Everett Mayor Gets Her Wish As Blake Bill Fix Fails In Olympia – Local Effort Continues

April 24, 2023

Everett Government

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin introduced an ordinance outlawing public consumption of controlled substances in Everett, Washington last Wednesday which got a cool reception from some Everett City Councilmembers.

On Sunday afternoon Everett, Washington Mayor Cassie Franklin posted to social media a request that local lawmakers vote against a compromise bill that would have made it a gross misdemeanor to openly use drugs in public at the State level. Here’s what the mayor wrote:

I’m joining other local mayors to ask our Snohomish County legislators to vote “no” on Senate Bill 5536 and give local governments the authority to address issues related to drug possession, public drug use and treatment incentives in their own jurisdictions. The latest proposal doesn’t provide the tools we need to effectively address our public safety challenges.

I do want to thank Senator Robinson for her leadership and also express my appreciation for the hard work that has gone into trying to resolve this before the end of session. Unfortunately, we cannot support SB 5536 in its current form and urge a ‘no’ vote.

Ultimately that Statewide bill did fail Sunday night with 55 lawmakers voting against and 43 voting for the bill. Among those legislators voting against the Mayor’s wishes and for the bill were Democrats Julio Cortes who works for the City of Everett and Mary Fosse who serves District 1 on the Everett City Council.

City Council

The Everett City Council meets at 6:30PM Wednesday night.

This Wednesday (April 26th) the Everett City Council is set to hold a second reading on an ordinance that would outlaw public use of controlled substances within the city limits of Everett, Washington. A third and final reading on that ordinance and vote by the Everett City council is scheduled for Wednesday May 3rd.

During the first reading of the ordinance last Wednesday several Everett City Council members pushed back on that city ordinance including Councilmembers Fosse, Rhyne and Vogeli. Here’s our story on how that looked.

Here’s a link to the proposed ordinance in the draft form presented to City Council last Wednesday night.
City of Everett ordinance prohibiting use of controlled substances in public place within Everett, WA city limits.

The City Council got a briefing on the ordinance back on April 12th.

Nate Nehring

Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring

Meanwhile Sunday night Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring announced plans to introduce a bill to outlaw possession and use of controlled substances within unincorporated Snohomish County. Here is a press release on that effort issued by Nehring’s office late Sunday night:

On Sunday evening, Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring announced that he will be introducing an ordinance to outlaw drug possession in Snohomish County. The announcement comes on the heels of the Washington State Legislature adjourning the 2023 Legislative Session without a fix to the Blake Decision.

Without legislative action, Washington’s drug possession statute will sunset on July 1st, 2023. This means it will become legal under state law to possess and consume drugs including heroin, methamphetamines, and fentanyl. Due to the legislature’s inaction, local governments now have the ability to regulate drug possession at the local level.

“Addressing the Blake Decision and the issue of drug possession was one of the most important tasks of the legislature this year. While there were legislators from both sides working in good faith, ultimately an agreement could not be reached. This is unfortunate but opens the door for counties and cities to address this issue at the local level,” said Councilmember Nehring. “The scourge of deadly drugs on our streets is among the most pressing public safety issues our communities face. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Snohomish County to adopt reasonable regulations which lead with compassion and emphasize treatment while also holding individuals accountable for their actions.”

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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