Posts tagged: Mike Padden
OLYMPIA – Whether Washington state should execute some people for crimes like aggravated first-degree murder is a good debate to have.
Whether the governor or the Legislature has the constitutional authority to do certain things is a good debate to have.
Mix capital punishment with separation of powers and you get a not so-good-debate, but an excellent vehicle for diatribes. . .
OLYMPIA — The Senate gave strong support for tougher penalties for assaults stemming from the so-called knockout game, despite a warning from some Democrats state laws already are adequate to handle what's may be a criminal “fad.”
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, sponsored SB 6011 to make random attacks of unsuspecting victims a Class 3 felony. Such assaults in which assailants try to knockout someone, often elderly or a member of a racial or ethnic minority, with a single punch, are sometimes filmed and posted on the Internet.
“It is a phenomenon that has been going on nationwide,” Padden said. “There is some indication it may have come to our state. What we're trying to do is get ahead of the curve.”
One assault last November in the Spokane Valley is being investigated as a possible knockout game attack, although no charges have been filed in that case.
Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, argued a new law isn't needed because the state already has four different levels of assault on the books, and if the victim is targeted because they are members of a racial or ethnic minority, assailants can also be charged with a hate crime.
“There are fads in crime. Fads come and go, our law doesn't,” Kline said.
The bill passed on a 38-9 vote and was sent the the House.
OLYMPIA — Washington schools would be required to protect students against emotional bullying, keep more data on homeless students and test out whether extra days would help some students retain more from one year to the next under bills that advanced Friday. . .
The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Mike Baumgartner, R-Spokane, would cut the nine-member court to seven. It moved out of the Senate Law and Justice Committee Monday on a voice vote, giving it a chance for a vote by the full Senate in the coming weeks…
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.”
OLYMPIA — Two initiatives dealing with gun rights and gun control will get a hearing next Wednesday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Both are initiatives to the Legislature. I-594, which would extend the current background checks for buyers required for sales from gun dealers to almost all other sales, was certified Wednesday by the Secretary of State's office after a check of signatures submitted late last year. I-591, which would ban stricter background checks in Washington until federal standards changed, is undergoing signature checks but is expected also to easily certify.
The Legislature is unlikely to pass either into law, bypassing the ballot. But Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said a hearing will give legislators and the public a chance to get questions answered. “That helps us and it can only help to inform the voters,” he said.
The 1:30 p.m. hearing will be moved out of the committee's regular room into a larger room to accommodate the expected crowd.
Rep. Matt Shea urges demonstrators for the March for LIfe to continue the fight against legalized abortion.
OLYMPIA — The annual March for Life brought several thousand demonstrators to the Capitol Tuesday, filling the north steps of the Legislative Building and the Temple of Justice.
Demonstrators cheered legislators of both parties who urged them to continue the against abortion and the Reproductive Parity Act, a proposal that would require almost any insurance policy that covers maternity benefits to also cover pregnancy termination.
State Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said it was wrong to put completing a pregnancy on parity with ending a pregnancy.
The Washington State Patrol troopers on the scene estimated the crowd at between 3,000 and 4,000. A handful of abortion rights supporters gathered with signs in an area between the two steps.
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.
The proposal would require an automatic arrest for a second offense, and require ignition interlock devices on their vehicles before their cases go to trial. It would require a court appearance within 48 hours and set up a test program for repeat offenders have their sobriety monitored on a daily basis with electronic home monitoring rather than more expensive incarceration.
Sen. Mike Padden,
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Wells, D-Seattle, argued that judges should be given greater leeway with drivers convicted of impaired driving if they have a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana. Chemicals from marijuana remain in the blood stream longer than alcohol or many other drugs, and making patients give up their medical marijuana in order to drive was “totally unjust.”
But judges routinely order drunk drivers not to drive if they drink, Padden said, and marijuana should be treated the same way if a person is convicted of impaired driving. “Impaired means impaired,” he said.
Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Mike Padden talk before the autopsy bill is signed.
OLYMPIA – Spokane County’s medical examiners should feel free to talk about the results of investigations into deaths that involve actions by law enforcement officers. Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Monday allowing county medical examiners and coroners to discuss the results of autopsies and post mortems of people who die in encounters with police or while in jail.
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OLYMPIA – As a Senate committee approved tougher laws against impaired drivers Tuesday, some senators wondered aloud if the Legislature isn’t at least partially responsible for putting more drunks on the road by expanding the places where alcohol is consumed.
Less than an hour after the Senate Law and Justice Committee gave unanimous approval to a proposal that would require more and quicker jail time for drivers convicted of alcohol or drug impairment, Gov. Jay Inslee signed four bills the Legislature recently passed that add new places from which a person might be driving after legally consuming alcohol. . .
