Editor's Note: The above video aired on May 18, 2021.
OLYMPIA, Wash. - Dozens of state laws began to take effect in Washington on Sunday, July 25. Laws touch on everything from police use of force, to menstrual products in public schools.
Here's a roundup of the most prominent laws on the books come Sunday.
SB 5051 - Oversight and accountability of police and corrections officers
Modifies the priorities and composition of the Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC) and expands the background check requirements for people applying to be peace officers, reserve officers or corrections officers.
The bill also expands on reasons why law enforcement officers or corrections officers may have their certifications revoked and requires employing agencies to report disciplinary matters to the CJTC.
Removes confidentiality of complaints, investigations and disciplinary actions for certified officers must be maintained on a publicly searchable database.
HB 1054 - Establishing requirements for tactics and equipment used by law enforcement officers.
Prohibits law enforcement officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints and prevents law enforcement agencies from acquiring or using certain types of military equipment. The bill establishes restrictions on tear gas, car chases and firing at moving cars.
Prevents police officers from seeking and courts from issuing warrants granting an express exception to the "knock and announce" rule, which requires police to identify themselves, and wait for occupants to let them inside the residence.
Requires agencies to adopt policies ensuring uniformed law enforcement officers are reasonably identifiable and requires the CJTC to convene a work group to develop model policies on the use and training of canine officers.
HB 1267 - Concerning investigation of potential criminal conduct arising from police use of force, including sustained in police custody, and other officer-involved incidents.
Establishes the Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor for the purpose of investigating deadly force incidents involving law enforcement officers.
HB 1310 - Concerning permissible uses of force by law enforcement and correctional officers.
Establishes a civil standard for law enforcement officer use of force. Requires the attorney general to develop model policies on law enforcement's use of force and de-escalation tactics and requires individual law enforcement agencies to adopt policies consistent with the model policies. Authorizes the use of tear gas when necessary to alleviate a present risk of serious harm posed by a riot.
Capital gains tax
SB 5096 – Concerning an excise tax on gains from the sale or exchange of certain capital assets.
Imposes a 7% percent capital gains tax which takes effect July 25, however taxes will not be imposed until Jan. 1, 2022.
Crime and Sentencing
SB 5293 – Addressing mental health sentencing alternatives.
Creates a mental health sentencing alternative allowing for the imposition of a term of community custody and treatment in place of confinement for certain defendants diagnosed with serious mental illness.
HB 1044 – Creating prison to postsecondary education pathways.
Permits the Department of Corrections (DOC) to implement postsecondary education certificate and degree programs at state correctional institutions. Modifies the DOC's educational goals for incarcerated persons to include special education services and postsecondary education certificates or degrees.
Requires the DOC to establish a process for identifying, assessing, and accommodating incarcerated persons with learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and cognitive impairments.
Requires the DOC to provide unofficial transcripts to incarcerated persons who participated in postsecondary education programs any time the person completes a program, is transferred to another facility, or is released.
Requires the DOC to consider an incarcerated person's educational programming and other factors when considering transfers to other facilities and when releasing a person to their county of origin.
Requires the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to study and report on enrollment, completion, and recidivism rates of incarcerated persons in the postsecondary education system post-release. Requires an annual report from the DOC and other state agencies that includes a variety of data and information on incarcerated persons and postsecondary education.
SB 5476 – Making drug possession a misdemeanor in Washington state.
Reduces the criminal penalty for possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance from a felony to a gross misdemeanor. Requires the prosecutor to divert a person's first and second violations for possession of a controlled substance, counterfeit substance, or legend drug and encourages diversion thereafter when agreed by the prosecutor.
Requires the Health Care Authority to establish the substance use recovery services advisory committee to make recommendations for implementation of a substance use recovery services plan, including recommended reforms to the law.
Authorizes presiding judges of superior courts to appoint court commissioners with the authority to conduct resentencing hearings and vacate convictions pursuant to State v. Blake.
SB 5180 – Vacating convictions.
Establishes a process for applying to vacate convictions for offenses that were committed as a result of being a victim of sex trafficking, prostitution, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, sexual assault, or domestic violence.
Native American mascots
HB 1356 – Prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names.
Prohibits public schools from using Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names.
Establishes exceptions to the prohibition if certain requirements are met, including consultation with and authorization by, the applicable tribe or tribes. Allows for the phasing out of uniforms or other materials bearing Native American names, symbols, or images as mascots, logos, or team names if specified requirements are met.
Establishes a temporary grant program to provide grants for schools that incur costs resulting from compliance with the prohibition.
Sale of pets
HB 1421 - Concerning consumer protection with respect to the sale of dogs and cats.
Prohibits a retail pet store from selling a cat. Prohibits a retail pet store from selling or offering to sell a dog unless the pet store sold or offered for sale any dog prior to the effective date of the act.
HB 1139 – Taking action to address lead in drinking water.
Designates the Department of Health (DOH), rather than community water systems, as the principal agency in regard to lead testing, remediation, and other actions at elementary and secondary schools.
Requires school districts, charter schools, the state School for the Blind, and the state School for the Deaf to cooperate with the DOH or contract for sampling and testing for lead contamination at drinking water outlets in school buildings built, or with all plumbing replaced, before 2016.
Directs these school districts and schools to communicate certain information, take mitigation measures, and adopt an action plan if test results reveal lead concentrations that exceed stated thresholds.
HB 1273 – Concerning menstrual products in schools.
Requires school districts, private K-12 schools, charter schools, state-tribal compact schools, and public and private institutions of higher education to make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost by the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year. Requires these entities to bear the cost of supplying these products
SB 5195 – Concerning prescribing opioid overdose reversal medication.
Requires a hospital emergency department to dispense opioid overdose reversal medication to a patient with symptoms of an opioid overdose, opioid use disorder, or another adverse event related to opioid use upon discharge.
Requires certain community behavioral health agencies to prescribe or dispense opioid reversal medication to a client with symptoms of an opioid use disorder or who reports recent unauthorized opioid use.
Requires Medicaid managed care organizations and the Health Care Authority (HCA) to reimburse hospitals for providing opioid overdose reversal medication. Requires HCA to assist hospitals and community behavioral health agencies in complying with this act
Gas and electric rates
SB 5295 – Transforming the regulation of gas and electrical companies toward multiyear rate plans and performance-based rate-making.
Requires every general rate case filing of a gas or electrical company (utilities) to include a proposal for a multiyear rate plan (MYRP) that set rates and align cost recovery for several years at a time.
Requires the Utilities and Transportation Commission to determine a set of performance measures that will be used to assess a utility operating under a MYRP.
Allows utilities to expand bill assistance programs through low-income discounts or grants provided in coordination with community-based organizations in the utility's service territory.
Allows utilities to provide financial assistance to organizations that represent broad customer interests in regulatory proceedings.
Paid family medical leave
SB 5097 – Expanding coverage of the paid family and medical leave program.
Expands the definition of family member in the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program.
Requires the Employment Security Department to collect and analyze data and submit reports to the Legislature with certain information relating to the PFML program.
Requires the general fund to cover additional leave expenses under certain circumstances.
Racist and discriminatory deeds and covenants
HB 1335 – Concerning review and property owner notification of recorded documents with unlawful racial restrictions.
Requires the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University to review existing deeds and covenants for unlawful racial or other discriminatory restrictions and provide notice of such restrictions to property owners and county auditors.
Adds to the seller disclosure statement a notice to the buyer of real property that covenant or deed restrictions based on race or other protected classes are unlawful and provides the methods by which such restrictions can be struck.
Provides a process for striking and removing unlawful provisions from the record and chain of title after a property owner files an action in superior court