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Posts tagged: alcohol

WA Lege Day 15: Panel OKs tougher DUI laws

OLYMPIA – A pair of proposals for tougher drunk driving laws were sent to the budget writers Monday to figure out how the state might pay for more people serving time.

One proposal would make the fourth conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, compared to current law which makes the fifth conviction a felon; A second would allow courts to consider convictions from the past 15 years rather than seven years, the current limit. Both passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee on 5-2 votes.

Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he supported the policy but wondered where the money would come from to pay for the additional jail and prison term. That could be nearly $3 million in 2015-17, Kline said, and without a new source of money the Senate Ways and Means Committee would be “robbing from other programs” for things like schools, social services and environmental programs.

“That is the duty of the Ways and Means Committee,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, sponsor of the bill that reduces the number of convictions. “What we’re doing with these bills is saving lives.”

Tougher sentencing on DUI hinges on funding

OLYMPIA – Drunk drivers could face prison on their fourth conviction – one less than Washington law currently allows – if the Legislature can find a way to pay for the extra costs for that time in state prisons and county jails. One possible source of money: some of the taxes the state currently collects on alcohol, and some of what it expects to collect for legal marijuana.

With victims recounting stories of devastated families and law enforcement officials asking for tougher laws, a Senate panel was solidly behind a bill that drivers should face a felony charge for they are arrested a fourth time in 10 years for driving drunk or under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.

“Lives will be saved and hearts won’t be broken forever,” Linda Thompson of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council told the Senate Law and Justice Committee Monday.

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Tougher DUI penalties need work, panel told

OLYMPIA – Efforts to fast-track a crackdown on repeat drunk drivers, announced with bipartisan fanfare Tuesday, hit some go slow warnings Thursday from prosecutors, judges and cops.

They're raising so many questions that a key committee chairman all but acknowledged Thursday the Legislature might not have a final bill ready by the end of its regular session just nine days away.

“The bill has some significant flaws,” Rep. Roger Goodman, R-Kirkland, the chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, acknowledged during a hearing on House Bill 2030. “We’re not going to jam this bill through.”

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Legislature bellies up to the bar on alcohol legislation

OLYMPIA – For all the attention being paid to legal marijuana this session, it’s the more traditional legal intoxicant – alcohol – providing Washington legislators with a greater array of possible changes to state law.

More than a dozen bills working their way through the legislative process would increase a person’s ability to consume some form of alcohol at some new setting.

A glass of beer or wine in the theater? Several proposals for that.

How about a shot of something stronger with that movie? Separate bill for that.

Taste a bit of that expensive scotch before buying it at the store? The stores would like to oblige.

Free glass of wine with that massage and pedicure? Could be legal later this year.

Let college students who are 18 to 21 taste wine if they are in viticulture classes? Prospects look good, although the students they won't be allowed to swallow.

Buy a growler of cider at the local microbrewery? Maybe not; could be a problem under federal law. . .

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Barkeep: A round of booze hearings

OLYMPIA – Getting a drink of alcohol in a movie theater, a farmer’s market, even a senior center or a massage,  would be easier under a series of proposals considered Monday by a Senate panel.

Getting a taste of that $90 a bottle whiskey or the merlot from an unfamiliar winery selling its wares at a farmers’ market would be possible, too.

While that might make consumers happy, it has folks in the substance abuse community worried that relaxing state liquor licensing laws will mean more places where kids will see adults drinking and where recovering addicts will be tempted alcohol. . .

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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