As the 2022 legislative session kicks off, Rep. Dan Griffey has introduced several bills aimed at fixing some of the state’s real problems.

“I’m focused on issues that are not only important to me, but also our state,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “Every legislative session is different and there are numerous pressing issues I care about deeply, including emergency powers reform, public safety, and tax relief. I have also put a great deal of work into several other less-publicized issues that are no less important. As we begin this session, I have introduced five bills that offer real solutions to some of these other problems.”

House Bill 1656 would change the definition of theft. Under current state law, retailers are helpless to stop shoplifters in the act of concealment. Law enforcement and loss prevention officers can’t apprehend a suspected shoplifter until the person has exited the establishment with the merchandise. Under this legislation, concealment would be included in the definition of theft.

House Bill 1292 would criminalize the act of knowingly providing pornographic and other harmful materials to a minor by anyone 18-years or older. If passed, a person who provides harmful material to a minor would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. Additionally, if the offending individual has previously been convicted of a felony sexual offense, they would be guilty of a class C felony.

House Bill 1558 would promote recovery and improve public safety by providing behavioral health system responses to individuals with substance use disorder and providing training to law enforcement personnel.

House Bill 1655 is aimed at keeping our roads safe. Commercial motor vehicle parking shortages are a national safety concern. Washington state exacerbated the problem in the fall of 2021 by closing many state-owned and operated safety rest areas. To help prevent serious and fatal injuries, HB 1655 would encourage the opening of safety rest areas for all drivers who need a place to stop when they are tired.

House Bill 1657 would help reduce emissions and safety risks caused by inadequate commercial truck parking. In a 2016 Washington State Department of Transportation survey, over 60% of truckers reported spending an hour or more every day looking for parking. The shortage of truck parking stifles economic growth, increases pollution, and makes our roadways less safe, as fatigued drivers cannot find a safe place to park. The bill would increase the state’s truck parking supply through tax incentives.

“Each of these bills represents an issue I’m passionate about and I hope to see them on the governor’s desk very soon,” said Griffey. “We need to help retailers and consumers by putting a stop to organized retail crime. We need to protect our children from would-be sexual predators. We need to offer real help to those who suffer from substance use disorder. And lastly, we need to do everything we can to help our truck drivers. We could not survive without the essential service they provide.

“I’m ready to work with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to see these bills move through the process and become law,” said Griffey. “I will be sharing more about each of these bills as they progress through the necessary steps.” The 2022 legislative session began Jan. 10 and is scheduled to last 60 days.