Should police be allowed to engage in high-speed pursuits if they just suspect someone is engaged in a crime? The state Legislature is set to debate that issue following verification of a citizen initiative that gives police more leeway in decision making. (Mary Murphy/Washington State Journal)

Should police be allowed to engage in high-speed pursuits if they just suspect someone is engaged in a crime? The state Legislature is set to debate that issue following verification of a citizen initiative that gives police more leeway in decision making. (Mary Murphy/Washington State Journal)

State Legislature to debate high-speed police pursuits

Initiative 2113 would amend law to be ‘reasonable suspicion’

OLYMPIA — A citizen initiative aimed at giving police wider discretion on when they engage in high-speed pursuits was forwarded to the state Legislature.

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs notified the Legislature on Jan. 11 petitions for Initiative 2113 meet all legal requirements.

I-2113 backers want to amend a law on police pursuit that passed in 2021, which requires officers to have “probable cause” instead of “reasonable suspicion” to engage in pursuits.

Critics say that measure hinders law enforcement officers who want to pursue possible lawbreakers.

Backers say high-speed chases can turn deadly and that less-dangerous methods can be employed to bring people to justice.

To be verified, a state initiative requires 324,516 signatures. If that bar is met, a random sample of collected signatures is verified. Now that signatures are verified, the Legislature can take three possible courses of action.

The Legislature can either adopt the initiative as proposed or refuse to act. If it is not adopted, the initiative must be placed on the ballot in the next general election.

The Legislature could also propose a different measure dealing with the same subject. In that case, both measures must be placed on the ballot.

Expanding police powers and providing more money for law enforcement is a strong theme in this year’s Legislature.

The police pursuit initiative is one of six submitted to the Secretary of State’s office so far this session.

All six initiatives are led by “Let’s Go Washington,” an organization funded by Brian Heyword, a business owner from Redmond and a large donor to Republican causes. The campaign gathered more than 2.6 million signatures for all six initiatives.

The other five initiatives are: 2117, which rolls back carbon taxes; 2124, an opt-out provision for the state-run long-term care coverage act; 2109, which repeals the capital gains tax; 2111, preventing a state income tax; and 2081, a parents’ right-to-know initiative that includes the option to opt out of sex education.

________

The Washington State Journal is a nonprofit news website funded by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

More in Politics

League of Women Voters sets candidate forum schedule

Hopefuls for state seats, county commissioner position invited to debate

From left to right, State Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, state Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, Port Angeles attorney Graham Ralston and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, all candidates for Washington’s 6th Congressional District, appear before the Port Angeles Business Association on Tuesday to answer questions about their priorities for serving in Congress. (Peter Segall/Peninsula Daily News)
Congress hopefuls meet for a forum

Candidates to focus on bipartisanship

Clallam PUD candidates cite costs as top priority

Three hopefuls line up for six-year board position

More candidates join local races

Third declares for state Senate seat

Packed races begin to emerge

Political hopefuls file intent to run

Heather Dudley-Nollette.
Bayside director to run for Jefferson County commissioner

Heather Dudley-Nollette seeks District 1 seat

Port Angeles City Council hopefuls Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund answer questions during a Port Angeles Business Association forum Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles mayor to run for county commission

Dexter has supported climate action plan, affordable housing

Emily Randall, left, and Hilary Franz.
Stalwarts take sides in race for Kilmer’s seat

A growing constellation of Democratic Party influencers are choosing sides in the… Continue reading

Online learning keeps rising among state’s K-12 students

Online learning for Washington’s public school kids is here to stay. That’s… Continue reading

Jefferson County turnout tops in state

More than half registered voters handed in ballots

Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest

Johnson
Clallam commissioner announces bid for third term

Housing, timber revenue among several priorities