Rep. Brad Klippert passes pair of bills to improve DUI, mental health laws

A pair of bills sponsored by Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, to clarify and strengthen impaired driving and mental health laws passed with overwhelming support in the House. House Bills 1276 and 1536 are the result of months of work with several agencies and stakeholder groups.

“I am happy to have these important bills pass the House,” said Klippert. “House Bill 1276 is the result of a lot of work by my colleagues in the Legislature but also from outside groups and agencies including the Washington State Patrol, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Washington Traffic Safety Institute, Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Washington Defense Attorneys Association and many others.”Rep. Klippert speaks on the House floor

House Bill 1276 addresses several aspects of existing laws including provisions relating to possessing marijuana while in a vehicle, ignition interlock requirements for offenders and other conditions of release associated with DUI suspects and offenders.

According to testimony on the bill, there were 220 DUI related fatalities in 2013.

“As a law enforcement officer, I am all too aware of the dangers of impaired driving,” Klippert said. “This bill is about giving law enforcement and the courts additional tools to make our roads safer and prevent deaths and injuries related to driving under the influence. For that reason I am hopeful it will pass in the Senate and be signed into law.”

House Bill 1536, concerning emergency detentions and mental health assessments, passed the House with a 97-1 vote. The bill clarifies the timeline for assessments when individuals are transferred to a medical facility for a mental health hold and require medical treatment. Currently, individuals detained for being a threat to themselves or others are to be assessed by a mental health professional within three hours. Additionally, a facility may hold an individual for no more than 12 hours. House Bill 1536 allows for treatment of medical conditions prior to the 12-hour hold clock starting.

“This bill provides much needed clarification of the timeline for mental health assessments when there are also medical conditions requiring treatment,” said Klippert. “As it is now, the twelve-hour clock for a mental health hold starts ticking immediately upon an individual's arrival to a medical facility. There should be flexibility to treat medical conditions before the clock starts.”

Both bills will now move to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov