2022 Washington State Legislative Session

In March, the Washington State Legislature completed its 60-day session with some disappointing outcomes for police accountability. House Bill 2037, which allows police officers to use force against individuals fleeing a stop, passed through both houses and was signed by Governor Jay Inslee. 

"The 2022 Washington State Legislative session rolled back many of the police accountability and reform wins from the previous year. HB 2037 will harm youth and communities of color by allowing officers to use force against people during Terry Stops; a change that lowers the standard for when police can use force. Rather than creating and building trust with communities, this bill will unravels progress made last year."

- Douglas Wagoner, Seattle Community Police Commission Co-Chair 

The Community Police Commission created the 2022 Washington State Legislature Police Accountability Scorecard to track bills that will impact policing.

Highlight

Bill Number: ESHB 2037

  • Description: Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.
  • Status: Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.
  • CPC’s Stance and Analysis: Opposed – The bill undermines the progress made in the 2021 legislative session by allowing officers to use force against individuals who -they determine to be fleeing from a Terry Stop. Terry stops have disproportionately impacted black and brown communities.

Bill Number: HB 1719

  • Description: Concerning use and acquisition of military equipment by law enforcement agencies.
  • Status: Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.
  • CPC’s Stance and Analysis: Supported – The bill clarifies that police departments can acquire and utilize 40mm shotguns for less-lethal munitions. While CPC supported the clarifying aspects of this legislation we want to state, unequivocally, that non-violent de-escalation techniques can, and should, be used far more frequently.

Bill Number: SHB 1735

  • Description: Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.
  • Status: Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.
  • CPC’s Stance and Analysis: Supported – The bill clarifies that officers are allowed to respond to mental health calls. While the CPC supported this legislation we still want to emphasize that Washington state must create and prioritize non-law enforcement responses for behavioral health and mental health incidents.

Bill Number: ESB 5919

  • Description: Concerning the definition of "physical force," "necessary," and "totality of the circumstances," and the standard for law enforcement authority to use physical force and providing the authority for a peace officer to engage in a vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and the officer follows appropriate safety standards.)
  • Status: Did not pass the Senate Committee on Rules.
  • CPC’s Stance and Analysis: Opposed – This legislation would have lowered the standards from probable cause to reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a crime for officers to initiate a vehicular pursuit. Vehicular pursuits are notoriously dangerous and lowering standards for when an officer can initiate a pursuit makes them more likely occur.

Bills Supported

Bill Number

Description

Status

Analysis

HB 1719

Concerning use and acquisition of military equipment by law enforcement agencies.

Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.

The bill clarifies that police departments can acquire and utilize 40mm shotguns for less-lethal munitions. While we supported the clarifying aspects of this legislation we want to state, unequivocally, that non-violent de-escalation techniques can, and should, be used far more frequently

SHB 1735

Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.

Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.

The bill clarifies that officers are still allowed to respond to calls that have a mental health component. While the CPC supported this legislation, we still want to emphasize that Washington state must create and prioritize non-law enforcement responses for behavioral health and mental health incidents.

2SHB 1202

Addressing meaningful civil remedies for persons injured as a result of police misconduct, including by allowing for an award of attorney fees in addition to damages and injunctive and declaratory relief.

Did not pass House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary.

This bill would have created an avenue for individuals to seek remedies to harm caused by police officers in the course of their duties. Individuals should have the right and ability to seek remedies in these situations.

HB 1507

Establishing a mechanism for independent prosecutions of criminal conduct arising from police use of force.

Did not pass House Committee on Public Safety.

This bill would have allowed the office of the attorney general to have the authority and power to investigate, initiate, and conduct prosecutions of crimes involving police use of deadly force.

HB 1690

Concerning the use of deception by law enforcement officers during custodial interrogations.

Did not pass House Committee on Public Safety.

This bill would have made statements taken by an officer during a custodial interrogation inadmissible if the court determines that the officer intentionally engaged in deception in obtaining the statement.