OLYMPIA — A law that toughens the state's drunk driving laws, in part by increasing mandatory jail time, received unanimous approval this morning from the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Despite concerns by some senators that it didn't go far enough, or provide money to cities and counties for the higher costs of extra prosecutions for driving under the influence, all committee members gave it at least tentative support.
Just who was responsible for some of the drunks on the road was part of the debate. The Legislature must accept some responsibility, Sen. Jeanne Darnielle, D-Tacoma, said because it continues to increase the number of places where a person can consume alcohol — at movie theaters, public markets and spas — and then drive home.
The voters should accept some of the blame, said Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn. They opened up sales of distilled spirits in supermarkets through a 2011 initiative, and legalized marijuana consumption by adults in 2012. Stores like Costco now have mountains of liquor on display in their aisles, she said.
Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, tried unsuccessfully to attach amendments that would pay for increased prosecutions and incarcerations by extending the temporary tax on beer that was imposed in 2010 and is due to expire on June 30. Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said taxes to pay for the bill is something the Ways and Means Committee will address.
The bill makes a fourth conviction for driving under the influence a felony, down from five convictions under the current law. It sets up mandatory jail time or treatment programs for earlier offenses, would allow judges to order a drunk driver to abstain from alcohol and submit to mandatory daily testing.
Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday that tougher drunk driving laws were one of the three top priorities for the special session, along with passing an operating budget for 2013-15 and a package of new transportation projects that will require some new revenue.
OLYMPIA – Spokane County’s medical examiners may soon have no legal barrier that stops them from talking about the results of investigations into deaths that involve actions by law enforcement officers.
A unanimous Senate Tuesday passed a bill allowing them to discuss the results of autopsies and post mortems of people who die in encounters with police or while in jail. A unanimous House passed the same bill last week, and it’s headed to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk.
To emphasize that such comments will be permissible, sponsor Mike Padden, the Spokane Valley Republican who heads the Senate Law and Justice Committee, engaged in a bit of rehearsed dialogue with the panel’s top Democrat, Adam Kline of Seattle, before the vote. . .
OLYMPIA – Minors would be barred from buying “vapor” cigarettes under a bill headed for Gov. Jay Inslee.
In a 46-1 vote, the Senate approved a bill Thursday that would make it a gross misdemeanor to sell non-combustible tobacco products to minors. The products extract nicotine from tobacco without a flame.
Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said it’s important to keep the products from teens because nicotine habits can be formed early in life. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said banning their sale to minors is important but “this does not validate the use for adults.”
The bill passed the House unanimously last month.
Friday’s four-hour budget debate in the Senate was mostly about programs that get cut or taxes that don’t get raised. But there were brief detours into other topics, including cigar lounges and Spokane Indians baseball. . .
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OLYMPIA — As abortion-rights groups and their legislative allies try to force a vote on a bill that would expand requirements for insurance companies to cover the procedure, a Washington congresswoman is warning President Obama the proposal violates federal laws.
The Senate Health Care Committee held a two-hour hearing Monday morning on the House version of the Reproductive Parity Act, with regular supporters and foes of abortion lining up on the expected side of the bill that would require most insurance plans that offer maternity benefits to cover abortion, too.
There were dueling religious leaders. Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain argued the bill, if passed, would make insurance coverage of abortion mandatory in Washington, even for employers with religious objections to abortion. Rabbi Seth Goldstein of Olympia said the bill should be passed to provide “freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
There were dueling leaders from women's groups. Elaine Rose of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest acknowledged that nearly every insurance plan offered in Washington covers insurance, and the bill was designed to “keep it that way” as federal health care reform proceeds. Angela Connolly of tlhe Washington Women's Network called the bill “anti-woman” because it forces them to accept a health care plan that forces them to “participate in what they see as violence against women.”
Health Care Committee Chairwoman Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, sometimes had to remind speakers to stick to the bill rather than veering into some of the bigger controversies over abortion, such as when one abortion foe started discussing policies of Nazi Germany.
In the hearing room, Sen. Mike Padden released a copy of a letter, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent Monday to Obama saying the bill has “far-reaching and alarming conseqluences for the citizens of Washington state who embrace life.”
McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Eastern Washington's 5th District, said the bill does not satisfy federal restrictions on “conscience rights”, or the protection to allow people who have religions objections to abortion to opt out of insurance plans. That could jeoparize federal funds for welfare, jobs and education, she said, adding she “looks forward to working with you as both Congress and Administration fullfill our constitutional rols to uphold and enforce…conscience protections.”
Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who sponsored a Senate version of the proposal that did not get a hearing in the committee, also had a letter, one signed by 25 senators enough promising to vote for the bill it if it comes to the floor. That would be enough to pass it and send it to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has promised to sign it.
