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Joey Levick bill headed back to state Legislature
"As Rep. Mark Miloscia (D-Federal Way) began the legislative session Monday, he predicted he could convince a committee to hear the Joey Levick Bill but doubted the bill would gain enough support to become law.With an evenly split House of Representatives, Republicans and Democrats will likely deadlock on issues. Most challenging will be reaching an accord on any bill that's the slightest bit controversial, like the Joey Levick Bill, said Miloscia, who is sponsoring it.The Joey Levick Bill would make it a crime to fail to call 9-1-1 to help someone who's obviously been the victim of a violent crime. Anyone found guilty of the misdemeanor crime could face a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Miloscia said the bill's chances of passing this session are minimal. I'm still not senior enough where I can bulldoze something through, Miloscia said. I'd say it's going to be tough, an uphill battle.Since 1996, Melva Levick has faced that same tough, uphill battle convincing legislators to support the Good Samaritan bill, which is named after her 21-year-old son. Unlike Miloscia, and despite the split House and 25-24 Senate, Levick said she's optimistic about the bill's chances this session.I expect it will (pass) because I've just told them I'm not giving up, she said. I won't go away.The bill is the result of an attack on Levick's son that happened just before dawn on June 2, 1994. Two acquaintances severely beat Joey Levick and left him in a 15-foot-deep drainage ditch off Highway 509 in Burien. The men returned to the scene twice more that day, once with a girlfriend, once with a brother. Two other family members of the assailants learned Joey was in the ditch. Finally, 15 hours after the beating, one of the assailants and his mother led police to the ditch. But Joey was dead.Joey drowned, after 13 hours in the ditch, in 2 inches of water. A coroner later told Levick her son would have lived if he had received emergency medical treatment before then.Levick has never learned the motives of the men, who had run into Joey at a Seattle club and offered him a ride to a party. One was sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and the other is serving 10 years for to first-degree manslaughter.A longstanding Washington state law protects people from civil liability when they volunteer to help in an emergency. The Good Samaritan law would punish people for what they don't do. The bill has twice passed the House and then failed in the Senate. in 1999 and 2000, the bill floundered in the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee. Last year, four representatives on the eight-member committee expressed concerns with criminalizing a behavior that hasn't been criminal - a bystander's inaction in response to a crime.Last year, Rep. Jack Cairnes (R-Kent) said he had concerns about law enforcement's ability to enforce the bill and the need for such a bill. I've asked any number of people in my district, he said. They agree they should summon assistance. I haven't found anyone who thinks it should be a crime for not summoning assistance. People tell Levick they're puzzled why the Legislature hasn't passed the bill, she said. About 120 people have volunteered their time to collect more than 400,000 signatures and make phone calls to legislators, media members and residents. Fife resident Jennifer Guerrero, who makes media calls to help Levick, sighs when asked whether she believes the bill will pass this session, but said she won't give up the fight anymore than Levick. I wouldn't give up on something, she said. It's so logical. It seems like a no-brainer to me. If it saves one life, it's worth it. "