Tuesday, and the lawmaker had similar comments.
"We tried to kill that bill," said Senator Jeff Wilson, R-Kalama. "The majority party seized the moment like a bully. We think it will kill people."