State bill updates and actions

There are lot of state legislature updates to talk about today because the cut-off for bills to be voted out of committee was this past Monday, February 15. And another deadline is fast approaching: next Monday, February 22 is when bills must be passed out of fiscal committee.

At the last minute, the Pathways to Recovery Act (SHB 1499) was passed out of its committee, but it hasn’t yet been scheduled for its hearing or executive session in Appropriations, which needs to happen by Monday. HB 1310 (De-escalation/use of force policy) has a public hearing scheduled in Appropriations on February 18, but still needs an executive session before Monday. To support these bills, you can email Timm Ormsby, the chair of the appropriations committee, tell him you support SHB 1499 and HB 1310, and ask him to give these bills a Hearing and Executive Session before February 22nd. You can also send a similar email to any of your representatives who are also on the Appropriations Committee. A list of Appropriations Committee members follows (** signifies co-sponsorship of SHB 1499 and ++ signifies co-sponsorship of HB 1310):

When writing to your representatives and the chair, you might consider focusing on points related to state budgetary considerations, since this is a fiscal committee. A few possible talking points for SHB 1499:

SHB 1499 will—

  • Reduce public health and safety costs associated with untreated substance use disorder;
  • Stabilize individuals cycling through our jails and emergency rooms; and
  • Increase the cost-effectiveness of treatment by enhancing front-end outreach and back-end recovery support services.

Other bill news:

  • SB 5134 on collective bargaining has officially died. There’s a possibility it could be revived next year or that parts of it could be added to other bills that are still moving.
  • SB 5226 on driving with license suspended in the third degree has passed to the Rules Committee.
  • HB 1054 about police tactics is on its second reading at the rules committee.
  • SB 5051 on decertification has passed through Ways & Means and is in the rules committee.
  • HB 1202 on civil liability/qualified immunity is scheduled for an executive session in Appropriations on February 18.
  • HB 1078 (voter restoration for those convicted of a felony) has been passed on to a second reading by the Rules Committee.
  • SB 5066 about the duty of a police officer to intervene has been placed on a second reading by the Rules Committee.

I didn’t attend the Seattle Council Briefing this week, as I was attending a Zoom wedding, but luckily I’m not the only person paying attention to these things. Of particular note, CM Morales said her committee, the Community Economic Development Committee, will be hearing the Black Brilliance Project’s final report at their next meeting on Friday, February 26.

The SPD’s changes to their use of force and crowd control policies have been submitted to the US District Court for review in line with the consent decree. Concurrently, the Public Safety Committee’s draft bill on less lethal weapons has been passed onto the Department of Justice and the Police Monitor for review.

Thanks for reading and staying involved!