Public safety bills on hold in the house

Feb 22, 2024
Written by WR Communications


WR has been one of the strongest and loudest advocates for improving public safety and urging the legislature to confront the challenges of retail theft and Organized Retail Crime (ORC). This session has been dedicated to creating and supporting a comprehensive strategy that includes early access to diversion programs while ensuring accountability for ORC rings and habitual offenders engaged in serious offenses.

Two crucial bills that formed part of our multipronged approach successfully cleared the Senate. However, prospects for their passage in the House are unlikely.

SB 5160: Organized Retail Crime-Multiple Accomplices  

SB 5160 targets the intricate problem of ORC by addressing the involvement of multiple accomplices. The unanimous passage of this bill in the Senate demonstrated a shared commitment to establish a responsible and equitable framework for addressing public safety, combating retail theft, and deterring ORC operations across Washington.

The bill was originally scheduled for a public hearing and executive session in the House Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee. However, as of Thursday, February 15 it was pulled from the agenda without explanation. Despite WR, other business associations, and the broader business community urging for a public hearing before the February 21 cutoff, the request has not been granted.

SB 5056 – Habitual Offenders 

SB 5056 seeks to address habitual property crime offenders through sentence enhancements, focusing solely on the most serious offenders. Despite Washington Retail’s efforts to amend the bill to prioritize access to treatment and reduce recidivism, some committee members remain opposed to lengthening incarceration sentences, casting doubt on the bill’s future progress.

While the bipartisan support garnered in the Senate is commendable, it’s unlikely these bills will advance further this session. Nevertheless, Washington Retail and its members remain steadfast in our commitment to combatting retail theft and ORC in our state. For those interested in joining our grassroots efforts to foster safer working environments, improve the shopping experience, and strengthen communities, please send an email to WR Local & State Government Affairs Manager Crystal Leatherman at [email protected].


Return to newsletter