Bills Opposed

Bill Number

Description

Status

Analysis

ESHB 2037

Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.

Passed and signed by Gov. Inslee.

The bill undermines the progress made in the 2021 legislative session. The bill allows officers to use force against individuals who they determine to be fleeing from an investigatory stop (Terry Stops). These stops have historically been susceptible to systemic racial profiling as they are based on very little evidence and officer discretion.  

HB 1589

Concerning the authority of peace officers to use physical force.

Did not pass House Committee on Public Safety.

 

This bill sought to roll back aspects of HB 1310, which passed in the 2021 legislative session. This bill would have expanded when officers could use force in interactions with community members.

SHB 1788

Concerning vehicular pursuits.

Did not pass the House Committee on Rules.

Opposed – This bill would have lowered the standards from probable cause to reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a crime for officers to initiate a vehicular pursuit. Vehicular pursuits are notoriously dangerous and lowering standards for when an officer can initiate a pursuit makes them more likely occur.

SB 5522

Increasing the penalty for assaulting a law enforcement officer.

Did not pass the Senate Committee on Law and Justice.

Opposed – This legislation would have set a minimum sentence for anyone who was convicted of assaulting a law enforcement officer in furtherance of a riot or unlawful assembly.

ESB 5919

Concerning the standard for law enforcement authority to detain or pursue persons.

(REVISED FOR ENGROSSED: Concerning the definition of "physical force," "necessary," and "totality of the circumstances," and the standard for law enforcement authority to use physical force and providing the authority for a peace officer to engage in a vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and the officer follows appropriate safety standards.)

Did not pass the Senate Committee on Rules.

Opposed – This legislation would have lowered the standards from probable cause to reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a crime for officers to initiate a vehicular pursuit. Vehicular pursuits are notoriously dangerous and lowering standards for when an officer can initiate a pursuit makes them more likely occur.

Bill Number

Description 

Status 

Analysis 

HB 1692

Promoting racial equity in the criminal legal system by eliminating drive-by shooting as a basis for elevating murder in the first degree to aggravated murder in the first degree.

Did not pass House Committee on Public Safety.

This bill would have removed sentence enhancements for murder in the first degree that are added on if the murder was committed via drive-by shooting. The CPC did not make a final determination on whether to support or oppose the bill.

SB 5485

Prohibiting traffic stops for certain traffic violations.

Did not pass the Senate Committee on Transportation.

 This legislation would release officers from conducting vehicle stops for minor, non-dangerous, infractions.

SB 5677

Enhancing public trust and confidence in law enforcement and strengthening law enforcement accountability, by specifying required practices for complaints, investigations, discipline, and disciplinary appeals for serious misconduct.

Did not pass the Senate Committee on Law and Justice.

This bill sought increase accountability for police officers who engage in misconduct by codifying a statewide foundation of how cases of serious misconduct will be investigated, how discipline will be determined in those cases, and standardizing processes for receiving and processing appeals related to those cases.

Learn More and Get Involved!

The Community Police Commission will be hosting a Community Engagement meeting Tuesday, May 10, 6 – 8:00 p.m. The State Legislative Advocacy workgroup will present a summary of the 2022 State Legislative Session and hear feedback and issues that community will like the Commission to pursue in 2023. Click here to register for the Community Engagement meeting. 

Become a Commissioner!

Applications to become a CPC commissioner are open! To apply please submit the following:

  • A resume or bio
  • Cover letter describing your interest, number of hours you would be able to commit to CPC-related work per month, and relevant experience
  • A state of commitment to attendance and full participation in the work of the commission.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, please submit your application to OCPC@seattle.gov

Click here for more information on Commissioner responsibilities, selection process, and criteria.

 

The Seattle Community Police Commission is committed to listening to, amplifying, and building common ground among communities affected by policing. The Commission champions policing practices centered in justice and equity.