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Inside Olympia – Sen. John Braun, Police Legislation

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In our second episode of 2022, host Austin Jenkins continues a four-part series featuring legislative leaders. This week: Senate Republican Minority Leader John Braun. Plus, a closer look at police accountability “follow-up” bills being considered by legislators.

Braun says public safety is a top priority of his caucus for the 2022 legislative session. His members are closely following “follow-up” bills to the significant slate of police accountability legislation that passed in the 2021 session. One 2021 law that especially needs another look, according to Braun, is the new statute governing vehicular pursuits by police.

This week the House passed bills delaying for 18 months, and granting exemptions to, the state’s long-term care insurance tax/program, which was approved by the Legislature several years ago, and took effect at the start of this year. The bills now head to the Senate. There is broad legislative agreement the long-term care law needs to be fixed — but while Braun and Republicans want to ditch the plan and start from scratch, with private insurers playing a greater role, majority Democrats want to put the program on hold while changes are made.

Braun favors putting more money into the state’s transportation system, and said he believes the time is ripe for major changes in the way our state funds transportation into the future.

For a deep dive into police accountability legislation, we talk with House Public Safety Committee Vice Chair Rep. Jesse Johnson, and the ranking Republican on that committee, Rep. Gina Mosbrucker.

During the 2021 session, a package of police bills were passed into law, governing use of force, vehicular pursuits, use of military equipment by law enforcement, and much more. A number of bills this year have been introduced to follow up on those 2021 laws.

The bills being discussed this year deal with such issues as enabling police to more easily collaborate with mental health workers to detain persons in mental health crises; clarifying the definition of “physical force,” and under what conditions that can be used; police use of equipment obtained from the military; and parameters that govern when police can engage in car chases.

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