Dear friends and neighbors,
The 2021 Legislature has adjourned for the year. While the 105-day session was conducted mostly on Zoom, we managed to complete our work on time for the fourth year in a row and enact historic policies to improve life here in Seattle and across the state.
In the coming weeks, I will send more detailed updates on the highlights in various issue areas from this session, but first I wanted to share news on the comprehensive police accountability and reform agenda this year.
As chair of the Law & Justice Committee, I spent many hours over the last year focusing on significant revisions to police standards and practices in response to the public outcry over a series of high-profile deaths of members of Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. The killing of George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Charleena Lyles, John T. Williams and so many others resulted in the introduction of more than a dozen legislative proposals.
Here is a list of policies that passed the legislature and will become law once signed by Governor Inslee:
- Providing timely and effective enforcement of state standards for law enforcement officers, allowing the Criminal Justice Training Commission to discipline officers unfit to carry a badge and gun. (SB 5051). I am the prime sponsor of this bill.
- Creating a new office to conduct independent investigations of the use of deadly force by police, custodial deaths, and other officer-involved incidents. (HB 1267)
- Protecting the community from officers who are not credible witnesses because of previous conduct. (HB 1088)
- Banning the use of chokeholds, neck restraints, no-knock warrants, military equipment, and the intentional concealment of badges, and substantially restricting the use of tear gas and high-speed chases. (HB 1054)
- Allowing the State Auditor to review and provide transparency and accountability for investigations into police use of deadly force. (HB 1089)
- Establishing a civil standard for police officer use of force. (HB 1310)
- Requiring that police electronically record interrogations of suspects in custody (HB 1223)
- Collecting and publishing data on law enforcement use-of-force incidents. (SB 5259)
- Reducing the potential for abuse in the police arbitration process and increasing transparency to the public. (SB 5055)
- Establishing a duty for officers to intervene and report when fellow officers use force unjustly. (SB 5066)
- Giving families that have had a loved one killed by police a better chance to have their day in court. (SB 5263)
I want to thank community members from across the state who shared their stories and helped shape this policy. This is just the start of our work to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
I’ll have more updates in the coming weeks on key issues addressed this session. Please stay safe and healthy.