A few months ago The Herald ran an article on the subject of auto theft. It was a well-written and informative article except for one omission. It did not inform the reader that Rep. Joe Marine had also sponsored legislation (HB 1556) that would change the law so that auto theft would be a felony conviction under Washington State law. The way it stands now, an adult car thief must have seven separate convictions before he sets foot in prison.
Under current law a juvenile car thief gets away with five separate convictions before he has to spend more than 30 days “detention.” Upon the fifth conviction the juvenile car thief only receives a sentence of 15 to 16 weeks.
So what happened to HB 1556? It was a good idea, so why didn’t it become law? The proposed legislation never made it out on to the house floor for a vote because the Democrats on the House appropriations committee deemed it too expensive.
It amazes me that the Democratic Party will vote to take our hard-earned money to spend on social programs but they won’t support a bill that would put some teeth into the crime of auto theft.
Presently the Pacific Northwest is the auto theft capitol of the USA. The reason being that we have a “catch and release” policy when dealing with car thieves. Joe Marine wanted to change that, but because of partisan politics we the citizens of Washington State were cheated.
This is one of the reasons I’m supporting Joe Marine for 21st District representative. Hopefully, if he is elected, he can resubmit HB 1556 and with some citizen support we can all take a bite out of crime and reduce our insurance rates at the same time.