Street gang bill stalled in state House


A bill that would fight the street gang problem has strong, unanimous support of city and county officials in the Tri-Cities but appears all but dead in Olympia.

The measure, House Bill 1126, has been stalled in the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee since January.

If approved, the measure would establish a grant program for gang prevention and intervention, establish sentencing enhancements of up to 24 months additional for criminal street gang-related crimes, and allow prosecutors to seek a protection order against a criminal street gang blankociate or member.

“It’s amazing to me we’re having this problem because I haven’t found anyone opposed to it,” said Leo Bowman, Benton County commissioner. He was in Olympia on Wednesday specifically to lobby for the bill.

Bowman said he had spoken with Attorney General Rob McKenna, who initially had promoted the bill and sought sponsors. McKenna told him there were no partisan issues with the bill, so that leaves no explanation for the hang-up, Bowman said.

One of the bill’s sponsors, 8th District Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, said he also is flummoxed by the lack of action on the bill.

“It is effectively dead. I am very disappointed we didn’t address the more difficult topics in this session, and this is one of them,” Haler said.

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Posted by on Mar 31 2011. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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