Politics by Evan Smith: State Sen. Salomon lists six priorities for 2022 legislative session

Friday, February 4, 2022

Sen. Jesse Salomon D-32
By Evan Smith

State Sen. Jesse Salomon has listed six priorities for the 2022 legislative session that started in January and ends in March.

With the 2022 legislative session less than a month underway, I have several priority bills working their way through the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5919 would fix some of the changes we made to police accountability bills that seem to have gone a bit too far,” he said a few days ago. 

“I want to maintain momentum on reforms but make sure police can carry out their job duties. This bill restores the standard for vehicle pursuits and provides definitions to numerous terms to ensure consistency in laws governing the use of physical force.

SB 5677 would improve on existing reforms by addressing the needs of the police chiefs and sheriffs who are faithfully trying to implement them. This bill would close a loophole through which police officers who are disciplined by their supervisors for dishonesty or excessive force hire lawyers to overturn that discipline through arbitration. 

"Studies show discipline is lessened or overturned in about half of matters that go to arbitration, exploiting a loophole to defeat accountability measures imposed by sheriffs and chiefs. This bill would increase accountability by mandating consistent practices for complaints, investigations, discipline and disciplinary appeals in cases of serious misconduct.

SB 5667 would crack down on false proof of a COVID-19 vaccination during what has emerged as the most serious public health crisis of our lifetime. People should be able to enter a store, restaurant or other establishment that claims to require vaccinations with the confidence that they won’t be exposed to someone who is unvaccinated but has presented to fake card to gain entry. This bill would make it a CRIME to sell or offer false documentation of a vaccination.

SB 5660 would adopt policy similar to the Oregon voter initiative that allows the regulated use of psychedelic mushrooms in therapeutic settings to help people struggling with depression, anxiety or addiction. Recent FDA studies show great promise with this, and my bill would mimic the Oregon initiative while incorporating changes to improve implementation.

SB 5885 would protect shorelines and critical fish habitat by requiring the Department of Ecology to survey Puget Sound shorelines, identify unpermitted development, and require marine replacement projects to meet the same standards as required for new structures. This bill builds on legislation I sponsored and passed last year requiring any replacement of residential shoreline armoring to employ techniques that have the least impact on marine life.

In addition:

“Last year the State Supreme Court invalidated the criminal penalties prohibiting illegal drug possession. Last session we addressed this void left by the ruling by making a third offense of possession of controlled substances a simple misdemeanor while recommending offenders go to a treatment program the first two times they are caught. 

"Currently there is just too little follow-up for these referrals. This session I will introduce a measure to restore accountability for public drug use while at the same time using treatment more comprehensively than we have in the past.

“It’s imperative we stop water pollution from 6PPD — a chemical used in rubber tires that is toxic to fish. While we spend millions to improve fish passage in culverts, this toxic tire dust ends up killing salmon in the very waterways we are trying to restore. I am investigating inexpensive ways to remove polluted water runoff from streets by, for example, filtering it through abundant compost material.”

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com


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