Edmonds police issue new orders: No more criminal charges for 3rd-degree driving while license suspended

The City of Edmonds said Thursday that Edmonds police will no longer, “as a standard practice,” file a criminal case for the sole offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree.

Acting Police Chief Jim Lawless issued the order to all police department personnel Wednesday.

Instead of filing criminal charges, police will — with some exceptions — cite the offender with a civil infraction of No Valid Operator’s License with ID (if the offender carries a valid form of identification as outlined in state law).

Typically, a third-degree Driving While License Suspended (DWLS 3) offense results from failing to pay the ticket or appear in court for a prior moving violation, like speeding or rolling through a stop sign. Subsequently, the person’s driver’s license is suspended for failing to respond to the violation.

“Criminalizing the stand-alone offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree can lead an individual down a spiral of debt, inability to drive, loss of job, and worse,”said Edmonds Mayor Nelson. “That downward spiral hits particularly hard among lower-income individuals and people of color. In Washington state, Black people are three times more likely to be charged, and Native Americans are twice as likely to be charged, with this offense.”

Statistics in Edmonds are different than those statewide, according to the department’s 2019 annual Biased Based Policing Review, which is required annually for state accreditation. In that review, the activity report for all citations issued in 2019 shows the following breakdown: 69.2% white, 8.48% Black and 0.35 Native American.

One-third of all Edmonds Municipal Court prosecutions are currently being dedicated to DWLS 3 cases, the mayor said. “We need to prioritize our limited resources on more acute public safety issues like driving under the influence,” he added. “Acting Chief Lawless and I concur that treating this offense as a civil infraction will be the right response, without causing undue harm.”

According to the city, there will be exceptions to this order if the driver has had any of the following:

  1. Ten or more prior DWLS convictions
  2. Prior vehicle assault conviction
  3. Prior vehicular homicide conviction
  4. Prior attempting to elude conviction
  5. Prior hit and run conviction
  6. Prior DUI conviction

Additionally, officers may criminally charge for DWLS 3 if the offender is charged with additional, concurrent, traffic-related gross misdemeanors/misdemeanors, or for other exceptional circumstances upon supervisory approval, the city said.

The citing officer must list one or more of the above exceptional circumstances within the body of his/her narrative establishing the ground for the offender’s citation or arrest for DWLS 3.

“I want to thank Acting Chief Lawless for his work on this issue, as well as Municipal Court Judge Linda Coburn, and Councilmembers Susan Paine and Luke Distelhorst for their supportive input,” Nelson said.

  1. This is insane!!!!!!
    Breaking the law is breaking the law.
    Change the law by council vote if you want to change the law.
    Next you will be letting home burglaries, car theft, rapists and murders go free until they have ten convictions.
    Shame on you for not protecting the citizens of Edmonds.
    Mike Nelson you have violated your oath of office!!

    1. Right Fred. Those pesky car thefts and break-ins are clogging the court and committed disproportionately by minorities. Therefore must be racist. Stop enforcing, problem solved.

  2. Hey, got a court date for a violation or a speeding ticket? Ignore it! You can get caught ten times. No problem. Stopped and have suspended license. No problem. “Have a nice day”. How ridiculous. Promotes lack of respect for the law and an increase in more serious crimes

  3. “I want to thank Acting Chief Lawless for his work on this issue, as well as Municipal Court Judge Linda Coburn, and Councilmembers Susan Paine and Luke Distelhorst for their supportive input,” Nelson said.

    Wacky. Remember at election time.

  4. Thank you, Acting Chief Lawless.

    Thank you, Mayor Nelson.

    Right-sizing the responses to these infractions and leaving officers with discretion to intervene where necessary supports everyone.

  5. What caused our City government to file a criminal case for the sole offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree in the first place? I would imagine doing so was required by either a City law or a State law.

    In 1994, the 1994 Edmonds City Council passed Ordinance 2987 which adopted the Washington Model Traffic Ordinance, Chapter 308-330 WAC in full herein except as provided in ECC 8.06.020 and 8.06.030.

    Long story short, doesn’t RCW 46.20.342, Driving while license invalidated-Penalties-Extension of invalidation, apply to Edmonds?

    If the Mayor and Acting Police Chief desire a change, don’t they need to contact State Legislators and request they consider updating the related RCW? As an alternative, can they ask the 2020 Edmonds City Council to amend ECC 8.06.020 so that we do not adopt WAC 308-330-307, or parts of WAC 308-330-307?

    Also, what is the impact driving without a valid driver’s license has on insurance coverage? If an accident takes place involving third degree driving while license suspended, will the City be exposed to liability for changing how they enforce laws – laws that have not been changed by a Legislative body?

    Sorry to ask these questions but I hope they are found to be reasonable questions. Hopefully City Officials will answer the questions and post their answers on My Edmonds News.

  6. Here’s the problem. From all levels, city, county , state & federal levels ( especially in single party rule municipalities ), the “elected officials” ( self described as leaders ) and their bureaucrat minions, enact rules and regulations as “they” see fit and are moving ever more away from citizen’s permission to do so. Edmonds has no conservative voice on the council or mayor, Snohomish county has little to none and Washington state has zero. Throw in voter apathy and a “dummed down” electorate courtesy of an ultra liberal education system and here we are. A population of sheeple whine from time to time but have basically agreed to be “Ruled” rather than “Led”.

  7. Let me see if I understand how this works. If it’s a Conservative Leader telling us what to do, that is a good thing; but if its a Liberal Leader, telling us what to do that is a bad thing?

    What we know from the current undecided Pres. election popular vote is that roughly half the entire U.S.population is Conservative in thought and roughly half is Liberal in thought, with maybe a very slight majority being more Liberal. Not sure that has so much to do with education as it has to do with inborn natural inclinations. The 50-50 split really makes me wonder about this.

