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Sunday Spin2: So what did pass at cutoff?

So the big question as each cutoff approaches is what will be the last bill to slip through, under the wire. This is sometimes known as the 4:59 bill, because cutoff was set years ago at 5 p.m., allegedly so legislators of yore were not late for Happy Hour. But once they start debate on the 4:59  bill, they can go until everyone has had their say, or a majority gets thirsty – whichever comes first.

This time around, the 4:59 bills in the House and Senate weren’t controversial, but they had strong Spokane roots.

In the House they voted on Senate Bill 5256, generally known as the Spokane Autopsies and Post-Mortems Bill, because it allows medical examiners to talk about the results of autopsies in cases involving law enforcement or jails.

In many counties, medical examiners aren’t reticent, but they are in Spokane. After cases involving local police or deputies, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich pushed for the bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley. After being amended to exempt any current cases, it passed 96-0.

Over in the Senate, they passed House Bill 1045, more generally known as the Safe Streets Bill, because it allows cities to require drivers to go slower on side streets and in residential areas without doing costly engineering studies. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, had sponsored a similar bill in the Senate and managed to get the House version slipped in under the wire. It passed 45-2.

Dishman Hills homicide victim identified

A man who authorities believe may be Spokane County’s first homicide victim this year has been identified as Douglas J. Klages.

Hikers on Friday found Klages, a 46-year-old transient, dead in a small in a small cave at Camp Caro Community Park, south of Sprague Avenue, in the Dishman Hills Natural Area.

An autopsy was conducted Monday afternoon, but investigators have not release Klages’ cause of death.

Investigators found trauma on his body but no cause of death was immediately determined. They searched the area for several hours Friday but found no additional evidence, Sgt. Dave Reagan said

Klages has been in and out of homeless shelters and was apparently camping in the area around the time of his death, Reagan said.

The only other homicide in the Spokane area this year was the still-unsolved shooting death of John S. Williams, 38, outside a party at 5405 North Crestline on Jan. 17. Spokane police are investigating that case.

Klages gave his address as Cusick, Wash., when he was arrested in a drunken driving incident in 2004 that included a man accidental riding on his car’s roof.

Klages was sentenced to 150 days in jail with credit for 97 days served for driving under the influence, hit and run and operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock.

Read a brief on the crash by clicking the link below.