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Initiative 940 Revision Gets Hearing In New Washington Legislative Session


One of the bills to be heard during the first day of the new Washington legislative session is a revised version of a ballot measure voters approved in November.

The bill makes some changes to Initiative 940. That was dubbed a police accountability measure. Among other things, it changes the standards for prosecuting officers who unlawfully use deadly force. And it mandates more violence de-escalation training for officers.

The bill before the House Public Safety Committee [HB 1064] today [Monday] was a compromise developed by legislators, law enforcement and proponents of the initiative. That version was developed late in the 2018 legislative session. Too late, ruled the Washington Supreme Court, which said the original version had to be submitted to voters.

At the hearing, Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza was one of more than 20 speakers to speak in favor of the compromise. Snazzy is the president-elect of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“While the law enforcement community respectfully opposed Initiative 940 as it was written, we understood the concerns that were raised and we worked hard over the several months with community groups to identify a clear path forward to achieve the reforms in a way that protected both the community and our law enforcement partners,” Snaza said.

The bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Tuesday. Its sponsors hope it will move quickly through the legislature and to the governor’s desk.

A companion bill in the Senate will receive its first hearing on Tuesday with a committee vote scheduled for Thursday.