A critical moment in policing reform; nurse staffing debate

Here’s what’s happening on Day 45 of the 2022 session of the Washington Legislature.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112

2022 Washington Legislature, Day 45 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com | @dospueblos

Want this in your inbox Monday-Wednesday-Friday? Subscribe here.

OLYMPIA, Feb.23 — It’s Wednesday and stress levels are rising.

That’s because Thursday is the cut-off for policy committees to advance bills.

It will be a critical moment in the debate on whether policing reforms passed last year went too far.

The House Public Safety Committee is wrestling with Senate Bill 5919, which would revise the rules of engagement for vehicle pursuits. As proposed, officers could engage in a pursuit when there is “reasonable suspicion” a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a violent offense.” Current law requires “probable cause,” which is a higher bar.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee is considering House Bill 2037 to revise definitions and standards for physical and deadly force. A key change would retool existing law to permit the use of force, if necessary, to detain someone as part of an investigation.

Cops contend they’ve been handcuffed by the 2021 laws. They argue the bills make needed clarifications to ensure potential suspects don’t walk or drive away from officers who believe they lack probable cause to stop them.

Families of people killed by officers and police accountability activists — whose voices drove last year’s changes — argue the opposite. These are not clarifications but a rollback of policies that have reduced violent interactions with law enforcement, they say.

To this point, each bill has advanced with bipartisan support and opposition. How committee votes pan out Thursday will be interesting to see.

Dire warning

The Washington State Hospital Association warned Wednesday that passage of House Bill 1868, prescribing nurse staffing ratios, will make permanent the kind of delays in care experienced throughout the pandemic. Leaders contend rural hospitals may even have to cut services, like obstetrics.

Nurses in particular and organized labor in general argue —and Democrats are listening — that hospitals can afford to staff up but choose not to. This bill will push them in that direction, they contend.

The legislation is queued up for a vote in the Senate labor committee early Thursday. The association would like to keep it bottled up. Failing that, this latest missive seems timed to put pressure on moderates in the Senate Democratic Caucus who could keep it from reaching the floor.

The lucky six

One of two Senate galleries reopens to the public Friday. Up to six people will be allowed into the north gallery — with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. That proof will come via a self-administered test (think home test), which visitors will be provided on-site, no charge. The other gallery is reserved for the press.

One other thing: Weapons are banned. Visitors must go through a security portal for admission.

Meanwhile, starting today, 27 House members will be allowed on the chamber floor. The maximum had been 20 the past two weeks. No word on whether the public will be allowed into either of the House galleries before sine die on March 10.

To subscribe to the Cornfield Report, go to www.heraldnet.com/newsletters. | Previous Cornfield Reports here.


News clippings

Compiled by: House Democrats | House Republicans



Non-profit TVW covers state government in Olympia and selected events statewide. Programs are available for replay on the internet, and the channel is widely available on Washington cable systems.

TVW schedule | Current and recent video | Shows



Contact your legislator | District lookup | Bill lookup

Legislature home | House | Senate

Caucuses: House Democrats | House Republicans | Senate Democrats | Senate Republicans

Office of the Governor

Laws and agency rules

Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Shauna Sowersby (McClatchy newspapers) | Laurel Demkovich (Spokesman-Review)

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County Jail review finds no fault in Florida inmate’s death

David Koeppen, 38, was the third inmate in two months to die in the jail. He was being held on murder charges.

Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, left, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, looks on at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. After the speech, Inslee signed a bill sponsored by McCoy that seeks to improve oral health on Indian reservations in Washington state. The measure is the first bill the governor has signed this legislative session and it allows tribes to use federal funding for dental therapists. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Curriculum on state tribes to be renamed after late Tulalip legislator

On Tuesday, John McCoy’s former colleagues in the Senate honored the late lawmaker by passing House Bill 1879.

Man stabbed, killed inside Lynnwood-area condo

Detectives were looking to identify suspects in a killing Monday night at the Brio Condominiums.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.