Radio Report: House committee passes heavily amended vehicle pursuit bill; Robertson says new bill is ‘just too narrow’

A police vehicle pursuit bill has passed a House committee, but only after it was heavily amended to limit when law enforcement can chase a suspect driving away. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: The original bill sought to restore the “reasonable suspicion” standard that was in place before the law was changed in 2021. On Thursday, the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee approved a revised version.

STAFF: “It provides that an officer may not engage in a vehicular pursuit unless they have a reasonable suspicion of one of six particular crimes – either a violent offense, a sex offense, a vehicular assault, an escape, assault in the first, second, third or fourth degree that involves domestic violence, or driving under the influence.”

The amendments also force the law to expire on July 1st, 2025, meaning it would revert to the more restrictive probable cause standard. Plus, a separate bill passed the committee to further study vehicular pursuits.

Republican sponsor, Representative Eric Robertson, said the amendments are disappointing.

ROBERTSON: “It’s just too narrow. It really continues to limit the ability for the men and women of law enforcement to do their job.”

SATTGAST: Committee passage of Robertson’s bill means it remains alive, giving hope that it could still be improved. But advocates admit it has many obstacles ahead.

John Sattgast, the state Capitol


Washington State House Republican Communications
Broadcast Coordinator: 360.786.7257