Drive-by shooting bill pre-filed in Washington may never see daylight

Jan 6, 2022, 6:19 AM
drive-by shooting...
In this Sept. 3, 2020, file photo, police walk past evidence markers at a scene in Lacey, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted Warren, File)
(AP Photo/Ted Warren, File)

The 2022 legislative session in Washington state is less than a week away, and there is much to tackle in the short 60-day session. However, it seems one controversial bill that made national headlines may never see daylight after all.

HB 1692 was pre-filed on Dec. 23 by state Representatives Tarra Simmons (D-Bremerton) and David Hackney (D-Tukwila) as part of ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in Washington. The bill would re-define aggravated murder to remove drive-by shootings as an aggravating factor that leads to an automatic sentence of life without parole.

The bill also would apply retroactively.

Republicans quickly criticized the legislation as something that would further jeopardize the public’s safety at a time when all shootings are on the rise.

“It was reported during the summer that at least nine drive-by shootings in the Yakima area this year have left a trail of injuries, deaths and traumatized neighborhoods,” said Rep. Gina Mosbrucker in a statement expressing serious concerns with the legislation. “This horrific crime is happening more and more across our state, taking the lives of innocent victims, destroying their families, and leaving neighborhoods and communities in fear.”

“What about the victims and their families? Where is their justice in this bill? Where is our compassion for them?” Mosbrucker wondered.

“Washington state is already seeing a surge in violent crime which is currently at a 25-year high, with murders at an all-time high in 2020, up 80% from five years ago,” said Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, the House Republican floor leader, and a former police officer.

“Rape is up 40% from five years ago, and aggravated assaults are up 50% from five years ago. In light of this, why are some elected officials so intent on making it easier to be a violent criminal and releasing murderers back onto our streets?” Maycumber asked.

Reps. Simmons and Hackney make clear in the bill that this is an effort to promote “racial equity in the criminal legal system.”

In a statement to KTTH, Simmons noted first-degree murder was a heinous crime, “which already carries a long and serious sentence.” But, she added, “it’s clear that [this aggravated classification] was targeted at gangs that were predominately young and Black.”

That, she argues, is an example of “systemic racism.”

Rantz: WA Democrats’ bill says it’s ‘racial equity’ to go easy on drive-by murderers

Despite ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in Olympia, it seems the drive-by shooting bill doesn’t stand a chance this session – and possibly beyond.

“Drive-by shootings [are] one of the eight different possibilities for conviction of aggravated murder. So, there may be a need to take a critical look at the aggravated murder statute in general,” said Rep. Roger Goodman, the House Public Safety Committee Chair.

“Yet this particular proposal comes at a time when we’re already looking at broad sentencing reform. This is a very controversial proposal. I don’t have time for it this session. I am not going to hold a hearing on it. And so the proposal is basically dead on arrival,” Goodman said Wednesday.

Even if it were to pass, the impact of the retroactive part of the bill would be extremely limited, with just one person currently in prison who is serving an enhanced aggravated murder sentence involving a drive-by shooting.

“But he was 18 at the time, and is now eligible to be re-sentenced anyway because of his age,” Goodman said. “The state Supreme Court says you can’t be sentenced to life without parole at that early age. So no one is affected. No one who’s in prison now would be released” under the drive-by shooting bill, if it were to pass, he explained.

Brother of Tacoma drive-by victim responds to lesser-penalty proposal

In order to move, the bill must get a hearing in Goodman’s House Public Safety Committee and a vote.

“This proposal is, I won’t even say it’s ever going to be ready for primetime. We need to take a much more deliberate, sophisticated look at the aggravated murder statute in general, if at all, and so I don’t have time for it,” Goodman said. “I’m not going to hold a hearing on it. And so that proposal is going to be shelved.”

Local News

Frank Sumrall

State Rep: ‘None of these locations are suitable’ for a future airport

According to Jason Rantz, the acting chairman of CACC, Warren Hendrickson, stated he believes none of the airport locations will move forward.
19 hours ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Deputies seize nearly 100 pounds of drugs during Tacoma arrest

Deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department seized nearly 100 pounds of drugs while arresting a man with a felony warrant in Tacoma
19 hours ago
police pursuit...
Matt Markovich

Source of pursuit deaths updates controversial data

Stats used by legislators to consider changing police pursuit laws may be in question.
19 hours ago
Nicole Jennings

‘Recycle, don’t throw out’ newest message from King County initiative

King County has launched a new initiative to get people to recycle or reuse items before automatically throwing them out.
19 hours ago
KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Pedestrian hit by train in Belltown, police investigate

Seattle Police are investigating after a man was hit by a train near Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood Thursday night.
19 hours ago
Bill Kaczaraba

Lovable radio host Frasier returns, but not to Seattle

Frasier, the lovable but loveless radio host who put Seattle on the map will not be returning to the Emerald City.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Drive-by shooting bill pre-filed in Washington may never see daylight