More political maneuvering for elected officials in the Washington Capital.
On Tuesday, February 4, lawmakers in Olympia set aside a bloc of time to discuss even more changes to Washington's DUI laws. Some members of the media even referred to the session as "DUI Policy Day." Several measures were submitted for discussion in front of the House Judiciary Committee, but even those who favor tougher drunk driving laws downplayed expectations of any significant overhauls.
- House Bill 2344 would task the Department of Licensing to send reminders DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles. But the vaguely-worded proposal would cost about $6 million, which could outweigh any benefits of the law.
- HB 2728 would, among other things, require the court to notify the Department of Licensing when an ignition interlock device should be installed on an offender's vehicle, as well as when such a restriction is to be lifted.
- HB 2503 would allow law enforcement to conduct warrantless blood-alcohol tests on vehicle or boat operators if the individuals give their consent.
- HB 2506 would stipulate that a felony DUI becomes a Class B (instead of a Class C) felony, which doesn't change sentencing guidelines but does affect post-prison supervision. Over the last seven years, this measure would have impacted approximately six people in King County.
- HB 2507 would apply to DUI offenders who have committed at least two vehicular homicides, allowing additional sentencing of up to eight more years for each prior offense. This law would affect even fewer people than HB 2506.
Two controversial proposals - one to institute random sobriety checkpoints, and another to make the fourth DUI conviction a felony instead of the fifth - likely won't pass this legislative session because they are too expensive to implement.