House Bill 2116, our proposal to defelonize personal drug possession, has received enough support in the House Public Safety Committee to be approved, according to Representative Roger Goodman, Chair of the committee. However, given that it’s a short-session, and the vote would be along party lines, Representative Goodman has decided to postpone a vote for this session, in order to grow support for the issue, with hopes of getting legislation passed next year.
Although we would have clearly liked to get legislation through this year, we remain excited and optimistic in the face of growing support for defelonization. In addition to garnering official endorsements from numerous lawmakers and organizations, House Bill 2116 received a public hearing in the House Public Safety Committee – the first ever for removing felony charges for personal drug possession in Washington State – where not a single person or organization spoke in opposition.
We also received an official fiscal note, which gives us the numbers to back up our claim that this is meaningful, far-reaching reform; according to the note, 9,000 people annually would be saved from a felony charge, and millions of taxpayer dollars would be freed up.
Over the course of the year, we’ll continue to build support for defelonization; we’ll have new legislation filed in 2015 which will be identical to House Bill 2116. We’re in talks with numerous lawmakers, and are confident that we’ll have strong bipartisan support.
If you’d like to get involved with this effort, please e-mail us at info@sensiblewashington.