Vote Yes on I-940 to save lives and prevent tragedies.
It is as simple as that.
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Recap of Events
Successful Signature Gathering
At the end of December we delivered nearly 360,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Election Office in Olympia. It was a tremendous day, an emotional day, with boxes and boxes of petitions being carried by families of loved ones lost to police use of deadly force.
At the Legislature
On January 23rd the Secretary of State Certified I-940 and transmitted it to the Legislature. Our polling showed that nearly 70% of all voters would support I-940, which was a powerful message to the legislature and law enforcement. The Senate and the House of Representations held a joint hearing on February 20th and you can listen to the testimony here. This grass roots power had an impact. On March 8th the legislature adopted I-940 and also enacted ESHB 3003, which amended I-940. This bill was the result of De-Escalate Washington sitting down with Law Enforcement, Legislators, and others during the last weeks of session to reach common ground on issues of concern to law enforcement. We were encouraged by the coming together, appreciative of the support of legislators, and by the consensus legislation that resulted.
The Court Challenge
On March 12th Tim Eyman filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court challenging the legislature's adoption of I-940 and its enactment of ESHB 3003. Mr. Eyman, joined by Senator Padden, had asked that I-940 be placed on the November ballot, along with ESHB 3003 as an alternative. De-Escalate Washington intervened as a full party defending the legislature's adoption of I-940 and ESHB 3003.
The hearing in Superior Court was Friday April 20th and Judge Schaller ruled from the bench that ESHB 3003 was void and directed the Secretary of State to put I-940 on the November ballot.
De-Escalate has appealed Judge Schaller's ruling directly to the Supreme Court. We will be asking the Court to reverse the trial court decision and uphold the legislature's actions. The legislature has appealed too, as has Mr. Eyman and Senator Padden. The Secretary of State has proposed an expedited schedule with completion of the process by the end of August so that ballots and voter pamphlets can be printed in September.
June 28 Supreme Court Arguments
Court oral arguments are at this TVW link.
August 28 - Supreme Court Ruling.
The Court, in a split decision, sent I-940 to the ballot.
The next step is to Vote Yes on 940!
The goal is to save lives. We want to make our communities safer by improving police training and building trust between law enforcement and the community.
Washington will be the first state in the nation to require that all law enforcement receive violence de-escalation and mental health training and the first to require that officers provide first aid at the scene. I-940 removes the de facto immunity for criminal liability, which made this State an outlier, and replaces it with an objective standard (the reasonable officer standard.)
A significant change is the requirement for completely independent investigations of the use of force, so that police will not investigate themselves. The initiative sets out a rule-making process for policy decisions that requires community voices at the table with law enforcement, the AGO, and others.
Vote Yes on 940 because it will make our families, communities, and officers safer. It is a thoughtful and well written proposal that deserves your support. The focus on prevention will help save lives.