OLYMPIA, Wash — Republicans tried, and failed, to force a House floor vote on a police pursuit bill Tuesday morning.
The vote, which ended up 57-38 against adopting the motion, did not allow House Bill 1363 to advance to the floor calendar for a second reading.
Bills that do not pass off the floor of the House or Senate by 5 p.m. on Wednesday are considered dead for the legislative session.
HB 1363 would give police who have reasonable suspicion the authority to pursue someone accused of a violent crime, a sexual crime, vehicular assault, escape, DUI and domestic violence calls.
This would change the existing law, passed in 2021, that only allows for the pursuit of DUI suspects with reasonable suspicion and only allows for pursuits with probable cause for violent, sexual and escape charges.
This was a substitute bill to the original HB 1363, which would have allowed pursuits for any crimes, as long as an officer had reasonable suspicion a crime had been committed.
House Majority Leader Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, (D) Burien, said the House has an established procedure for bills to move to the floor and Democrats were not ready to bring the bill up for a vote yet.
"We have really strong feelings on both sides of the issue," said Fitzgibbon, "What we're trying to balance is safety. There are safety risks of vehicular pursuits and there are potential safety impacts from police not being able to pursue."
House Minority Leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox, (R) Yelm, blamed the policy on an increase in crime.
"Evil-doers have learned they can run away with impunity," said Wilcox.
He was frustrated a bill that had bi-partisan support was not granted a vote Tuesday.
"This is a very important bill. There are victims, it seems like every month, of our failure to act in this. And the majority party has said over and over they were going to act in this way, and then all of a sudden don't."
Two gun-related bills are also facing the Wednesday deadline. One bill would require training before purchasing a firearm and another would ban the sale of any gun considered an assault-style weapon.