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Positive policing bills in the state legislature

[Ed note: The OlyDSA DefundOPD committee has been researching and organizing around cutting the police budget, reinvesting in community and increasing accountability. They reviewed 19 bills related to policing in the legislative session, and identified this annotated list of bills to support.]

HB1499 seeks to decriminalize all personal drug use in Washington State, similar to the legislation that just passed in Oregon.  It also seeks to better fund substance abuse treatment, rather than sending folks to prison.  There is a wealth of evidence that responding to drug use with criminalization widens social inequities, as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and poor people are more likely to be targeted by enforcement of anti-drug laws.  Status: Passed committee, referred to Appropriations.

HB1090: Bans for-profit detention centers in Washington State.  This would include the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, a location the local organization La Resistencia has been working for years to shut down.  We should not allow companies to profit from incarcerating humans.  Status: Passed committee, 2nd reading in Rules.

HB1054: Bans tear gas, unleashed police dogs, chokeholds, no-knock warrants, among other tactics.   In sum, this bill seeks to limit the ways in which police can respond violently to their public.  Status: Substitute bill passed, in 2nd reading in Rules.

HB1267: Requires the state to create an independent, state-wide agency to investigate and catalogue police misconduct. Status: Passed committee, in Appropriations.

SB5051: Again, generally seeks to expand police accountability.  Requires employers to report all disciplinary measures taken against officers to the Criminal Justice Training Commission, requires that all officer complaints and disciplinary measures be made public and maintained in a searchable database–this is important because it removes the current practice of keeping complaints and disciplinary measures confidential.  It also widens the types of conduct that can result in an officer losing their certification. Status: Substitute bill passed, on 2nd reading in Rules.

HB1202: Makes it easier for those on the receiving end of police violence, along with their families, to sue for misconduct.  It also eliminates qualified immunity as an available defense in cases where police brutality victims are seeking to hold officers accountable for their actions.

Status: After exec session House Committee on Appropriations—so, might hear more about status soon.

HB1203: Requires communities across the state to have community oversight boards in place to review police activity.  Status: Passed committee, in Appropriations.

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