Washington State Patrol vehicles
Washington State Patrol vehicles responding to an incident in DuPont (Photo: Richard Bauer, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

A bipar­ti­san major­i­ty of the Wash­ing­ton State House has endorsed updates to the law gov­ern­ing police pur­suits, low­er­ing the stan­dard for police offi­cers to insti­gate a chase from prob­a­ble cause to rea­son­able sus­pi­cion while attach­ing a num­ber of new con­di­tions to police depart­ments’ use of that pur­suit authority.

The House con­sid­ered and then made minor changes to a Sen­ate bill that had appeared a month ago to be dead until it was sud­den­ly revived, replaced with new lan­guage, and sud­den­ly vot­ed out with Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can votes.

Sen­ate Bill 5352, prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor John Lovick (D‑44th Dis­trict: Sno­homish Coun­ty), now returns to its cham­ber of ori­gin for a con­cur­rence vote.

As in the Sen­ate, the bill split the Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can cau­cus­es to a sig­nif­i­cant extent and was basi­cal­ly the inverse of a par­ty line vote.

The roll call was as follows:

Roll Call
ESB 5352
Vehic­u­lar pursuits
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the House

Yeas: 57; Nays: 40; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Barnard, Berg, Bergquist, Bronoske, Callan, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cortes, Davis, Dent, Don­aghy, Duerr, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Goehn­er, Good­man, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klick­er, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Low, McClin­tock, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Ramel, Ramos, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Springer, Stearns, Steele, Stonier, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Waters, Wylie, Ybar­ra, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Alvara­do, Barkis, Bate­man, Berry, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chopp, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Doglio, Dye, Enten­man, Fari­var, Gra­ham, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Kretz, Macri, May­cum­ber, McEn­tire, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Pol­let, Reed, Robert­son, Rude, San­tos, Slat­ter, Stokes­bary, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ortiz-Self

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 39 Democ­rats vot­ed yea for the bill
  • 19 Democ­rats vot­ed nay against the bill
  • 18 Repub­li­cans vot­ed yea for the bill
  • 21 Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay against the bill
Democ­rats who opposed the bill were:
  1. Emi­ly Alvarado
  2. Jes­si­ca Bateman
  3. Liz Berry
  4. Frank Chopp
  5. Beth Doglio
  6. Debra Enten­man
  7. Darya Fari­var
  8. Mia Gregerson
  9. Nicole Macri
  10. Sharlett Mena
  11. Melanie Mor­gan
  12. Timm Orms­by
  13. Ger­ry Pollet
  14. Julia Reed
  15. Sharon Tomiko Santos
  16. Van­dana Slatter
  17. Chipa­lo Street
  18. Jami­la Taylor
  19. My-Linh Thai
Repub­li­cans who opposed the bill were:
  1. Peter Abbarno
  2. Andrew Barkis
  3. Michelle Caldier
  4. Kel­ly Chambers
  5. Chris Cor­ry
  6. Travis Cou­ture
  7. Mary Dye
  8. Jen­ny Graham
  9. Dan Grif­fey
  10. Paul Har­ris
  11. Spencer Hutchins
  12. Cyn­dy Jacobsen
  13. Joel Kretz
  14. Jacquelin May­cum­ber
  15. Joel McEn­tire
  16. Eric Robert­son
  17. Skyler Rude
  18. Drew Stokes­bary
  19. Mike Volz
  20. Jim Walsh
  21. J.T. Wilcox

There were pro­gres­sive state rep­re­sen­ta­tives on both sides of the vote, although most pro­gres­sives were nays. Major­i­ty Leader Joe Fitzgib­bon was a yes vote, as was Speak­er Pro Tem Tina Orwall and ris­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic star Tar­ra Simmons.

“The law on vehic­u­lar pur­suits has saved lives — few­er bystanders, offi­cers, pas­sen­gers, and dri­vers are los­ing their lives as a result of hot pur­suits,” said the Wash­ing­ton Coali­tion for Police Account­abil­i­ty in a state­ment sev­er­al hours before the vote. “We hope the Leg­is­la­ture is very care­ful in their con­sid­er­a­tion of whether it should be changed. Because lives are at stake.”

The strik­ing amend­ment from the Com­mu­ni­ty Safe­ty, Jus­tice, & Reen­try Com­mit­tee was described by non­par­ti­san staff as mak­ing the fol­low­ing changes:

EFFECT: Requires a pur­su­ing offi­cer in a juris­dic­tion with few­er than 15, rather than 10, com­mis­sioned offi­cers to request the on-call super­vi­sor be noti­fied of the pur­suit. Pro­vides that the emer­gency vehi­cle oper­a­tor train­ing required for pur­su­ing offi­cers must include train­ing on per­form­ing the risk assess­ment analy­sis of whether a per­son being pur­sued pos­es a seri­ous risk of harm to oth­ers and the safe­ty risks of fail­ing to appre­hend or iden­ti­fy the per­son are con­sid­ered greater than the safe­ty risks of the pursuit.

Assum­ing that these changes are accept­able to a major­i­ty of the Sen­ate, the bill could be sent to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in a few days.

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.

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