The Secretary of State has officially verified the signatures for an initiative that grants law enforcement the authority to engage in pursuits when there is a reasonable suspicion that a person has violated the law. This development now puts the responsibility in the hands of state legislators.
On January 4, Secretary of State Steve Hobbs informed the Washington Legislature that Initiative 2113’s signatures had been verified and certified. This notification gives legislators the option to either accept the measure as it is, reject or disregard the initiative, or propose an alternative initiative.
“I-2113 has garnered widespread and robust support throughout the state, cutting across political affiliations and demographic lines. Witnessing firsthand the overwhelming backing for this initiative, as its sponsor and author, I have seen individuals enthusiastically sign petitions in its favor at various gatherings.
From the Splash Festival in Aberdeen, Go 4th! in Longview, and the State Fair in Puyallup, to house parties in Issaquah, churches in Yakima, Lincoln Day Dinners in Tri-Cities, and town hall meetings in Spokane, people have demonstrated a deep understanding of the purpose behind I-2113 and have wholeheartedly rallied behind it,” remarked Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, in a statement released on Friday.
If the Legislature decides to adopt an alternative initiative, both the original initiative and the alternative would be presented on the November ballot. On the other hand, if the Legislature chooses to reject or simply overlook the initiative, it will still be included on the November ballot.
“I call on the legislators in Olympia to promptly and wholeheartedly support I-2113. Let’s pass this law and put it into immediate effect, allowing law enforcement officers to focus on enforcing the law,”
Walsh emphasized. “The state Constitution clearly states that the Legislature must prioritize initiatives above other matters, which is a commendable directive. I urge Washington House Speaker Laurie Jinkins and State Senate Leader Andy Billing to honor this constitutional mandate.”
Five other initiatives are currently awaiting signature verification by the Secretary of State, in addition to Initiative 2113. As per Walsh, around 400,000 people have signed the initiative.
According to Walsh, I-2113 offers Olympia a chance to effectively and positively enhance public safety. He emphasizes that legislative leaders do not necessarily need to seek the outgoing governor’s input on this issue.
Instead, they have the power to pass I-2113 into law without the governor’s signature, thus preventing any potential veto. As Walsh asserts, the outgoing governor does not play a role in this decision.
The legislative session of 2024 is set to conclude on March 7.