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The WA State Legislature session is heating up

Notes from the Emerald City
The WA State Legislature session is heating up
By Amy Sundberg • Issue #51 • View online

WA State Legislature
There are lots of bills that you can support this week! Hopefully having them listed all in one place will make your life a little bit easier.
First, HB 1756 (solitary confinement) has a hearing in the House Appropriations committee on tomorrow at 3:30pm.
Next is SB 5919, which would expand the use of high-speed vehicular pursuits, lower the expectations for officer de-escalation, and expand the use of physical force by officers. Fun times! People Power Washington - Police Accountability opposes this bill.
Next is SB 5485, which would end traffic stops for certain low-level violations. It has a hearing in the Senate Transportation committee on Thursday, February 3 at 4pm. It is a bit late in the session to get this bill through, but it’s still important to signal support.
Lastly, HB 1788 and HB 2037 are scheduled for an executive session in the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday, February 3rd at 10am. HB 1788 lowers the threshold for when officers can engage in high-speed vehicular chases, and HB 2037 would allow officers to use force anytime someone is fleeing from a Terry stop. People Power Washington - Police Accountability opposes these bills, as does the Washington Coalition of Police Accountability. You can email the members of the Public Safety committee to urge them to NOT to pass these two bills out of committee. Email addresses and a script are available here.
There is also a rally against all these rollbacks planned for Thursday, February 3 at the Capitol building in Olympia at 11am.
Seattle News
Even more information about what was going on behind the scenes during the summer 2020 protests was revealed by the Seattle Times this weekend. As the article states: “The summer of 2020 was an impactful period, yet many City Hall deliberations — such as work on a potential East Precinct transfer — happened behind closed doors, leaving journalists and residents in the dark.”
Apparently there was talk in the Mayor’s Office of transferring the East Precinct building to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. A draft resolution to make this happen was prepared for Mayor Durkan’s review. There is some disagreement as to whether FAS drafted the resolution independently due to its director’s “can-do spirit” or whether the Durkan administration contacted FAS to outline the process of transferring the property. Of course, in the end, SPD moved back into the East Precinct on July 1, but the fact that details of that time period keep coming to light more than a year and a half later is very disturbing and speaks to a pervasive lack of transparency between local government and Seattle residents.
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Amy Sundberg

This newsletter covers Seattle politics and policy with a particular focus on police accountability and criminal legal reform, while also referencing relevant news in Washington State and beyond.

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