Public safety summary – Compromise is key

by <a href="">Sharon Swanson</a>, <a href="">Jacob Ewing</a> | Mar 27, 2020
If there is a theme in the public safety arena this past legislative session, it would be that compromise is key.

If there is a theme in the public safety arena this past legislative session, it would be that compromise is key. Many of the bills discussed below started out with AWC in strong opposition; however, as session progressed, we were able to become neutral (if not supportive) of many.

HB 2318 establishes requirements for storing and preserving unreported Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs). The bill requires local law enforcement to transport unreported SAKs from the collecting entity (usually a hospital) to the law enforcement facility. Agencies are required to store the kits for twenty years. While AWC did not object to the policy around properly storing SAKs, we did have concerns about the capacity of local law enforcement to keep the SAKs for twenty years. To ease storage capacity concerns, legislators reached a compromise to allow law enforcement to arrange with another governmental entity to store found property (property that is not evidence) at an alternative location.

HB 2467 establishes a single point of contact for background checks related to the purchase or transfer of a firearm. Currently, a firearms dealer must conduct a background check utilizing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as well as reaching out to their local law enforcement agency. This bill requires the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to develop and manage the processing of background checks for all firearm transfers and purchases. A fee, not to exceed $18, can be charged to offset the costs of processing the check. Once the system is operational, this fee will replace the fee currently charged under I-1639. The WSP is required to notify firearms dealers 30 days prior to the system becoming operational.

HB 2793, in its original form, created a requirement that sentencing courts vacate qualifying criminal convictions. The original bill would have required court staff to conduct background checks and schedule hearings to facilitate vacating of criminal records. An estimated 8.4 million records are eligible for vacating. In many states, this process is accomplished with a database search and the push of a button. Washington does not have a unified court system where are courts can easily share or access information. AWC initially strongly opposed the legislation as drafted based on the lack of appropriation to offset staff time and resources. Ultimately, HB 2793 became a study bill requiring the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to conduct a study and a pilot program to develop an administrative, court-driven process for streamlining the vacation of criminal convictions based on current statutory eligibility criteria.

SB 6280, relating to facial recognition, was a controversial bill that also required compromise. The bill establishes a process for a state or local government agency using or intending to develop, procure, or use a facial recognition service. There were multiple and duplicative reporting requirements in early iterations as well as a private right of action for citizens who had their privacy violated. AWC opposed the duplicative reporting requirements and the private right of action. Ultimately, SB 6280 did pass without the private right of action and with some of the duplicative reporting requirements removed.

SB 6288 creates the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention (Office) within the Department of Commerce with the aim of reducing firearm violence. The bill also creates the Washington Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program to improve public health and safety by supporting effective firearm violence reduction initiatives in communities disproportionately affected by firearm violence. A competitive process awards grants to cities disproportionately impacted by violence, to law enforcement agencies in those cities, and to community-based organizations serving the residents of those cities. Two or more cities may submit joint applications to better address regional problems.

Finally, AWC advocated for additional funding for Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) classes. Two policy bills were introduced, HB 2560 and HB 1253 to raise the number of classes offered and to reduce the statutory wait times. Neither bill advanced out of committee. However, in the final supplemental budget funding was included for 21 BLEA classes, three of which will be held in Spokane.

Bill #



HB 1504

Proposes several changes to the impaired driving statutes

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020, except for sections 2, 3, 5-12, and 14-17 which take effect January 1, 2022.

HB 2499

Establishes new requirements for the hiring, certification, and firing of Washington correctional officers

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2545

Expands access to jail records by managed health care systems, allowing the systems to determine jailed individual's eligibility for services

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2793

Directs the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to carry out a study and a pilot program of a court-driven process to vacate criminal convictions rather than an automated process

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

SB 6280

Establishes state regulations and guidelines for the use of facial recognition services by local law enforcement

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

SB 6288

Creates the Washington Office of Firearm Violence Prevention

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 1068/SB 5062

Places limits on high capacity magazines

Did not pass

HB 1253/SB 5944

Reduces the allowed waiting period to enter the Basic Law Enforcement Academy from six months to two months

Did not pass

HB 1315/SB 5174

Sets new requirements and standards for obtaining a concealed pistol license

Did not pass

HB 1671

Disposal of confiscated firearms

Did not pass

HB 2196

Updating standards for issuing and enforcing extreme risk protection orders

Did not pass

HB 2202

Establishing exemptions from firearm safety training requirements for law enforcement

Did not pass

HB 2223

Liability standards for individuals or entities prohibiting the possession of firearms on their property

Did not pass

HB 2240/SB 6077

Sets forth restrictions on the sale and ownership of high capacity magazines

Did not pass

HB 2241/SB 6076

Places limits on assault weapons and large capacity magazines

Did not pass

HB 2305

Grants the court system the ability to restrict possession and force the surrender of firearms, dangerous weapons, and concealed pistol licenses for individuals named in a protection order for vulnerable adults

Did not pass

HB 2307

Removes the one-year waiting period for implementing fireworks bans and allows cities to implement restrictions immediately

