I am so grateful to live in the 3rd Council District. It is composed of folks whom I consider to be the “salt of the earth.” We care about our families and our protections. Today, I am writing to point out a few pieces of legislation that I believe will have a profound effect on our sheriff’s ability to perform his constitutional duties to protect us. They will also subject your financial resources to more taxation and liabilities, should they pass. Please keep in mind that government was instituted to protect the lawful from the lawless.
The legislature’s Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee is fast-tracking HB 1202. It is written to address meaningful (a subjective term) civil remedies for persons injured as a result of police misconduct, including by allowing for an award of attorney fees in addition to damages and injunctive and declaratory relief.
It also authorizes the Attorney General to investigate employers and peace officers (sidebar: Fish & Wildlife officers with enforcement powers are also peace officers) engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct and, in short, authorizes the AG’s Office to bring civil action against a peace officer or employer. Please read the Bill Analysis for further clarification.
A proposed substitute did pass. You can read it here. There were several failed amendments that would have offered some protections to our peace officers. You can see them here.
Another bill concerning law enforcement is SB 5051, Concerning state oversight and accountability of peace officers and corrections officers. Its last hearing was February 1 and is not yet, as of this writing, scheduled for another. It is legislation worthy of your attention. The Bill Analysis is well written in laymen terms and it shares pro and con testimonies. If you want to watch the hearings, there are links on the bill page for TVW.
If you believe the K-9 unit is valuable, please check out HB 1054, Establishing requirements for tactics and equipment used by peace officers. Here is the summary. One of its policies seeks to eliminate K-9 units. Other bills to check out in your spare time are HB 1310 (Concerning permissible uses of force by law enforcement and correctional officers) and HB 1276 (Providing for certain emergency medical services personnel to work in diversion centers).
While researching the ideas behind these bills, I came across A Guide to Fair, Safe and Effective Community Policing. Perhaps ideas for the above legislation originated from this document or others, such as The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. If you have thoughts on these documents, please feel free to share them with me.
I hope you will find some time to share your positions with your legislators and the committee members on the above bills. There is a link on each bill page to send them. Of course, you can always call 800-562-6000 and someone will take your message to your state representatives. Thank you for your time!
Grateful for You!