She reports at start of session

  OLYMPIA ­— Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden, reports in a mailed 42nd District legislative preview that Bellingham is one of only four state locations allowing remote testimony in this 2020 session.

  In 2019 Van Werven served on a legislative task force exploring remote testimony options. Out of that, a pilot project has been approved for this year for the House of Representatives. “This will expand opportunities for citizens statewide to participate in the legislative process without traveling to Olympia,” she says.

  Using videoconferenceing technology, people will be able to testify remotely on proposed legislation.

  The other three locations, all east of the Cascades, are Ellensburg, Spokane and the Tri-Cities. 

  The pilot will apply to the College and Workforce Development Committee on which Van Werven serves as ranking Republican. It will also apply to the committees for Housing, Community Development and Veterans as well as Local Government.

  The 2020 “short” session began Jan. 13.

  Van Werven also includes in the preview that she has drafted legislation  (HB 2483) that tries to reactivate the so-called Hailey’s Law that originated from a sad episode in Whatcom County. She has two Democratic representatives so far as co-sponsors, according to Washington State Legislature Bill Information.

  On Jan. 4, 2007, Hailey (French) Huntley’s life changed when her car was struck head-on by Janine Parker on the Mount Baker Highway. Parker had just hours before been pulled over by a Washington State Patrol trooper and cited for DUI. Her car was not impounded when she was cited, and it was left on the side of the road. Due to jail overcrowding, she was not booked, and the trooper drove her home. However, when Parker got home, she called a taxi to take her back so she could retrieve the vehicle. She was still intoxicated when she crashed into Huntley’s car on the Mount Baker Highway. Huntley was severely injured and spent 45 days in Harborview hospital of Seattle.

  In 2011 “Hailey’s Law” was passed, placing a mandatory seizure and 12-hour impound on any vehicle driven by a person arrested for DUI. The idea, states Van Werven, was to ensure a driver would be sober before being able to access the vehicle.

  However, the law was appealed following a January 2018 DUI stop in Quincy. A person was stopped and arrested on suspicion of DUI. His vehicle was impounded, as dictated by Hailey’s law. But there were two passengers in the vehicle, and attorneys successfully argued that the vehicle should have been released to one of his sober passengers rather than impounded. The lawyer said the seizure of the Jeep was unconstitutional because it did not meet lawful requirements, and the state Supreme Court unanimously agreed.

  So, says Van Werven, Hailey’s Law is now void, meaning drunk drivers may have immediate access to their vehicles.

  Under HB 2483 an officer may direct the impounding of a vehicle when no reasonable alternatives exist, the legislator reports. If the officer determines the impoundment to be necessary for the protection of the public, the vehicle must be held for at least 12 hours. 

  “These changes should satisfy the state Supreme Court, put Hailey’s Law back in place and keep drunk drivers from accessing their vehicles. We must restore common sense on this issue,” Van Werven writes.

  She also claims a survey of district citizens last year, along with results from the November election, show opposition to tax increases proposed then, and she will take that message to Olympia in 2020.