Did not pass

HB 2367/SB 6043

Regulating subscription service legal defense funds for firearm owners

Did not pass

HB 2438

Proposes that the state levy an impact fee on opioid manufacturers to help fund a new opioid impact program

Did not pass

HB 2465

Mandates that elected city attorneys track case filings and submit an annual report to the Attorney General’s Office

Did not pass

HB 2484

Exempts personal identifying information of juveniles involved in the court system from public records disclosure

Did not pass

HB 2519

Establishes safety measures to prevent certain individuals from acquiring ammunition

Did not pass

HB 2560

Increases the mandatory number of Basic Law Enforcement Academy Classes

Did not pass

HB 2566

Allows law enforcement agencies to use an automated license plate recognition system for matters of public safety

Did not pass

HB 2569

Authorizing pretrial detention for certain offenses involving firearms

Did not pass

HB 2704

Charges the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy with developing a competitive annual grant program to provide group counseling in public schools for youth survivors of sexual assault

Did not pass

HB 2735

Allows limited authority officers, authorized by a local law enforcement agency, to issue traffic infractions when the infraction is detected using an automated traffic safety camera or automated school bus safety camera

Did not pass

HB 2786

Establishes the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council as a body to advise the Legislature on the expenditure of financial penalties collected from litigation against opioid manufacturers or distributors

Did not pass

HB 2789/SB 6527

Establishes a “use of deadly force” database managed by WASPC

Did not pass

HB 2808

Ensuring the right of Washington residents to possess legal firearms

Did not pass

HB 2835

Reduces the criminal penalty for unlawful possession of a controlled substance from a felony to a gross misdemeanor

Did not pass

HB 2845

Establishing new rules concerning concealed pistol licenses

Did not pass

HJR 4210

Authorizing pretrial detention for certain offenses involving firearms

Did not pass

SB 6109

Provides state funding to the three largest counties to establish a new pilot program to intervene and provide treatment for up to 10 individuals at a time per county

Did not pass

SB 6148

Removes the requirement to undergo a polygraph before entering the certification process to become an officer

Did not pass

SB 6161

Imposes an excise tax on ammunition

Did not pass

SB 6163

Concerning unlawful possession of firearms for persons free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for certain felony charges

Did not pass

SB 6215

Requires the Office of Public Defense, the Department of Social and Health Services, and the Health Care Authority to improve upon the existing process for verifying to courts that an individual receives public assistance, in order to assist the court with a determination of indigency

Did not pass

SB 6266

Requires agencies that seize or collect forfeited property to keep records and submit annual reports on all property seized and forfeited

Did not pass

SB 6289

Establishes rules concerning the restoration of the right to possess a firearm

Did not pass

SB 6294

Establishes rules for concealed pistol license training requirements

Did not pass

SB 6307

Permits an arresting officer to seize firearms and restrict access to firearms of an individual arrested on suspicion of, or convicted of, communicating threats of mass violence

Did not pass

SB 6316

Removes the number of traffic citations and penalties assessed from a police officer’s performance review, evaluation, assessment, promotion, or assignment

Did not pass

SB 6347

Extends the expiration date for a concealed pistol license

Did not pass

SB 6460

Creates the Keep Our Communities Graffiti Free Act requiring individuals convicted of specified crimes to remove the graffiti from areas where the crime was committed

Did not pass

SB 6489/HB 2932

Amends current law to reflect the new minimum age for purchasing and possessing tobacco and vapor products, and places new guidelines on how police interact with minors in possession of these products

Did not pass

SB 6584

Concerning the unlawful purchase of a firearm

Did not pass

SB 6585

Modifies the requirements for counties applying for funds from the Criminal Justice Treatment Account

Did not pass

HB 1775/SB 5744

Removes criminal penalties for children or youth engaged in prostitution and establishes two state resource facilities for sexually trafficked children and youth aged 18 or younger

HB 1775 delivered to Governor. If signed, effective, effective June 11, 2020, except for sections 4, 5, and 6 which take effect January 1, 2024.

HB 2567/SB 6522

Establishes new policies and procedures for law enforcement officers and individuals visiting Washington court facilities

HB 2567 signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2632/SB 6295

Sets new standards and criminal penalties for falsely reporting an emergency

HB 2632 delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2785/SB 6537

Increases the membership of the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) to 15 members from 14 members

HB 2785 signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2335/SB 6086

Allows a health care entity to administer, dispense, or deliver up to a two-week supply of medication to a patient receiving evidence-based opioid use disorder treatment

SB 6086 delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2231

Modifies the crime of bail jumping

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2473

Includes intimate partners in the list of individuals against whom a party may receive emergency protection orders during suspected domestic violence

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2555

The bill establishes a six-month period when a firearm dealer would be required to notify local law enforcement before delivering certain firearms to a purchaser or transferee

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2792

Places new requirements on police departments managing missing person cases

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2318

Updates the process for managing unreported sexual assault kits in Washington

Signed by Governor. Effective June 30, 2020.

HB 2467

Directs the Washington State Patrol to establish a firearm background check unit as well as an automated firearms background check system

Signed by Governor. Sections 1-4 take effect June 11, 2020. Sections 5-9 are contingent.

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