17th District Reps. Paul Harris and Kevin Waters issue statement on majority party blocking vote on vehicular pursuit legislation

Rep. Paul Harris and Rep. Kevin Waters
Rep. Paul Harris and Rep. Kevin Waters

House Bill 1363, which had bipartisan support, including 20 members of the majority party, would have made the floor vote a reality

Reps. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver and Kevin Waters, R-Stevenson, released the following statement regarding the House majority party’s decision to block a motion to vote on legislation on the House floor that would change the state’s vehicular pursuit law:

“Coming into this legislative session one of our top priorities was to restore reasonable suspicion as the standard for initiating vehicle pursuits by law enforcement. House Bill 1363, which had bipartisan support, including 20 members of the majority party, would have made this a reality.

“However, despite that strong support, the majority party decided to kill the bill before it could reach the House floor. Through a procedural motion in the House chamber today, Republicans attempted to bring up the bill for a debate and vote.

“Unfortunately, this motion was denied, when every Democrat, including the primary sponsor and the 19 reps. who cosponsored the bill, voted against the motion. With the House of origin cutoff looming Wednesday, it’s highly unlikely the Legislature will act on this vital policy this session.

“We are extremely disappointed the motion was not debated and passed off the House floor. It’s sad that public safety is not a higher priority. This bill would have authorized police to pursue criminal suspects based on reasonable suspicion rather than the much more stringent probable cause.

“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle worked together to get a modified version of this bill passed out of the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee and later the Transportation Committee.

“Crime continues to rise in Washington and bad actors are becoming more emboldened every day because they know officers cannot pursue them in most situations. We were very hopeful this bill would begin to rectify this situation.

“We will continue supporting our law enforcement officers and working to help bring justice to victims by holding criminals accountable for their actions.

“So many Washingtonians wanted this legislation. We hope Democrats will get the message and bring this bill up for a vote on the House floor. House Republicans are still open to negotiations because we understand how important this issue is to everyone in our state.”

Information provided by Washington State House Republicans, houserepublicans.wa.gov

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