Members of the Washington State Senate approved two bills Tuesday that would help make Washington a safer place, both sponsored by Lakewood Republican Sen. Mike Carrell.
The first bill would enhance penalties for robbing a pharmacy and the second would create a sentencing enhancement for committing a crime while wearing body armor.
“These are good bills that will help prevent future crimes and I’m very pleased to see them pass the Senate with so much support,” Carrell said of his bills’ nearly unanimous approval. “I expect these measures to fair equally well in the House of Representatives. Increasing penalties to hopefully prevent crimes is a cause just about everyone can get behind.”
Senate Bill 5149 would add an additional 12 months to the standard sentence if an individual is convicted of first degree robbery and it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual robbed a pharmacy. SB 5149 passed the Senate unanimously.
“Pharmacy robberies have become as prevalent as bank robberies,” Carrell said, “and since most pharmacies are located in the back of grocery stores, this has become a serious crime that endangers everybody in the store. The level of intensity and aggressiveness during these crimes has increased, and hopefully this bill will bring that statistic back down.”
Senate Bill 5119 would double the current sentence enhancements for committing a crime with a deadly weapon if the offender was wearing body armor at the time of the offense. Additionally, offenders sentenced under this provision would not be eligible for good-time credits or earned release time for the portion of their sentences resulting from body armor enhancements.
“Last year, a gunman dressed in body armor set off tear gas grenades in a crowded theater and shot and killed 12 people while injuring 58 others,” Carrell explained. “This bill is not intended to prohibit body armor, but it will hopefully discourage anyone considering a serious violent crime armed with a deadly weapon from also dressing in body armor.”
SB 5119 passed the Senate 46-2. Both bills will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
-Office of Sen. Mike Carrell