In news that should shock no one in Washington, there's a push in Olympia to strengthen the state's driving while impaired laws. Again.
This time, one lawmaker has taken his quest to the newspapers. Mike Fadden, a Republican state senator from Spokane Valley, penned an op-ed piece for The Seattle Times that ran last Friday.
Fadden is trying to drum up support for SSSB 5105, which would lower from five to four the number of DUI convictions within a ten-year period that would constitute an automatic felony. He notes that while the Senate passed this measure three times this year, the House (which is headed by Democrats) has yet to bring the provision to a vote. This bill has also failed in previous sessions in the State Assembly.
In the op-ed, Fadden employs the usual melodramatic tactics: highlighting two serious DUI crashes that occurred this month (though one involved a driver who had less than four DUI convictions), dragging the grief-stricken families of victims through the public eye in order to elicit sympathy, and engaging in finger-pointing at the opposing party for not succumbing to his wishes. He also urges the House to reconsider the bill when they reconvene in January.
But perhaps the most telling statement Fadden makes comes at the very end of his screed.
"While making a fourth DUI a felony may not be the final step in strengthening our DUI laws, it is a good first step…"
With this remark, Fadden all but admits what people who have been paying attention have known for a long time: that the push to strengthen DUI laws is perpetual; and that lawmakers will never stop trying to increase DUI penalties, make it easier for cops to make DUI arrests, and strip away the rights of those drivers accused and/or convicted of DUI in Washington.
In other words, politics as usual in Olympia.