I-940 petitions
Petitions for I-940, awaiting submission (Photo: De-Escalate Washington)

For the first time in a long time — a very long time — the Wash­ing­ton State House and State Sen­ate have adopt­ed into law an ini­tia­tive sub­mit­ted by the peo­ple to the Leg­is­la­ture under the process out­lined in Arti­cle II of the State Con­sti­tu­tion, rather than tak­ing no action on the mea­sure and let­ting it go to the voters.

By a vote of fifty-five to forty-three, De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton’s I‑940 (con­cern­ing law enforce­ment) was adopt­ed in the House. Not long after, it was adopt­ed in the Sen­ate on a par­ty-line vote of twen­ty-five to twenty-four.

In advance of the vote on I‑940, the Leg­is­la­ture passed a com­pro­mise bill nego­ti­at­ed by law­mak­ers, De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the state’s law enforce­ment com­mu­ni­ty that will super­sede I‑940. That bill, ESHB 3003, passed the House and Sen­ate ear­li­er today and was signed into law by Gov­er­nor Inslee a few min­utes before the Leg­is­la­ture took up I‑940.

Here’s what this all means:

  • Wash­ing­to­ni­ans may not be vot­ing on Ini­tia­tive 940 this November.
  • The changes to state law sought by the De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton coali­tion (which includ­ed NPI) will take effect many months soon­er than if the ini­tia­tive had gone to the bal­lot and been approved by voters.
  • Pros­e­cu­tors will soon no longer have to prove that a police offi­cer act­ed “with­out mal­ice” to bring a case for improp­er, unjust use of dead­ly force.

Research by NPI last year found 69% of vot­ers sur­veyed were in sup­port of Ini­tia­tive 940. More recent­ly, a poll con­duct­ed on behalf of the De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton coali­tion found 68% of respon­dents in sup­port of I‑940.

I pre­sent­ed our find­ings to the House and Sen­ate’s joint hear­ing on I‑940 last month, chaired by my own State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Roger Goodman.

The roll calls by the Sen­ate on approval of both I‑940 and ESHB 3003 were iden­ti­cal and along par­ty lines. The Sen­ate roll call vote for I‑940 is below.

Ini­tia­tive 940
Law enforcement
Sen­ate vote on 3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Yeas: 25; Nays: 24

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Car­lyle, Chase, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Dhin­gra, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hobbs, Hunt, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, McCoy, Mul­let, Nel­son, Palum­bo, Ped­er­sen, Ranker, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Takko, Van De Wege, Wellman

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Angel, Bai­ley, Baum­gart­ner, Beck­er, Braun, Brown, Erick­sen, Fain, For­tu­na­to, Hawkins, Hon­ey­ford, King, Milos­cia, O’Ban, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Shel­don, Short, Wag­oner, Walsh, War­nick, Wil­son, Zeiger

The roll call by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on I‑940 was as follows:

Ini­tia­tive 940
Law enforcement
House vote on Final Passage

Yeas: 55; Nays: 43

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Apple­ton, Bergquist, Chap­man, Clib­born, Cody, Doglio, Dolan, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Haler, Hansen, Hayes, Hud­gins, Jink­ins, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Lovick, Lyt­ton, Macri, McBride, Mor­ris, Nealey, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Sells, Senn, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stan­ford, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tar­leton, Tharinger, Valdez, Wylie, Mr. Speaker

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Barkis, Blake, Buys, Caldier, Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, DeBolt, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Graves, Har­grove, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Holy, Irwin, Jenkin, John­son, Kraft, Kretz, Kris­tiansen, MacEwen, Man­weller, May­cum­ber, McCabe, McCaslin, McDon­ald, Muri, Orcutt, Pike, Rodne, Schmick, Shea, Stam­baugh, Steele, Stokes­bary, Tay­lor, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Young

The vote in the House was not along par­ty lines.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Blake vot­ed nay, while Repub­li­cans Brad Klip­pert, Ter­ry Nealey, Lar­ry Haler, Dan Grif­fey, Dave Hayes, and Nor­ma Smith joined the remain­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of the House in sup­port of the initiative.

Yes­ter­day, the House passed ESHB 3003 (the com­pro­mise suc­ces­sor bill) with over­whelm­ing bipar­ti­san majori­ties. The roll call on the bill was as follows.

