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Published on Thursday, April 28, 2016

Body cameras take center stage in 2016, other AWC priorities not as successful

2016 was a relatively quiet year for public safety and criminal justice legislation. There were a number of bills introduced addressing the dangers and costs of wildfires, but ultimately the Legislature settled for paying the bills for last year’s wildfire season through the Budget Stabilization Account (i.e. the Rainy Day Fund). Given last year’s drought and fire danger, AWC sought greater flexibility for cities to ban the use of fireworks during emergency conditions. Unfortunately, HB 2348 was unable to advance due in part to opposition from tribal interests.

AWC also sought a technical fix to funding for public defense grants that would have more evenly distributed the new funding provided in the 2015-17 budget, but in spite of passing the House 90 to 8, HB 2764 bill wasn’t considered in the Senate.

On a more successful note, SB 6360 passed to form a work group which will examine the possibility of creating a statewide approach to relicensing for DWLS 3 offenders. AWC supported this effort as a good opportunity to look for more cost-effective approaches to addressing DWLS 3 offenses.

One of the biggest successes for 2016 was the passage of HB 2362, addressing policy body-worn cameras. Thanks to the hard work of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island), a bipartisan coalition of legislators and a broad spectrum of stakeholders, this bill passed after much negotiation. The bill provides needed clarity around public records issues and increases privacy protections. It also establishes a large, diverse task force to look at issues around body-worn cameras moving forward. The bill only applies to jurisdictions that have implemented a body-worn camera program by June 9, 2016, and it sunsets in July 2019. The timeframe is intended to give the task force time to make recommendations for future changes to the law. We want to thank the many people who worked on, and advocated for this legislation.

BillTracker Bill # Descriptive title Final status
  SB 6360 Developing a plan for the consolidation of traffic-based financial obligations Law; Effective 6/9/2016
  HB 2700 DUI law revisions; concerning provisions around DUI sentencing, law enforcement protections and and ignition interlock devices Law; Effective 6/9/2016
  SB 6328 Regulating the e-cigarette and vapor product industry in Washington Law; Effective 6/9/2016
  HB 2287 Providing notice to first responders that a person with a disability may be present at the scene of an emergency Failed
Yes HB 2764 Equalizing public defense fund distributions Failed
  HB 2558 Jail standards task force Failed
Yes HB 2348 Allowing local governments to implement fireworks regulations Failed
  HB 2659 Developing a plan for the consolidation of traffic-based financial obligations Failed
  HB 1605 Modifying the length of time a fire district or regional fire authority may impose a benefit charge Failed 
  HB 2321 Formation and funding of regional fire authorities Failed
  SB 6204 Formation and funding of regional fire authorities Failed
  HB 1368 Formation and funding of regional fire authorities Failed
  HB 2708 Providing for fire protection district formation by the legislative authority of a city or town subject to voter approval Failed