Bill Title: Concerning certification, background checks, and training requirements for sheriffs, police chiefs, marshals, reserve officers, and volunteers.
Committee: Community Safety Justice and Re-entry
Companion Bill: SB 5905
AN ACT Relating to certification, background checks, and training 1 requirements for sheriffs, police chiefs, marshals, reserve officers, 2 and volunteers; amending RCW 43.101.095, 43.101.105, 35.21.333, 3 35.21.334, 35.23.021, 35.27.070, 35.61.370, 35.88.020, 35A.11.110, 4 35A.12.020, 36.28.010, 36.28.025, 36.28.090, 14.08.120, 53.08.280, 5 and 81.60.010; reenacting and amending RCW 43.101.200 and 10.93.020; 6 adding a new section to chapter 36.32 RCW; and creating a new 7 section.
What the Bill says:
The bill states that the candidate running for sheriff must be certified before they can appear on a ballot. Certification is done by the commission of persons appointed by the governor. It would require certain steps be taken long in advance of filing week for elected sheriffs in order to be ready for the ballot process. It doesn’t give that time frame needed since it states that once the candidate has filed for office in the language.
Our Summary Opinion:
It is putting more pressure on the Auditor as well as the commission for them to meet the timeframes necessary for elected county sheriffs to appear on the ballot. It takes the authority away from the normal process for investigations and the prosecuting attorney when it allows the commission to determine the certification status of a sheriff and possibly revoking it. This will undermine both the rights of the sheriff with regards to any due process and the rights of the people in exercising their free right to vote on this critically important elected position. While I believe that we must have a minimum standard of qualifications for elected officials to fulfill specific jobs such as sheriff or prosecuting attorney or even auditor I don’t think it is wise to hand over the people’s power to elect and keep employed anyone who they solely have the right to elect. I therefore would vote no on this bill until they strike the language regarding the process of certification regarding sheriff positions.
Status: This bill had a hearing at 1:30 PM on January 8th in the House Committee. It is scheduled for executive session on January 18th.