Rep. Skyler Rude issues statement following passage of controversial police vehicular pursuit bill

Just after midnight on Tuesday, the state House of Representatives approved, with a vote of 57-40, legislation that would allow police to engage in vehicular pursuits under limited circumstances.

By way of background, legislation passed in 2021 changed the standard for vehicular pursuits from reasonable suspicion to probable cause. The shift in this standard handcuffed law enforcement’s discretionary ability to pursue criminals. 

Under Senate Bill 5352, police would be allowed to conduct a pursuit for someone suspected of committing a violent crime, a domestic violence-related offense, a vehicular assault, driving under the influence, a sex offense, or for someone trying to escape arrest.

Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, released the following statement on why he voted against Senate Bill 5352.  

“Although this bill, as voted off the House floor, does slightly improve current law, it does not go far enough.

“We heard about the two kids killed in Sunnyside by a driver speeding and traveling in the wrong direction. We listened to another instance of two girls having a sleepover who were plowed down by a stolen vehicle. One of these girls lost her life. Under current law, the suspects in these examples couldn’t be pursued. With the slight modifications of Senate Bill 5352, these examples still wouldn’t be pursuable offenses. This bill wouldn’t have saved the lives that were lost.

“Despite the fact House Bill 1363 had strong bipartisan support and brought back the full standard of reasonable suspicion, the majority leaders setting the House agenda were unwilling to improve the watered-down version of the bill the House passed.

“The conversation around this sensitive issue isn’t over.

“We had the opportunity all session to do what was right and what our constituents, businesses, local governments, and law enforcement asked us to do. Instead, we did the bare minimum.

“Our law enforcement officers and communities deserve more than this bill offers, which is why I could not support it.”


Washington State House Republican Communications