Olympia, WA - A comprehensive bill to fight gangs in Washington State passes on the senate floor with an overwhelming 46-3 majority, but not without an amendment that some local senators fear will water down its impact.
Ways and Means Chair Margarita Prentice disagreed with the civil injunctions that were in the bill and successfully lobbied for an amendment to drop them. She had expressed concern about racial profiling.
Charles Ross, R-Naches, one of the co-sponsors of House Bill 2712, still calls it a victory in the fight against gangs.
"I'm disappointed to see the amendment remove the civil anti-gang injunctions, but I'll be coming back next year to continue work on these issues," Ross said. "This was a collaborative process, and we worked very hard with many stakeholders to ensure the appropriate precautions were in place to protect civil liberties."
The bill will help set up five statewide pilot projects to fight gangs, as well as a statewide gang database and a definition for gang members.