OLYMPIA… Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver and a member of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said legislation passed by the Senate today would not do enough to fix the problems with the state law restricting police pursuits of suspected criminals. Although Senate Bill 5352 was passed with a 26-23 vote, Wilson was among the “no” votes, and offered this assessment:
“If this bill becomes law it would give our law-enforcement officers a certain amount of additional latitude on pursuits compared to what they have today. That’s progress, and explains why some of my Republican colleagues gave their support. For me the bill still doesn’t go far enough to get at the copious number of car thieves and the reckless drivers who have really benefited from the restrictions put on pursuits by the majority Democrats in 2021. We offered amendments to address those crimes, and I would have been a ‘yes’ had those been accepted, but the Democrats would not let us make the bill stronger.
“Before the vote today, the deputy majority leader of the Senate spoke yet again about the innocent bystanders who have been killed because of police pursuits. I spoke about the innocents killed by people who drive recklessly, knowing they can no longer be pursued. One of those was a 12-year-old girl in Pierce County who was hit and killed barely a year ago, whose parents came to the Capitol today and witnessed the vote. The Democrats talk about protecting life – well, the innocent lives lost to reckless drivers who couldn’t be pulled over by police should count also.”
“People rallied at the Capitol today for changes that would reform the pursuit law, and I hope they keep the pressure on now that SB 5352 is headed to the House. There is still time to get this right.”