2022 Legislative Priorities
The 2020-2021 legislative session saw a record number of bills that changed practices for law enforcement (both proactive and reactive). Enacted laws affected community caretaking duties, yet at the same time, removed specific less-lethal tools. Out of session, lawmakers approached law enforcement leaders and community members to consult on possible amendments to the existing laws enacted in 2021. Conversations are a promising sign, in contrast to the 20-21 session where input from law enforcement on these bills was not as well received.
Current Legislations/Lawmaker Focus
Most of the conversations for legislative adjustment have surrounded two bills: E2SHB 1310 - Use of Force and ESHB 1054 - Police Tactics. A legislative stakeholder meeting occurred in late October 2021 that contained a possible blueprint for adjustments to the law.
Proposed adjustments include:
- Expanded/clarifying authorization to use physical force; adding language to authorize physical force (subject to reasonable care) in the following additional circumstances: behavioral health interventions, child protective custody, court orders, and criminal investigations.
- Consider clarifying that "physical force" does not include assisting Fire and EMS by adding clarifying language. Consider clarifying language relating to exhausting de-escalation tactics.
- Modify restrictions on "firearms and ammunition of .50 caliber or greater" to resolve the less-lethal issue. Consider modifying rules on vehicular pursuits by expanding authority for pursuits (for example, domestic violence) in certain circumstances and changing standards for supervisory control in small jurisdictions. These proposals would significantly improve the existing state laws if enacted as proposed.
These proposals would significantly improve the existing state laws if enacted as proposed.
Future Legislations/Lawmaker Focus
In addition to the discussed amendments to existing reforms from 20-21, all police reform legislation proposed in the last session that went dormant will resurrect in this next session.
We fully expect conversations on several polarizing topics, and our position on these topics is as follows:
- Qualified immunity (HB1202) – OPPOSE – Qualified immunity applies to all public officials, not just law enforcement officers. State law already exists to hold officers accountable for criminal actions, meeting the same legal thresholds as the general public. In addition, at the federal level, 42 USC 1983 provides for civil action should illegal activities be committed under color of law.
- Law that limits public safety traffic enforcement (SB5485) – OPPOSE – Multiple jurisdictions around the country have either administratively or legislatively mandated that law enforcement not enforce certain traffic-related violations. This could very well have negative impacts on the motoring public due to an increase in collisions and the resultant property damage and injuries. Moving infractions should remain.
- Police Community Oversight Boards (HB1203) – OPPOSE – For municipal law enforcement, this already exists in the form of elected city councils. As other potential legislation makes its way through the next session, we continue to offer a sounding board to assist with crafting good public safety policy
Specific Project Funding Needs
Grove Street Overcrossing | $24M
Grove Street is a critical east-west corridor in downtown Marysville. A new overcrossing at the BNSF mainline between Cedar Avenue and State Avenue will help eliminate congestion and traffic backups currently experienced due to increasing train traffic through the city. The project is currently at 30% design.
Cities of Marysville & Lake Stevens Trail Connector | $500K Easements, $6M Total
Marysville and Lake Stevens are developing a trail system utilizing the existing transmission powerline corridor that passes through each jurisdiction boundary. The addition of the Powerline Trail will provide for a multi-use trail system for residents that will connect to the regional Centennial Trail.
Comeford Park Redesign | $500K for Design and Construction
The Comeford Park Redesign project is a part of a larger downtown revitalization plan that includes street, sidewalk and city services improvements, most namely the Civic Center. A plaza, designed to host outdoor events, connects Comeford Park to the Civic Center. Comeford Park has long been the host of special events including markets, music and Merrysville for the Holidays.
156th Street NE Overcrossing | $500,000 Design
The 156th Street NE Overcrossing proposes to reinstate a public railroad crossing with an overcrossing at the BNSF mainline. A future interchange at Interstate 5 and 156th Street NE is funded under Connecting Washington. This overcrossing would allow neighborhoods to the west of I-5 access to the new interchange.