On February 1, the historic Lord Mansion in Olympia, Washington, was filled with the sounds of a talented professional string trio from the Olympia Symphony Orchestra and the lively chatter of over 100 guests gathering on behalf of the retail industry.
The event was sponsored by WR (Washington Retail Association), ICSC, and WBPA (Washington Business Properties Association). Alesha Shemwell, WR Board Chair and active ICSC and WBPA board member provided opening remarks along with Chet Baldwin, Executive Director of Washington Business Properties Association.
Although the three associations have unique challenges and specific policies of interest, the shared priority to create safe and vibrant communities that allow our retailers, businesses, employees, and customers to thrive is a top focus for all three organizations.
Retail partners, including chambers of commerce, the Olympia Downtown Alliance, the Attorney General’s office, and dozens of retailers and community stakeholders, joined together to address one of the most pressing issues facing the retail industry, marketplace, and employers. The serious and growing impacts of property crimes, retail thefts, and organized retail crime demand our attention, requiring cooperation and action.
Joint priorities include the support of the following legislation:
- Grant Funding Budget Proviso – funding of approximately $500,000 to support small businesses to secure theft protection.
- SB 5056 – increases penalties for habitual and repeat offenders involved in organized retail crime.
- SB 6242 – incentivizes local municipalities to attract and retain law enforcement and reduce the cost of training officers.
- HB 1800 – provides that a court may convict a criminal of malicious mischief or criminal street gang tagging and graffiti, offering community restitution.
- I-2113 – restore safe police vehicle pursuits for reasonable suspicion that a suspect has violated the law or poses a threat to the safety of others.