(The Center Square) – Initiative 2113 to lower the threshold for when police can engage in vehicle chases has cleared another hurdle in Olympia, passing out of committees Friday morning.

The Senate Law & Justice Committee cleared I-2113 out of executive session with a do-pass recommendation.

After a short staff update on the measure, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, commented, “Your briefing today was a lot more concise, thank you.”

That was a reference to Wednesday’s public hearing before a joint session of the Senate Law & Justice Committee and the House Community Safety, Justice & Reentry that saw time at the one-hour meeting eaten up by staff briefings and majority party Democrats asking questions, which generated grumblings in the hearing room from many who wished to testify in support of the initiative.

Padden then said he was especially moved by the testimony of a mother whose daughter was killed by a fleeing suspect police were unable to pursue due to state law.

Amber Goldade’s 12-year-old daughter, Immaculee, was struck and killed in January 2022 in Tacoma, by a man who had stolen a utility vehicle two weeks before.

“The big thing is people in this state will be safer if law enforcement is able to pursue people, especially auto thefts, and there are so many, and then all the crimes that are committed when these criminals have these stolen vehicles,” Padden said.

Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, voted against the initiative.

“I don’t think we can balance the pain from families who have lost a loved on either side of this debate,” she said. “They are tragedies no matter how you look at it, but for me it comes down to how to balance public safety and to what extent we allow law enforcement to use their own judgement on essentially what would be a hunch to engage in a high speed chase.”

Kuderer said when she was a prosecutor, officers would tell her it [vehicle pursuits] becomes instinctual.

“It’s like a cat after a mouse, and that troubles me,” she said.

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, expressed disappointment that one of the people signed up to testify Wednesday never got a chance to speak.

“The wife of Sgt. Jeremy Brown, who was killed because of this police pursuit restriction was here,” she said. “They couldn’t pursue those who had stolen a car and guns, and he was murdered by one of them. Had they been able to stop him, Jeremy would be alive today.”

About an hour later, the House Community Safety, Justice & Reentry Committee by a 7-2 vote also gave a do-pass recommendation to I-2113.