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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2006
Legislative Roundup: McKenna’s child protection and meth legislation progresses

OLYMPIA - As the Legislature passes the halfway point of the 2006 session, a series of bills requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna to protect children and communities, reduce crime and enhance open government continue to move toward becoming law.

Protecting children and communities from sex predators:

“This legislative package will help keep kids and communities safer by getting tough on sex offenders and giving law enforcement and others the tools they need to keep known sex predators away from our children,” McKenna said. 

  • SB 6460, requested by McKenna, creates mandatory prison terms for crimes committed with sexual motivation, including a minimum one year for class C felonies, double enhancements for second-time offenders and a clarification that enhancements can be added to misdemeanors as well. This bill was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6406, requested by McKenna, makes second degree assault of child with sexual motivation a “strike” under the state’s “Two Strikes, You’re Out” law for sex offenses. This bill was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6407, requested by McKenna to increase the penalty for possession of child pornography from an unranked felony to a Level VI with a minimum one year of prison time, was incorporated into SB 6172. SB 6172 was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6405, requested by McKenna to strengthen the sex offender registration statute by requiring more frequent registration for the most dangerous offenders, was incorporated into SB 6519, which requires level III sex offenders to register every 90 days. SB 6519 was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6408, requested by McKenna to extend the statute of limitations in cases where a suspect is identified through DNA testing, was amended onto SB 5042.  SB 5042 was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6410, requested by McKenna to make permanent statewide residency restrictions approved by the Legislature in 2005, which prohibit sex offenders from living within 880 feet of a public or private school, was incorporated into SB 6325. SB 6325 was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.
  • SB 6775, allows personnel at places where children congregate (e.g. community centers and schools) to bar level 2 and 3 child sex offenders from coming onto the property.  Any violation will result in prosecution for the new felony crime of Criminal Trespass Against Children.  SB 6775 was approved by the Senate, but has not yet been scheduled for hearing.
  • SB 6409, requested by McKenna, makes the SSOSA/SSODA sentencing alternatives for otherwise qualifying sex offenders only available if the offender affirmatively admits he or she committed the crime charged.  SSOSA/SSODA is not available if the offender enters an Alford plea (An Alford plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, but all the offender admits to in an Alford plea is that the State has sufficient evidence to convict the offender; the offender does not admit guilt). SB 6409 was approved by the Senate, but has not yet been scheduled for hearing.

A comprehensive approach to the meth epidemic: 

“Meth is a statewide issue, hitting our rural areas particularly hard,” McKenna said. “Ending our meth crisis is going to take a statewide, coordinated effort, and this law will ensure local communities receive the assistance they need to treat addicts, protect children and vulnerable adults, clean up meth sites and punish offenders.”

  • SB 6239, approved by the Senate on Friday, assists local communities to fight meth and facilitate the clean-up of contaminated meth sites.  It also enhances criminal penalties for meth-related crimes, and provides improved drug treatment for addicts committed to rehabilitation.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Re-enacting Washington's Drug-Free Work Place standards to compensate employers who help keep employees off drugs.
  • Granting local health officials authority to inspect contaminated property and prohibits its use.
  • Increasing offender treatment incentive by requiring sentences for meth-related offenses to be served consecutively and limiting sentence reductions for “good time.” 
  • Creating a treatment pilot project specifically for meth users, and approximately 100 new treatment beds.
  • Providing direct support to local law enforcement, and prioritizing aid to rural counties.

Protecting confidential sources to encourage open government and a free press:

The House of Representatives Monday approved HB 2452 which provides an absolute privilege for confidential sources and a qualified privilege for a reporters’ work product. This bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m.

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Contact Information:

Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725

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