Washington State House Democrats


LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Cortes Bill to Expand Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Pool Passes House 

OLYMPIA – Today, House Bill 1530, introduced by Representative Julio Cortes (D-Everett), was voted out of the House unanimously. 

Washington has taken multiple steps in recent years to address the state’s law enforcement and prosecutor workforce shortage through increased recruitment efforts for the state patrol and regional training academies.  

HB 1530 bolsters those efforts by opening the door for qualified citizens and lawful permanent residents to contribute to public safety, bolstering police departments and strengthening the judicial system. 

“Our state faces a severe shortage of dedicated individuals essential to enforcing our laws and ensuring justice,” said Rep. Cortes. “This bill recognizes the talent and potential present in our diverse communities, allowing law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to consider a wider pool of qualified candidates.” 

Previously, both general and limited authority law enforcement, as well as deputy prosecuting attorney positions, could only be filled by U.S. citizens. HB 1530 removes this limitation, allowing agencies to consider applications from lawful permanent residents who, like citizens, possess the skills and desire to serve their communities. 

The bill expands the talent pool available to agencies, potentially attracting a broader range of qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds. This, in turn, can lead to better representation and understanding within law enforcement and the justice system. 

Additionally, the bill addresses the specific challenge of prosecutor staffing by eliminating the requirement for deputy prosecutors to be residents of the county they serve. This expands the eligible candidate pool for these critical roles, leading to faster case processing and improved access to justice. 

HB 1530 demonstrates Washington’s commitment to strengthening public safety and ensuring equal opportunity for all.  

The legislation now heads to the Senate for further consideration.