Washington State Lawmakers Spar Over Pursuit Bill
Eyebrows were raised last week when 45th District State Senator Manka Dhingra D-Redmond said she would not introduce the senate version of a pair of bipartisan bills addressing police pursuits (HB 1363 and SB 5352) in the Law & Justice Committee for a hearing.
Recently I laid out the changes in the pursuit bills and how they would change the laws passed in the 2021 session that impeded law enforcement.
During a legislative Session press conference, Dhingra defending not bring up the bill for a hearing, essentially killing it in her chamber. "And so it really is how you balance property versus protecting innocent Washingtonians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The Senator then cited a study, done by retired University of Washington Professor Martina Morris to further defense of her position, that stated 3 people have been killed during a police pursuit in the 18 months since HB 1054 was passed versus 11 people in the same time frame before the bill passed...a 73% decline in fatalities from pursuits.
42nd District Rep. Alicia Rule D-Blaine, a co-sponsor of the House version of the pursuit bill, sent an email to legislators involved in this discussion disputing the study put forward by Dhingra and commissioned one of her own.
Rep. Rule presented a review of the study cited by Sen. Dhingra, done by Professor Matthew J. Hickman, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, Criminology & Forensics at Seattle University. Prof. Hickman has a long history of research regarding law enforcement statistics.
Prof. Hickman's thoughts on the study were summed up by this statement "If this analysis was submitted for peer-review, it would be summarily rejected as it does not satisfy threshold criteria for quantitative scientific work. The analysis should be disregarded in its entirety and should not be used to inform legislative decision-making."
While the future of the Senate Bill is in doubt, the House version, HB 1363, had it's first reading and was referred to the Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee with a hearing date yet to be set.
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