Legislative Update

Apr 13, 2023
Written by WR Communications

Washington State Capitol Building


April 12 at 5:00 p.m., was the last opportunity to pass bills from the opposite House, except for initiatives, alternatives to initiatives, budgets, matters necessary to implement budgets, and differences between the houses.

Just ten days remain for the 2023 Legislative session, assuming it finishes on schedule. The WR government affairs team continues to work diligently on several bills of great importance to our members.

SB 5352 — Concerning vehicular pursuits

Senate Bill 5352 addresses the 2021 legislation HB 1054, which increased the criteria for police pursuits from reasonable suspicion to probable cause that an individual has committed specific crimes before initiating a chase.

The bill made it out of the Senate in March and was watered down significantly, excluding property crimes. The bill passed out of the House on Monday with amendments that modified the evidentiary threshold required for engaging in a vehicular pursuit. The amended version allows an officer to conduct the vehicular pursuit if the officer has reasonable suspicion—rather than probable cause—that a person has or is committing vehicular assault. Officers may also pursue in situations where the subject of the vehicular pursuit poses a serious risk of harm to others.

Early Tuesday morning, the House of Representatives passed a version of a bill that would lower the threshold for police to pursue a suspect from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. Pursuits would only be permitted for limited crimes, including a violent offense, sex offense, an escape, a DUI, vehicular assault, or domestic violence assault in the first, second, third, or fourth-degree offense.

Under existing legislation, pursuits are permitted solely when an individual presents an “immediate danger.” At the same time, the House’s proposal broadens the criteria to include cases where a person poses a “significant threat of harm to others.” The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence. Senate Minority Leader John Braun said he is concerned the bill will likely die in the Senate.

SB 5187/HB 1140 — ORC Task Force Funding – Operating Budget

We continue to urge for full funding for the task force. In response to the Attorney General’s request for $3 million, the governor recommended funding the task force at $2.2 million. The House budget proposes funding at $1.1 million, and the Senate budget includes $2.2 million. WR is urging the House budget team to increase their proposal to $2.2 million for approval.


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