Lawmakers debating bill that would limit law enforcement’s ability to make ‘low-level’ traffic stops

Lawmakers in Olympia are debating a bill that would limit law enforcement’s ability to make a traffic stop.

Proponents of House Bill 1513 argue police need to spend less time on non-moving violations like a taillight out or expired tabs.

“Enforcement only through citations, fines, and fees is not proven to improve road safety and further entangles many low-income road users in the criminal and debt collection systems, causing financial hardship.”

House Bill 1513, Section 3

Representative Chipalo Street from Seattle’s 37th District is supporting the legislation.

He explained why before the House Community Safety, Justice & Reentry Committee in Olympia on Monday afternoon.

The democrat argues that non-moving violations disproportionately impact black, brown, and indigenous communities.

“Reducing force interactions with law enforcement also minimizes the chances that we have for escalations of force,” said Rep. Street. “This bill is backed up by data that shows that enforcement of our low-level traffic stops are not an effective way to fight crime.”

If House Bill 1513 is passed, officers could no longer stop or detain drivers for any non-moving violation or for driving while their license is suspended. Jim Fuda, Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound, sees similarities between this bill and a law recently passed in Olympia that limits police pursuits.

“It’s taking away a tool and taking away an officer’s judgment,” said Fuda. “Let’s say somebody’s got a suspended license. There’s a reason they got a suspended license.”