WACOPS Legislative Update – Week 10 – 3/20/15

WACOPS Legislative Update – Week 10 – 3/20/15

WACOPS Legislative Update 

March 20th, 2015

Week Ten
Week ten has come and gone. It was filled with policy committees hearing and passing bills. After two weeks of hard work, we’re happy to report that our priority bill, regarding use of Brady Lists, will receive a hearing on Thursday. Now we must ensure that the bill is put on the committee’s calendar for executive action. The next cut-off date is on April 1st and it is the last day policy bills can be heard in committee.
This update focuses on the public safety work session on modern day policing, the status of various gun measures, and Alicia’s Law.

Public Safety Work Session
On March 18th, the House Public Safety Committee held a work session titled “Fostering Constructive Relationships between Police and Vulnerable Communities”. The hearing focused on the culture of law enforcement but it gave us a great insight into the culture of the legislature.

Sue Rahr, CJTC Executive Director, did a great job of guiding the agenda to include different aspects of law enforcement in Washington State and WACOPS was well represented by Bellevue PD Mgmt. delegate Steve Lynch.

While we were grateful to be included in the agenda and able to present the officer’s perspective, we were disturbed to hear some of the other testimony including a panelist advocating taking all SRO’s out of the schools and a defense attorney presenting questionable materials as facts. The 2 ½ hour session can be found HERE. If nothing else, you may want to watch the opening statements to get an idea of the tenor of the work session.

Some of the attitudes expressed at this hearing are very similar to the types of questions we get while meeting with legislators or giving committee testimony. These  instances emphasize the importance of have your lobbyists at the Capitol every day of session in order to promote and defend your profession. It has truly become a session of picking our battles. Law enforcement must stand united in order to overcome misleading information and negative attitudes.

A big “thank-you” go to your fellow officers Rep. Dave Hayes and Rep. Brad Klippert who are members of the Public Safety Committee. They asked important questions and helped to keep the hearing factual and balanced.

 Gun Measures

 Initiative 594 passed in November with 59% of the statewide vote. It requires background checks for all gun sales and transfers. Since passing, a number of problems for law-abiding gun owners have come to light and numerous legislative solutions were proposed this session. Some of these measures expanded on the initiative, some clarified or deleted sections, and one was an outright repeal of the measure. It takes a 2/3 vote to amend an initiative in the legislature which is a very hard standard to meet and most of the legislation died prior to the cutoff.

The firearm legislation that WACOPS was the most interested in were SB 5539 (Roach), SB 5579 (Dammeier), and HB 1535 (Klippert). These bills would have allowed law enforcement officers to purchase firearms with a state issued commission card rather than have to have a Concealed Pistol License. The bills were drafted under a section of law that amended I-594 and thus were subject to the 2/3 vote requirement. The Senate bills received a hearing but no vote and the House bill did not receive a hearing. WACOPS had an amendment drafted that changed the area of law that SB 5579 would change, thereby eliminating the need for a 2/3 majority. Unfortunately, the amendments were not attached and the legislation is considered dead.

Alicia’s Law
Alicia’s Law has been working through the legislature in two forms: Rep. Sawyer’s House version (HB 1281) and Sen. Roach’s Senate version (SB 5215). Technically, these bills are not companion bills as their language differ so greatly.
Both bills are still alive and have been further amended so that they now differ even more. This can be seen as a positive occurrence because each bill addresses a different need in the investigation of internet crimes against children.
Rep. Sawyer’s bill contains a per-image/video fee which would go to fund operating costs of the ICAC unit and child advocacy centers. Sen. Roach’s bill creates an account that could be funded through the General Fund and whose expenditures must be spent on the ICAC unit, in order to backfill local agencies for use of their ICAC investigators.

 WACOPS Bill Report

Click here for the bill report. We appreciate your input and welcome suggestions. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. We work for you and the greater input we get, the better we can represent you.

 Contact Us

If you have any questions or would like to testify on a bill, please contact us at 1-800-887-2677 or using the information below.


200 Union Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501