Hayes funding for Snohomish County jail diversion program rejected as House Democrats approve budget plan

A $45 billion operating budget proposal that would rely on as much as $3 billion in new and additional taxes passed the House of Representatives Friday on a party-line vote, 50-48, with Republicans voting no. Among those who voted against the House Democrat budget was Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island.

Republicans offered 41 amendments to the budget proposal in an attempt to improve the legislation. One of those amendments offered by Hayes would have provided $700,000 to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for start-up operational costs for a jail diversion program.

“There’s a significant increase across the state with heroin overdoses and deaths, substance abuse and addiction, and mental health issues. Snohomish County seems to be at the head of the line when it comes to these problems. Unfortunately, the Snohomish County Jail has served as the county’s largest de facto mental health hospital and detox facility due to lack of services,” said Hayes, who serves as a sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

“There’s a better way we can address these problems. These people need treatment. Rather than throwing them into jail, Snohomish County is looking to create a diversion program that would help people with a detox facility and a sobering center that would serve as an alternative to jail for those with mental health or addiction issues,” added Hayes. “I was hoping to secure funding for the start-up costs of this program, but my amendment was rejected on a party-line vote, with majority Democrats voting no.”

Only six Republican amendments were approved by the majority party.

“It’s very disappointing, but I will continue working on this issue to support development of this important program for Snohomish County,” Hayes concluded.

With spending plans passing both the House and Senate, budget negotiators begin work to formulate a single bipartisan compromise spending plan that could pass both chambers. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn the 2017 regular session on April 23.


Washington State House Republican Communications