But the easy way to a floor vote comes if the bill passes out of the Health Care Committee by Wednesday, a deadline for bills from one chamber to pass the panel holding the hearing in the other chamber. Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, wanted the committee to vote on the bill after Monday morning's hearing. But as testimony finished, with Keiser saying “Madam chairwoman, madam chairwoman,” Becker gavelled the panel to adjournament without a vote.
The committee has a meeting on Tuesday morning, however, to consider votes on any of the House bills it has heard over the last month.
OLYMPIA — Medical examiners would have permission to discuss their conclusions from the autopsies for people killed during law enforcement actions under a bill that passed the Senate unanimously Friday.
The proposal, prompted by several high-profile cases in the Spokane area with fatalities involving local law enforcement, gives a medical examiner or coroner permission to talk about the results of their investigations, said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, the bill's sponsor. Confidentiality restrictions would also be lifted when a person dies in law enforcement custody.
The formal autopsy report, which can include graphic photographs of the victim, would remain confidential.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich had pushed for the bill after complaining that he was unable to clear up “misinformation and myths” about some controversial cases. One such case involved the Sept. 5 death of Edward Gover, who returned to the home of a woman he'd held hostage and encountered deputies who thought he had a weapon. They said they fired when he charged them, but no weapon was found and two of the bullets struck Gover in the back.
Knezovich said the deputies responded appropriately, but he couldn't discuss the autopsy findings because of orders from the county medical examiner's office.
The organization representing lthe state's county officials dropped its objection to the proposal after it was amended to ensure confidentiality of the formal report, Padden said. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.
Definitely helped, Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, the sponsor of the amendment, told the Ways and Means Committee. The requirement has been approved five times by voters through the initiative process, she noted, including last year.
“It’s time for the people in the Legislature to match the people of the state,” Roach said, and began listing approval percentages for committee members.
Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Ed Murray, both Seattle Democrats, were quick to raise their hands to indicate their districts rejected that initative.
Definitely hurt, said Nick Federici of Our Economic Future Coalition, an umbrella group for progressive and liberal organizations. If it takes a two-thirds majority to pass a tax increase, that means a one-third minority can block one, he said.. .
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OLYMPIA – The massacre of first graders and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary may result in some major national gun-control legislation this year. Too soon to tell.
But it may also block some smaller gun-related legislation in
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OLYMPIA — A hearing on a proposal to require insurance companies to cover abortion services if they cover live births was cancelled this morning, a few days after the committee chairman said he would hear the bill even though he didn't support it.
The Reproductive Parity bill was among several proposals on the schedule for the Senate Law and Justice Committee, which earlier this week held a two-hour hearing on a bill on the other side of the abortion issue which would require parental notification for any minor seeking an abortion.
Committee Chairman Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, announced on Monday he was scheduling the Friday morning hearing, adding that didn't mean he supported it. Padden is a longtime opponent of abortion and a co-sponsor of the parental notification bill. At the time he said the Reproductive Parity bill had problems that would become clear in the hearing.
The committee did meet, discussing bills on boating safety, adding judges in the Tri-Cities and defining subpoena power for the state auditor.
Abortion bills have the potential for splitting the coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats who form the majority in the Senate. Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, who supports abortion rights, said earlier this week that he didn't support the parental notification bill, but the hearing was the first on the oft-proposed measure in 10 years. Holding a hearing on that measure showed the coaltion was willing to debate issues that had been “bottled up” by the previous Democratic majority, he said.
At the time, Tom also noted that the Reproductive Parity bill had been scheduled for today's hearing, and said the hearings would “get us away from demonization” of the two sides on the issue.
“Let's have that debate,” he said.
Padden said this morning he decided to cancel the Reproductive Parity bill because he believes it would jeopardize federal funding and invite lawsuits if it became law. An identical bill has been referred to the Health Care Committee
“I never was a fan of the bill to begin with and I worked hard to defeat it last year,” Padden said of a similar measure that died when time ran out for a deadline to pass bills.
After the bill was abruptly pulled from the Law and Justice hearing calendar, Tom reportedly told the Associated Press it was not determined when or where the bill might be heard. An identical bill is before the Senate Health Committee, but is not expected to get a hearing there, either. A similar bill has been heard in the House and is expected to pass that chamber.
Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, the sponsor of the Reproductive Parity bill that was pulled from Friday's hearing schedule, said he was frustrated by Padden's refusal to hear the bill.
But Hobbs said Tom has “given me his word that we're going to hear it. I'm going to give him the opportunity to get it right.”
One Democratic source said an option could be for Senate leaders to reassign the bill to the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, because it involves a regulation for insurance companies.
The chairman of that committee is Hobbs.