Rep. Mike Hope has high expectations for this year’s legislative session. The 44th District lawmaker and Seattle police officer is proposing several reforms to public safety that reflect what he says are common sense changes to protect the public and hold criminals accountable.
Hope, R-Lake Stevens, pre-filed legislation in December after the shooting of four police officers in Lakewood. The suspect in that shooting, Maurice Clemmons, was released on bail after being charged with what would have been his third felony “strike,” or offense. He had also received a pardon in another state and committed felonies in Washington afterward. Clemmons’ family members helped him hide from law enforcement even after he admitted to them what he had done.
Hope is sponsoring or co-sponsoring three pieces of legislation to fix what he says is a broken system that failed. A group of law enforcement representatives in Decemberrecommended actions similar to what Hope is proposing or supporting. The Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee will hold a work session on Monday, Jan. 18 to review the Lakewood shooting.
House Bill 4213 would expand judicial authority to prevent bail when judges determine a suspect would be charged with a third felony “strike” and the suspect is dangerous to the public. Currently, judges have no discretion to deny bail for non-capital offenses under the state constitution. This bill is named the “Lakewood Police Officers Memorial Act” at the request of the Lakewood Police Guild.
House Bill 4214, sponsored by Rep. Troy Kelley and co-sponsored by Hope, would also expand reasons to deny bail, in this case for criminals who have received a pardon by any governor and then committed a violent offense.
Both of the above bills are constitutional amendments and require a two-thirds approval in the House and Senate, as well as voter approval. They have been scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 19.
House Bill 2660 would increase penalties for those who aid and abet people who are suspected or wanted for questioning in the shooting of a police officer.
“These are very thoughtful pieces of legislation, and I look forward to the public discussion regarding the merits of this bill, not only in the Legislature, but also in the electorate when this question comes before the voters,” Hope said. “Several states have expanded the offenses that can result in a denial of bail; our state needs to give the courts more authority to keep someone off the streets who is a direct threat to the public. What happened in Lakewood brought to light a huge flaw in our system and allowed someone with nothing to lose to go on a crime spree. We can’t let this happen again.”
House Bill 2519, co-sponsored by Hope, would expand death benefits for the families of public employees who are killed on the job. It is also scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 19.
After being contacted by a father in the 44th District who lost his daughter to a hit-and-run driver, Hope has introduced three pieces of legislation. Heather “Sweetpea” Trickler was hit and killed by an unknown driver. Her father, Rob, has shifted his agony into changing the laws that would help future hit-and-run victims and troubled youth. House Bill 2728 would expand eligibility for pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists who have been injured or killed by a hit-and-run driver to receive compensation. House Bill 2730would expand hit-and-run provisions to differentiate between hitting and leaving the scene of a collision involving a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist versus a collision with vehicles only.
Rob Trickler expressed a desire that parents of troubled youth have more tools to correct adolescents who have been in trouble with the law. House Bill 2729 would increase maximum confinement for contempt of court from seven days to 60 days. This would allow judges to hold a troubled teen in custody longer for such things as treatment or counseling.
“Rob is a father in pain after the loss of his daughter, but he is not powerless,” Hope said. “He is turning his grief into action for other victims and parents. This legislation recognizes that hitting a pedestrian with a vehicle is much more dangerous than hitting a person inside a vehicle. It would provide compensation for victims of a hit and run, whether they are driving victims or walking victims. These provisions are simple, but will mean a lot to future victims and parents.”
Contact: Sarah Lamb, public information officer, (360) 786-7720 or (360) 870-4086