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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Monday, August 14, 2017

Big issues talked about in public safety & criminal justice

The 2017 session was marked by attempts to tackle some big issues in the public safety and criminal justice arena.

To start off, there was some good news in the budget for the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) and public defense grants. The Legislature added the necessary funding to the 2015-17 supplemental budget to cover the cost of ongoing BLEA classes and funded 16 classes per year for FY 2017-19. While we were asking for 18 classes per year, 16 is a good start towards meeting the training demand. The FY 2017-19 also includes additional funding for city public defense grants from the Office of Public Defense.

One of the most noticeable bills to pass is the new distracted driving laws that took effect on July 23. The new law requires the use of hands-free devices while driving. The bill originally had a delayed effective date, but that was vetoed by Governor Inslee resulting in the July 23 effective date. For more information about the new law you can visit Target Zero.

Additionally, there were a number of legislative proposals on the deadly use of force by law enforcement. In 2016 there was a legislative task force created to recommend changes to the use of force laws. The members of the task force failed to agree on a common approach resulting in multiple, competing legislative proposals on changing the criminal liability standard for law enforcement officers using deadly force. The proposals generally included removing the “malice” language in statute, a redefined “good faith” standard, and increased training requirements. However, there was not agreement on these changes and legislation failed to pass. Advocates are now pursuing an initiative to the Legislature on this topic.

SB 5046 also passed which requires local emergency management organizations to develop a plan to communicate with limited English speaking populations during emergencies.

There were a number of bills on regional fire authorities with two notable bills passed: HB 1467 made changes to levy authority and benefit charge renewal and SB 5628 allows for the creation of a municipal fire authority within the boundaries of a city.

Bill #

Descriptive title

Final status

HB 1467

Removing disincentives to the voluntary formation of regional fire protection service authorities by establishing parity, equalizing certain provisions with existing laws governing fire protection districts, and clarifying the formation process

Law; Effective 5/5/2017 except for sections 10 and 12, which become effective 1/1/2018

HB 1540

Providing public notices of public health, safety, and welfare in a language other than English

Law, Effective 7/23/2017

HB 1757

Addressing transient accommodations contaminated by methamphetamine

Law, Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5046

Providing public notices of public health, safety, and welfare in a language other than English

Law, Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5289

Modifying the infraction of and penalties for distracted driving

Law, Effective 7/23/2017

SB 5628

Providing for fire protection district formation by the legislative authority of a city or town subject to voter approval

Law, Effective 7/23/2017

HB 1016

Requiring a finding of guilt prior to the forfeiture of private property

Did not pass

HB 1047

Protecting the public's health by creating a system for safe and secure collection and disposal of unwanted medications

Did not pass

HB 1390

Concerning disclosures regarding incentivized evidence and testimony

Did not pass

HB 1418

Authorizing the use of automated license plate recognition systems

Did not pass

HB 1529

Concerning recommendations from the joint legislative task force on the use of deadly force in community policing

Did not pass

HB 1698

Concerning enhancing public health and safety by implementing emergency preparedness guidance measures related to oil train accidents

Did not pass

HB 1783

Concerning legal financial obligations

Did not pass

HB 1909

Authorizing the use of automated license plate recognition systems

Did not pass

SB 5038

Concerning disclosures regarding incentivized evidence and testimony

Did not pass

SB 5073

Concerning recommendations from the joint legislative task force on the use of deadly force in community policing

Did not pass

SB 5904

Concerning convicted persons

Did not pass

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