The Democrats continue to use “equity” as an excuse to make Washington State a more comfortable place to be a criminal. And ironically, just like when liberals on the Seattle City Council and the Democrat state lawmakers used “equity” to defund the Seattle Police Department and pass their 2021 anti-police legislation, those who live in minority and/or lower income neighborhoods will be the ones most hurt by the liberals’ failed policies.
Amazingly enough, 23 Democrat state representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of HB 1513 to prohibit police officers from pulling over a vehicle with expired tabs, broken taillights, or other equipment failure unless it is an immediate safety threat (such as no headlights at night).
While technology can inform police officers if the owner of a car has a suspended license or has misdemeanor warrants, the legislation will forbid them from turning on their lights and pulling the driver over. (An exception has been made for those with an outstanding warrant for driving under the influence.)
The bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the House Transportation Committee on Thursday, also sets aside millions in grants to help lower-income people fix their cars. The bill has a $9.25 million biennial fiscal note.
The legislation is the latest example of Democrat and liberal lawmakers caving into the demands of the liberal activist rioters who illegally took over portions of Seattle in 2020 and attempted mass murder of police officers.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Chipalo Street (D – Seattle’s Central District), said the bill will rebuild trust of police officers within communities of color. Unbelievably the representative stated that “In turn that then improves community safety, because folks are more willing, are not afraid of the police and are more willing to work with them, then other crimes can be solved more easily.”
Similar arguments were made in 2020, when the Seattle City Council recklessly defunded the police department and the Democrats in the 2021 legislature passed their disastrous anti-police package. These measures led to a dramatic increase in violent crimes and vehicular thefts. Minority and lower-income neighborhoods have been the hardest hit.
It is hard to imagine how this legislation will do anything but increase the likelihood that vehicles will go unregistered and unrepaired, and that drivers will not obtain a license or obtain vehicle insurance. It will make our roadways less safe. It will allow criminals to go free and provide more opportunities for innocent people to become needless victims.
While Representative Street makes the outlandish claim that this will somehow foster a stronger community connection with law enforcement, it is very hard to imagine those who benefit from this legislation – criminals – will suddenly reverse their disdain for the police and become advocates for a safer community.
One final point. Remember, often police stops for faulty equipment or expired tabs allow police officers to apprehend individuals suspected of more serious crimes. For example, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was apprehended in 1995 as he fled due to expired tags.