OLYMPIA– As the state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Rob McKenna is introducing a series of bills this session to fight meth and protect children and communities against sex offenders.
McKenna worked with legislators from both parties on a package of sex offender bills recommended by the expert attorneys in the Attorney General’s Office Sexually Violent Predator unit.
“I asked the attorneys in our sexually violent predator unit to use their expertise to develop a package of bills that would have the most impact on making our communities safer, particularly on protecting children from sex predators,” McKenna said. “We’re proposing a package of bills that will make it easier to keep sexually violent predators–especially those who prey on children–in prison longer periods.”
The seven bills in McKenna’s sex offender package would:
- Increase penalties for sexually motivated crimes, possession of child pornography, and second degree assault of a child with sexual motivation.
- Strengthen the sex offender registration statute.
- Continue to restrict sex offenders from living within 880 feet of a public or private school statewide.
- Extend the statute of limitations in DNA cases.
- Require sex offenders to admit guilt before becoming eligible for special sentencing alternatives.
The attorney general has also requested a bill (SB 6239) to put into law the recommendations of his “Operation: Allied Against Meth” task force. The task force consisted of roughly 30 elected officials and representatives from law enforcement, social services and industry who met together this fall to combine their expertise and create a united set of recommendations on how to fight meth and clean-up meth labs in Washington state.
“We’ve developed an omnibus methamphetamine bill that would facilitate the clean-up of contaminated meth sites, provide effective drug treatment for addicts who are willing to change their ways and provide stiffer criminal penalties for those who are sentenced to prison,” McKenna said.
McKenna has also worked with legislative leaders from both parties to introduce a reporter shield bill (HB 2452/SB 6216) to protect confidential sources from being revealed and to protect the rights of the media to report on sensitive stories.
“Protecting the public’s access to information is definitely not a partisan issue,” McKenna said. “I look forward to working with this team to protect reporters’ rights to pursue tough stories without the fear of lengthy lawsuits or possible jail time for protecting their confidential sources.”
The legislation has already garnered the support of Allied Daily Newspapers, the Washington State Association of Broadcasters and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Seattle Local (AFTRA/AFL-CIO).
Finally, in his role as attorney for the state of Washington, McKenna worked with chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, and ranking Republican on the committee, Sen. Stephen Johnson, R-Kent, to introduce a bill establishing new standards for government liability in Washington.
The bill (SB 6215) stemmed from a law review article authored by McKenna and a senior member of the Attorney General’s Torts Division which compared Washington’s exposure to lawsuits to that of other states.
“Washington law exposes our taxpayers to more liability than any other state,” McKenna said. “This bill simply asks the Legislature to bring our liability into line with other states so those dollars can be redirected to critical programs and services in state government.”
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For more information, contact: Janelle Guthrie, Media Relations Director, at 360-586-0725