Last week, our team held a press conference in Olympia to release a first-of-its-kind research report. Ticket to Walk: How Jaywalking Enforcement Impacts Washingtonians shows that Black and unhoused people are disproportionately targeted for jaywalking, putting them in danger of escalating encounters with police that can lead to injury and even death.
The report’s author, researcher Ethan C. Campbell, spoke compellingly about the data and the real human toll behind the numbers. State Senator Rebecca Saldaña spoke about why she’s sponsoring an updated SB 5383, which would limit police enforcement of jaywalking laws. And Dre Anderson shared his story of being stopped for jaywalking on his 18th birthday. So far, KOMO has aired a segment on the issue and it’s been covered in The Chronicle and UW’s The Daily. After the press conference, we headed to the Senate Transportation Committee meeting to provide public testimony on SB 5383, which you can view here. Thank you to the 292 people who signed in PRO to support the bill!
This week, we’re approaching the first cutoff date for policy bills. For many bills, if they aren’t voted out of a policy committee by Wednesday, January 31, they will not move forward this year. Policy committees will be taking action over the next couple of days and deciding whether to vote bills out of committee or not. For bills that have a budget implication, including many transportation-related bills, there’s a different cutoff of February 5. So a lot of the bills we’re tracking still have a bit more time to make it out of committee.
Read on for more actions you can take this week, and check out our Bill Tracker to see the status of bills we’re keeping an eye on this Session.
WHAT’S COMING UP THIS WEEK
Help end harmful jaywalking enforcement
Jaywalking enforcement doesn’t protect people from getting hit by cars, disproportionately impacts Black and unhoused individuals, and is an inefficient use of public resources.
Our updated Free to Walk bill reduces police discretion as to when they can enforce jaywalking laws. Instead of selectively using jaywalking as a pretextual stop, officers would only be able to stop pedestrians for jaywalking if they suddenly move into the path of a vehicle.
The Senate Transportation Committee heard public testimony on Senator Saldaña’s amended SB 5383 on January 23. Now we need them to move the bill out of committee by February 5. Send a quick note to committee members to keep this bill moving!
Extend the Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program
The Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program funds critical investments in active transportation in communities that are most impacted by environmental health disparities and barriers to opportunities. The program name honors Sandy Williams, a Black community activist who worked tirelessly to reconnect her Spokane neighborhood after the construction of Interstate 90 split it in half.
SB 6283 would remove the July 1, 2027 expiration date for this program.
This bill will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 1:30 PM.
Support safe passages for Washington wildlife
Projects like the wildlife crossing near Snoqualmie Pass help strengthen our ecology and preserve wildlife, as well as improve safety by reducing vehicle collisions with wildlife.
HB 2456 would establish a new Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Alliance to help advance more of these projects across the state.
This bill will be heard in the House Transportation Committee TODAY, January 29, at 4 PM.
Oppose cutting cities out of the regulation of autonomous vehicles
We’ve already seen that autonomous vehicles can pose significant safety risks, particularly in cities.
SB 5594 would preempt city ordinances regulating the operation of autonomous vehicles with statewide standards. While state standards are needed, we believe cities should be able to regulate this technology to ensure maximum safety.
This bill will be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday, January 30, at 4 PM.
WHAT ELSE HAPPENED LAST WEEK
Some of the bills we’re tracking were heard in Legislative Committees last week. Thank you to everyone who signed in PRO! We’ll keep you posted about further opportunities to take action.
Helping rural transit agencies access grant funding
The Green Transportation Capital Grant Program is designed to help transit agencies reduce their carbon emissions, but rural agencies have had a hard time coming up with the matching funds required by the grant.
SB 6229 would modify matching fund requirements so that more agencies can take advantage of these important grants.
The Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony on this bill on January 23.
Expediting the completion of pedestrian and bike trails
If you walk, bike, or roll, you know how frustrating it can be to encounter a gap in a safe and protected trail. Legislators are trying to make it easier to fill in those gaps, by streamlining regulatory decisions about the development or extension of certain trails or paths.
HB 2394 would exempt certain limited trails from State Environmental Policy Act appeals.
The House Committee on Local Government heard testimony on this bill on January 23.