Legislative Update: Police Accountability, Virtual Town Hall, and New Beginnings for Interbay

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Black Lives Matter.

As we celebrate February as Black History Month, I want to pause and reflect on the hard work that must be done to make Washington truly equitable. Systemic racism has burrowed its way deep into our health care, education, housing, environmental, criminal justice systems and more. To root it out requires bold policy action. I am fully committed to this change.

Photo credit: Pyramid Communications

One area that demands immediate action is policing. It is unacceptable that our Black neighbors face violence from law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect all of us. That’s why I strongly support proposals brought forward by the Washington House of Representatives Policing Policy Leadership Team led by my colleagues who are members of communities disproportionately impacted by police violence. I am proud to cosponsor these critical measures below.

  • HB 1310: Sets the clear expectation that de-escalation should be an officer’s first instinct and that deadly force should only be a truly necessary last resort.
  • HB 1054: Bans choke holds, neck restraints, no-knock warrants, tear gas, military equipment, the covering of identifying information. Also limits police dogs, vehicular pursuits and shooting at moving vehicles.
  • HB 1203: Requires local law enforcement agencies to implement a community oversight board by 2025.
  • HB 1092: Collects data on police uses of force so that we can study this issue and propel change.
  • HB 1267: Creates the Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor for the purpose of investigating incidents relating to peace officer use of deadly force.
  • HB 1202: Provides a cause of action for a person injured by a peace officer. Authorizes the Attorney General to investigate employers and peace officers engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct identified in the act and to bring a civil action against a peace officer to restrain & prevent the pattern or practice of conduct.
  • HB 1082: Expands the grounds on which an officer can be decertified and reforms the process to make it more effective and quicker.

No single action will change the culture of policing in Washington or address institutional racism, but by setting expectations, creating transparency, and building systems of accountability we can begin to create systemic change. Thank you to the many constituents who have reached out and voiced their support for comprehensive police reform legislation this session. Please know that I hear you and am committed to being your champion.

Join Your 36th District Legislators for a Virtual Town Hall TONIGHT!

Please join Sen. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Noel Frame, and me for a 36th District virtual town hall TONIGHT at 6:30 PM. The town hall will be streamed LIVE on my Facebook page. You can submit questions ahead of time here or ask a question in the comments.

WHO: State Sen. Reuven Carlyle and Reps. Noel Frame and Liz Berry

WHAT: Virtual town hall with 36th District Residents

WHEN: Thursday, February 4th at 6:30 PM

WHERE: WHERE:  Streamed live on the Senate Democratic Caucus’ social media pages and my Facebook pages:

Please note that the livestream will not appear on most platforms until the event begins. I look forward to hearing from you on Thursday!

New Beginnings for Interbay

The Interbay neighborhood in the heart of the 36th legislative district has a renowned industrial history and legacy, including the site of the National Guard’s Seattle Armory. In the coming years, the National Guard will be relocated to North Bend as a matter of state security to better respond to an earthquake or other catastrophic event.

This move will free up 25 acres of land and create a unique opportunity for our community that should be carefully considered by multiple stakeholders. To facilitate this transition, I have proposed House Bill 1173, which creates the Interbay Community Preservation and Development Authority to develop a plan on how to maximize the land for public benefit. HB 1173 passed out of the House Community and Economic Development Committee with strong bipartisan support last week and is now heading to the House Capital Budget Committee. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the weeks to come.

Thank you,

Rep. Liz Berry, 36th Legislative District