Legislative Update for March 6, 2022by Rebecca N. Johnson on March 6, 2022
Action on Policy Bills
The high-profile apprenticeship bills, SB 5600 (Keiser, D-33) and SB 5764 (Randall, D-26) passed the House on Thursday, March 3. Both bills passed with nearly unanimous support and return to the Senate for minor concurrences.
Last year, legislators passed a package of police reform laws designed to adjust acceptable use of force, tactics, and equipment and to put systems of accountability and transparency into place. There have been challenges in the implementation of these laws, with some law enforcement agencies contending that the new use of force standard prevents them from assisting designated crisis responders and mental and behavioral health specialists with involuntary treatments and other community caretaking functions. Therefore, this session has again been marked by a tug-of-war between law enforcement and families of those who have died during interactions with law enforcement. On Friday, Governor Inslee signed HB 1735 (Johnson, D-30), the first of the police response bills to pass the 2022 Legislature. HB 1735 clarifies that officers can use force, subject to the newly established reasonable care standard, in behavioral health circumstances, for involuntary treatment commitments, in instances of child welfare, and other related circumstances. The Governor also signed HB 1719 (Bronoske, D-28) which clarifies that the prohibition on .50 caliber weapons only applies to rifles and not to beanbag rounds or less-lethal munitions launchers. The two bills signed Friday are well supported by the Washington Fraternal RNJ Strategies
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