Today the House Public Safety Committee unanimously approved Jason’s Law – a measure sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown that would strengthen the state’s vehicular-homicide sentencing guidelines.
The measure was introduced in response to an April 2, 2015, hit-and-run in Pasco that took the life of 36-year-old Kennewick father Jason E. Smith. It won unanimous approval from the Senate on Feb. 10, and Brown credits Smith’s family and Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant with helping the bill continue its advance.
“I’m really glad that we have been able to get unanimous and bipartisan support for this measure at each stage of the legislative process,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “But it should be noted that it required a great deal of hard, behind-the-scenes work to gain that support. I thank Jason’s family and Prosecutor Sant for coming over to the Capitol numerous times to testify on behalf of the bill. I believe that was extremely impactful and has made the difference in seeing this bill move so rapidly through the Senate and now this House committee.”
Under Senate Bill 6219, vehicular homicide while driving in a reckless manner would increase from seriousness level VIII (with a sentencing range of 21-27 months) to level XI (with a range of 78-102 months), which is similar to the current ranking for vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.