It appears that house bill HB 2196 was introduced (first reading) on January 9, 2024 and referred to the Committee on Community Safety, Justice & Reentry. The Chair of this Committee is Representative Roger Goodman. Subsequently, a public hearing with the Committee on Community Safety, Justice & Reentry was held on January 25, 2024. The hearing was recorded and may be viewed online here. This topic was discussed starting at 1:12:42 and ending at 2:01:52.
The beverage industry is opposed to this bill. An Executive Session was scheduled for January 30, 2024 but no action was taken.
The Committee can recommend that the bill be put back on the House floor and then the House decides whether to take a vote or not. If it passes the House then it goes to the Senate for the same process. If it then passes the Senate, it is sent to the Governor for signature. It is also important to know that when bills from the Senate or the House are to be referred back from a committee there has to be an economic analysis, at some point.
In the recent past, when bills have been proposed to make prior DUI convictions count in a lifetime, for raising the crime to a felony, and when the punishment for a felony DUI conviction was attempted to be raised, the cost to the State for such amendments ended up killing the bills.
It will be interesting to see the ‘cost analysis’ associated with lowering the limit, which in turn, will increase the volume of cases, and increase costs, maybe not to the state with misdemeanors (only to a county or municipality for court and jail) but also potentially to the State because more DUI charges that will count towards a felony and incarceration in a state prison.
About the Author: Among the many honors bestowed upon him, George has served as Dean of the National College of DUI Defense. The firm has always emphasized criminal defense with special emphasis on DUI and drug-related criminal defense issues. George L. Bianchi has become one of the leading innovators in criminal defense involving alcohol or marijuana. He has published and lectured extensively in these areas on the national level. Recently his popular Cannabis & Cars® lecture and DVD have become an indispensable study in certain legal circles as marijuana laws change here in Washington state as well as other states across the country.