Gang bill sponsored by 14th district Rep. dies in Senate - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang bill sponsored by 14th district Rep. dies in Senate

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YAKIMA--Legislation local representatives hoped would help police and citizens fight gang violence is dead.

Sponsored by 14th district Representative Norm Johnson, R - Yakima, House Bill 2414 would have classified gang activity as a nuisance and allowed people living near gang homes to file legal action against criminal gang members.

It would have also let counties file civil injunctions to stop gang activity.  The bill passed the state House of Representatives by a 90 - 6 vote, but ran into trouble at the Democratic Caucus.

A Senate committee first stripped much of the power from the bill, then killed it altogether.

Some senators cited concerns of racial profiling for the bill's demise, a claim Johnson dismissed.

"I was raised in a time [when] you committed a crime, you paid the time," Johnson said in an interview with KNDO.  "I think we need to get back to that.  Stop worrying about stepping on somebody's feet."

Without the bill, Johnson thinks local law enforcement and families will continue struggling against gang-related violence.

"People should have a right to live in their homes without fear," he said.  "They should be able to walk in their neighborhoods, they should be able to go to the parks.  Children should be able to play and not be shot at."

Johnson is disappointed, but not deterred.

He plans to push the bill again next year.