Bill would ax protection for speeding lawmakers

  • By Jerry Cornfield
  • Friday, October 4, 2013 3:18pm
  • Local News

The days of state lawmakers avoiding speeding tickets during session may soon be over.

Freshman Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, said today he’ll introduce a bill to revise language in existing law that Washington State Patrol leaders say prevents troopers from ticketing lead-foot lawmakers while the Legislature is in session.

“This is a law that was written back when lawmakers traveled for days across the state to reach the Capitol, sometimes on horseback, and it was intended to prevent them from being obstructed from their participation in the Legislature. But that was more than a century ago,” Hayes said in a statement.

“In recent times, there’s been confusion as to how the law should be applied and whether simply being issued a noncriminal traffic ticket for an infraction should be considered ‘civil process.’ My bill says that the issuance of a traffic citation to a legislator is not civil process under the state constitution. That should help clarify that state lawmakers who violate traffic laws may receive a ticket,” he said.

Hayes, a patrol sergeant with the Snohomish County sheriff’s department, represents the 10th Legislative District which encompasses Island County and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

In the past, Washington State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins cited Article II of the state’s Constitution in explaining why if a trooper stops a lawmaker for driving too fast they are “honor bound” to get them back on the road as quickly as possible without citing them.

Today the policy applies to stops for noncriminal traffic violations made during legislative sessions, special sessions and the 15 days before a session.

But if a trooper doesn’t know the person they stopped is a lawmaker, they may give them a ticket. Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, and Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, are among those who’ve said that’s happened to them.

More in Local News

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Officials ID man shot and killed in apparent Everett robbery

Police believe the victim may have known the shooter, who drove away before the officers arrived.

Man, 60, in critical condition after Bothell crash

Police believe the driver may have been speeding when he hit a rock wall.

Missing Marysville woman found safe out of state

A Marysville senior who was reported missing in March has… Continue reading

FBI operation arrests 3 linked to exploitation of 32 women

The sting focused on Everett and other cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce, Skagit and Spokane counties.

Man arrested in Monroe Walmart robbery; second suspect flees

The pair fled in a stolen Mitsubishi Lancer with a distinctive green spray paint job.

Fugitive convict, missing more than a year, surrenders

Charles Coggins, 60, turned himself in Monday. He could now spend up to 30 days behind bars.

Former homeless camp needs needles and garbage cleaned up

The Hand Up Project will lead a volunteer effort this weekend on wooded land south of Everett.

County Council postpones vote on conservation programs

A decision on funding agricultural and water-quality programs will come after the budget process.

Most Read