ESHB 3003
Law enforce­ment
Final Passage

Yeas: 73 Nays: 25

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Bergquist, Blake, Chap­man, Clib­born, Cody, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Dye, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Haler, Hansen, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Hayes, Holy, Hud­gins, Jenkin, Jink­ins, John­son, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Kraft, Kris­tiansen, Lovick, Lyt­ton, MacEwen, Macri, Man­weller, McBride, McDon­ald, Mor­ris, Nealey, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stan­ford, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tar­leton, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Volz, Wylie, Chopp

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Barkis, Buys, Caldier, Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, DeBolt, Graves, Har­grove, Irwin, Kretz, May­cum­ber, McCabe, McCaslin, Muri, Orcutt, Pike, Rodne, Shea, Stam­baugh, Steele, Stokes­bary, Tay­lor, Walsh, Wilcox, Young

“Today, in a his­toric move, the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture took our pol­i­cy — Ini­tia­tive 940 and passed it into law!” said SEIU’s Chris Lamp­kin in a mes­sage addressed to coali­tion mem­bers. “It would not have been pos­si­ble with­out you — fam­i­ly, vol­un­teers, activists, trib­al mem­bers and com­mu­ni­ty sup­port­ers to get this law passed six months ear­li­er than if we passed it at the ballot.”

“We gath­ered over 360,000 sig­na­tures for Ini­tia­tive 940 to be con­sid­ered by the Leg­is­la­ture, raised over $1.3 mil­lion dol­lars and told the sto­ries of our fam­i­lies and friends who have lost loved ones. We demand­ed that our voic­es be heard!”

“Our cam­paign has been always about “build­ing bridges between com­mu­ni­ty and police.” We were hope­ful that, because of the pow­er of our move­ment, leg­is­la­tors and law enforce­ment offi­cers would work with us in order to pass I‑940 soon­er rather than lat­er — and they did!”

“The De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton team worked togeth­er with leg­is­la­tors and law enforce­ment to pass a bill House Bill 3003 that strength­ens and clar­i­fies some of the lan­guage I‑940 and upholds the prin­ci­ples and val­ues of sav­ing lives and mak­ing every­one in our com­mu­ni­ty safer.”

The coali­tion notes that I‑940’s suc­ces­sor ESHB 3003 will do the following:

  • Elim­i­nates the de-fac­to immu­ni­ty for when an offi­cer unjust­ly uses dead­ly force and puts in place a more clear and con­cise def­i­n­i­tion of good faith as an objec­tive standard.
  • Puts in place mea­sures so that law enforce­ment agen­cies will be account­able if they fail to pro­vide train­ing to officers.
  • Pro­vides clar­i­fi­ca­tion that first aid to those injured due to police action should have access to first aid at the ear­li­est safe opportunity.
  • Shines a light that the de-esca­la­tion tac­tics and less lethal alter­na­tives are a part of deci­sion-mak­ing when con­sid­er­ing to use dead­ly force .
  • Clar­i­fies the time­line for noti­fi­ca­tion of Tribes if a Trib­al mem­ber is killed to ensure enough time for impor­tant cul­tur­al cer­e­monies and rituals.
  • Ensures that com­mu­ni­ty stake­hold­ers will be at the table to help craft the new train­ing and account­abil­i­ty measures.

“Your sto­ries and hard work helped us qual­i­fy I‑940 and showed the pow­er of our move­ment —  that when we stand unit­ed, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties are a force to be reck­oned with,” Lamp­kin added. “Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of us on this his­toric win for every­one in our communities!”

“Tonight’s actions regard­ing I‑940 are incred­i­bly mean­ing­ful exam­ples of what hap­pens when peo­ple choose to open their mind, to lis­ten and to com­pro­mise,” said Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in a state­ment. “De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton over­came the odds and brought this ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture, and I want to thank them for bring­ing a voice that many felt had gone unheard for too long.”

“Dur­ing this leg­isla­tive ses­sion, De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton, many in the law enforce­ment com­mu­ni­ty, and a bipar­ti­san group of leg­is­la­tors came togeth­er to make tremen­dous progress on an issue that has divid­ed so many com­mu­ni­ties across our coun­try. I met with many from these groups ear­li­er tonight and thanked them for com­ing togeth­er and work­ing hard to find­ing true compromise.”

