There are two big pieces of news related to the state legislature this week.
First, Kirsten Harris-Talley wrote a revealing op-ed that ran in the South Seattle Emerald
about why she’s choosing not to run again
for her representative seat. In particular, she writes about what happened with the rollback police accountability legislation HB 2037 and SB 5919 during this year’s session. She relates how she was strongly discouraged by party leadership from proposing two amendments to 2037, thus at least allowing a conversation to take place about issues with the bill and setting up for improvements to the bill to take place in the Senate; leadership told her if she did this, it would interfere with their plan to block 5919 from passing in the Senate.
Of course, it turned out 5919 passed in the Senate anyway, only to quickly pass in the House. The only reason it didn’t get passed into law was because the Senate held it up at the last minute. Not the House, who was purportedly only passing 2037 to prevent 5919.
As Harris-Talley writes, “it took us years to get a little bit of justice for police accountability, but they are willing to reverse it in less than a year of these laws being on the books.” This action caused great harm to impacted families, who had given so much of their time and energy and emotion in service to getting 1054 and 1310 passed last year and then defending them this year.
Second, the state Criminal Justice Training Commission voted that last year’s 5051 decertification bill could be applied to past misconduct
by police officers, not just to misconduct committed after July 25, 2021 when the law took effect. It is interesting to note the commission recently added six new members to their number, with more members being from the community and fewer representing law enforcement. There is still an open question as to whether some use cases of this law could be found to be unconstitutional
, but for now, current certification decisions can be made based on 5051 even when applicable events happened before July 2021.