Rep. Walsh prefiled bills would make changes to law enforcement rules adopted last year

19th District Representative Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, has prefiled two bills this week for the upcoming legislative session— according to Walsh, both are designed to cure what he calls “problematic unintended consequences” of legislation passed in Olympia and signed into law by Washington Gov. Inslee.

In a release from Walsh, he states that;

House Bill 1588, entitled “Restoring the authority of a peace officer to engage in a vehicular pursuit when there is reasonable suspicion a person has violated the law and the officer follows appropriate safety standards,” does just that.

House Bill 1589, entitled “Concerning the authority of peace officers to use physical force,” allows law enforcement officers to use their professional training, good judgment and discretion when de-escalating violent and potentially violent situations.

Walsh prefiled both bills ahead of the upcoming legislative session, because he says that he believes they resolve immediate dangers to public safety in Washington state.

“Last session, the Governor, the State Attorney General and their supporters in the legislature hastily pushed through legislation that was intended to ‘reform’ law enforcement activity in this state,” Walsh says. “What these rushed policies actually did was make our streets more dangerous. They emboldened felons and violent criminals. And the good people of Washington are suffering higher crime rates right now because of it. We need to move quickly to fix these problems.”

Walsh, who serves as ranking Republican on the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, points out that HB 1588 and HB 1589 are both “narrowly tailored” to change existing state law just enough to restore effectiveness to the state’s law enforcement policies.

“These two bills are surgical fixes—based on my discussions with sheriffs, police chiefs and front-line officers in my district and all around Washington,” Walsh says. “They address the most urgent trouble hurting us right now. It’s like triage in an emergency room. We need to make these changes first, to stop the bleeding. Then, we can look more deliberatively at changes we need to make to resolve the other public safety problems plaguing our state.”

The 2022 legislative session in Olympia begins on January 10.