Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has called the Legislature back to Olympia to settle the matter of drug possession once and for all. A special session will begin May 16, focusing on a so-called “Blake fix.”
The Blake fix was the only remaining must-do item legislators didn’t finish during the regular legislative session that ended April 23. In 2021, the Washington Supreme Court overturned the state’s felony drug possession law. Legislators adopted a temporary misdemeanor policy that expires July 1. In the absence of a statewide policy, several cities and counties have announced their intent to pass their own ordinances which would create a confusing patchwork of policies, treatment options and penalties.
The Legislature has earmarked more than $600 million in new state funding for myriad behavioral health services, including additional treatment facilities and services for people with substance use disorders
“My office and I have been meeting with legislators from all four caucuses and I am very optimistic about reaching an agreement that can pass both chambers,” Inslee said. “Cities and counties are eager to see a statewide policy that balances accountability and treatment, and I believe we can produce a bipartisan bill that does just that. Details are still being negotiated, but caucus leaders share the desire to pass a bill. I believe that starting the clock on May 16 will put us on a path to getting the job done this month”
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