“Tonight’s pas­sage avoids politi­ciza­tion of an emo­tion­al issue, and I hope will bring mean­ing­ful change, progress and heal­ing. My belief is, and I heard from many tonight, that this should be the begin­ning of ongo­ing mean­ing­ful dia­logue to keep this con­ver­sa­tion mov­ing for­ward toward a safer Wash­ing­ton for all.”

“Thank you again to Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Good­man, Hayes, Sen­a­tors Frockt, Ped­er­sen, and all those involved in tonight’s passage.”

Four fam­i­lies who have lost loved ones said in a news release that the Leg­is­la­ture’s action will help dis­pel divi­sions between Wash­ing­ton’s peo­ple and law enforce­ment. Here are their state­ments on tonight’s votes.

Puyallup Trib­al mem­ber Lisa Earl lost her daugh­ter Jacque­line Saly­ers in Jan­u­ary 2016. Lisa and the Puyallup Tribe have worked tire­less­ly on this issue. “I want to thank the leg­is­la­tors for pass­ing this now and espe­cial­ly want to thank the law enforce­ment com­mu­ni­ty for com­ing for­ward to work with us. This is such an impor­tant step towards build­ing bridges between com­mu­ni­ties and the police.”

The fam­i­ly of Leonard Thomas has been work­ing close­ly with the De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton cam­paign since last sum­mer.  Leonard was unarmed when he was shot by police in 2013.

“There are not enough words to describe how grate­ful we are.  We believe this will save lives. Mak­ing the law effec­tive in June instead of Decem­ber will make a dif­fer­ence for everyone.”

Mar­i­lyn Covar­ru­bias has been a fierce advo­cate for the pas­sage of I‑940. Mar­i­lyn’s son Daniel was killed by Lake­wood police in April 2015. “This issue is so impor­tant for the fam­i­lies who have been per­son­al­ly impact­ed by police vio­lence. Today is an his­toric day and will start the heal­ing process for fam­i­lies, for com­mu­ni­ties, and for law enforcement.”

Andre Tay­lor has been work­ing to address issues relat­ed to police prac­tices and police use of force since his broth­er Che Tay­lor was killed by Seat­tle police in Feb­ru­ary 2016.

“My fam­i­ly knows this won’t bring my broth­er back.  What it will do is make the future safer for our community.”

NPI con­grat­u­lates the Leg­is­la­ture and every­one involved in mak­ing tonight’s votes hap­pen. This is a tri­umph. It’s a demon­stra­tion of the incred­i­ble good that can be wrought from a con­ver­gence of the ini­tia­tive process and the leg­isla­tive process.

We know there are some, par­tic­u­lar­ly on the Repub­li­can side of the aisle, who believe that the adop­tion of ESHB 3003 amounts to an end-run around the Con­sti­tu­tion. Some of the peo­ple mak­ing this argu­ment have pre­vi­ous­ly sup­port­ed, — with gus­to — Tim Eyman ini­tia­tives that were bla­tant­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and lat­er ruled to be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, so we find their objec­tions very curi­ous indeed.

We would point out to those indi­vid­u­als that I‑940 was in fact adopt­ed by the Leg­is­la­ture with­out amend­ment as the Con­sti­tu­tion requires, and that ESHB 3003 is a sep­a­rate piece of leg­is­la­tion that was vot­ed on independently.

Those who believe the Leg­is­la­ture act­ed uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly always have the free­dom to file a law­suit and bring the mat­ter before our courts for inter­pre­ta­tion. But giv­en that ESHB 3003 is com­pro­mise leg­is­la­tion intend­ed to avert the need for expen­sive pro and con cam­paigns this Novem­ber across our state on a sen­si­tive issue, leav­ing well enough alone would be in every­one’s best interest.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “De-Escalate Washington’s I‑940 approved by the Legislature along with a compromise bill”

  1. Good arti­cle Andrew. I just hope the “mal­ice” pro­tec­tions are tru­ly set aside rather than just being dis­guised with leg­isla­tive legal­ize. I guess time will tell.

Comments are closed.