Dear Friends and Neighbors,
For the past several days, lawmakers have spent long days and late nights on the House and Senate floors voting on bills. At more than halfway through the session, we’re racing towards another big deadline.
This quick update contains information on the upcoming deadline, why it matters, and how you can help bring a critically needed police pursuit reform proposal to the floor for a vote.
House of origin cutoff: By March 8 bills must be passed out of the chamber in which it was proposed, or they will be considered “dead.”
Why it matters: In a session with over 1500 bills introduced, the graveyard of legislative ideas expands exponentially as we head towards this deadline. The headstones include both bad ideas that need to remain dead and, sadly, good bills whose deaths are public policy tragedies.
There are (always) exceptions: Bills considered necessary to implement the budget (NTIB) are never completely dead. They are exempt from normal cutoff rules. In fact, they sometimes (and often are) resurrected — rising from the graveyard with frightening regularity. Whether a bill is NTIB is entirely the call of the majority party, specifically the Speaker.
- Want to learn more? Click here for more information on the legislative process.
Police pursuit reform legislation, bipartisan supported House Bill 1363 would allow police more discretion for vehicular pursuits.
What the bill does: In its original introduction, the bill would change back the law that went into effect in 2021 prohibiting police from pursuing suspects unless there is probable cause they have committed a crime.
Why it’s needed: There are countless stories on how the current probable cause standard is not working, including a heartbreaking story about two children who recently lost their lives because of our current law and law enforcement’s inability to pursue a fleeing suspect.
More info: Amended in committee by the majority party, the new, somewhat watered-down version, Substitute House Bill 1363, hasn’t been allowed to progress.
What happened: Today in the House chamber, Republicans asked the Speaker of the House to bring the bill to the floor for a full debate and vote. The motion was denied by the majority party.
Deadline looming: This bill needs to be brought to the floor for a vote before cutoff tomorrow, Wednesday, March 8 at 5 p.m.
What you can do: With enough pressure, it’s possible this much-needed policy could still be brought to the floor for a vote by the majority party this session.
Police pursuit in the news:
- Troopers say suspect in Sunnyside crash that killed 2 children wasn’t stopped earlier because of state pursuit law (Yakima-Herald Republic)
- Frustration mounts as second police chase in 2 days blocked by pursuit law (KING TV)
- ‘You feel a little helpless’; Officers watch burglary suspects flee, blame WA pursuit laws (FOX 13)
- WSP ended pursuit of speeding driver near Ellensburg. An hour later, two kids were killed in a wrong-way crash near Sunnyside (KAPP/KVEW)
If you have any questions or need help sending comments, contact my office. I’m happy to help.