    So, bottom line, man is either basically bad and has to be controlled with violence and fear; or man is basically good and can be controlled with intellect and reason. In the end that is just a matter of personal belief; and ideology of either stripe really never practically solves or answers any problems we have to solve.

    The problem for the overworked courts and police, which the Judge, Mayor and Chief are trying to address, is how do we best serve the general public and help or punish the people breaking the law of driving without a license. If the person arrested is just short on cash to purchase a license and trying to get to work; should we treat him the same as the person who is arrested drunk or high without a license? So called race should have nothing to do with it. All criminal justice systems have to continually decide what crimes and criminals are worthy of charging for the general good. That’s just how it is and always will be.

    1. I think it’s about being hit by a car where the driver has nine times been caught driving with a suspended license, and of course no insurance, while the Judge, Mayor and Chief think they have better things to worry about, so there is no recourse. This is about having common sense which is lacking locally when deciding the common good, and nothing about conservative vs. liberal BS.

    2. Still thinking this through, but I don’t think this involves deciding if something is worthy of charging. I think it involves what our police to do after it has been determined that a person has committed the offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree.

      Historically, the City has filed a criminal case as a standard practice. The Acting Police Chief has now ordered that practice will be changed, with some exceptions. Edmonds police will now cite the offender with a civil infraction instead.

      If existing State or City law allow such change of practice, it should be easy for City Officials to provide the related law that Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree can be treated as a civil infraction.

      City officials should also be able to tell us whether or not this new practice exposes the City to liability. Perhaps City Officials have already asked Washington Cities Insurance Authority about this.

      1. The article clearly states that these cases now represent 1/3 of the court’s caseload and the police and court have to prioritize their resources. The idea that this is some sort of “Liberal” scheme to let criminals off, and somehow racially motivated, is just political tribal nonsense and much adu about nothing.

        Nelson won the election; quit being cry babies and vote him out next time if you can. One minute Lawless is the finest there is and the next he is colluding with Nelson to go light on criminals. That’s the b.s. of this silliness and your inconsisteny should be embarrassing I would think. Let these folks do their jobs and quit picking on them because you don’t agree politically or ideologically with some of their views.

        1. I said nothing about Nelson or Lawless and continue to support Lawless 100%. You obviously get great enjoyment attributing every issue to a commentator’s possible political leanings.

        2. ” It would be good to know who initiated this change.” No innuendo or inferences in that statement. (And I’m the one injecting politics into this).

          I commend Mayor Nelson, Judge Coburn and Chief Lawless for taking this action and being open and honest about it with the public. You did this knowing you would be attacked by the usual suspects with the usual motives and that takes guts. You are true public servants.

    3. Omg ppl really ran with their hypotheticals! Lol they literally said that only as a stand alone offense and so long as u don’t already have a record of xy&z, and in fact even specifically said it was so that they could put more resources towards duis so obviously it doesn’t apply to ppl high and drunk driving with a suspended license. Ppl made way too big a deal out of this. I mean honestly are u ppl bored? How is this particular crime actually harming anybody and more specifically how’s it harming u. Find something that actually matters to get mad about and fight for ffs! It makes it so they can prosecute more of the other types of cases ur all up in arms about with ur exaggerations of them supposedly allowing burglary and car theft next just because they allow this. That’s a pretty absurd leap and anyone that suggested it is ignorant imo…. This was a good laugh though I needed that today!

  8. I just found a 2018 Legislative Backgrounder document apparently put out by the Washington ACLU. It is titled: Decriminalize DWLS3 (Driving While License Suspended ― Third Degree).

    As it is referred to as a Legislative Backgrounder – maybe that supports the idea that this should be a legislative decision.

    After typing the above – I just discovered that in 2018, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn sponsored Senate Bill 6189, a bill that would decriminalize the charge of third-degree driving with a suspended license, a misdemeanor.

    I’ll research what happened with this bill but the fact that this was sponsored as a Senate Bill increases my thought that this should be addressed by a legislative body.

  9. Looks like it was returned to Rules Committee in March of 2018 and never came back. Looks like RCW 46.20.342 hasn’t been changed since 2015.
    I suspect this is a legislative issue rather than a Mayor issue. Again, hopefully City Officials will clarify.

  10. My gratitude to the Edmonds Police, Acting Chief Lawless and the City of Edmonds for instituting sensible change that helps to de-criminalize poverty. Changes like this can make a big difference in the lives of families.

  11. A related January 22, 2018 Seattle Times article includes:

    “The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs has opposed previous efforts to decriminalize DWLS-III, but Executive Director Steve Strachan said the organization recognizes the financial burden the law has caused.
    The association wants to work with legislators to find a balanced solution to DWLS-III where accountability still exists and abuse of the system is discouraged, Strachan said.”

    The same article reports that it was a bipartisan group of lawmakers that was pushing for the change to law.

    I’m not sure why the change to State law did move forward and get passed. Hopefully City officials will explain all of this and let us know what law or laws allow the City to adopt a new practice at this point in time.

  12. “Let these folks do their jobs and quit picking on them because you don’t agree politically or ideologically with some of their views”

    The victims here will be the accident victims injured by drivers with suspended licenses, with invalid insurance, not the Mayor. Yes elections have consequences, in this case, endangerment of the community.

    1. There’s no endangerment to the community with this policy as it clearly makes exception to people with past convictions for DUI, multiple driving without a license offenses, hit and run and you name it. Those people will be criminally charged as always. The policy clearly applies to cases where the only infraction has been driving without a license. All police agencies and courts are given latitude in what they cite and what they charge. If they cited and charged everyone they caught committing every offense of every type; there wouldn’t be enough Judges or paper to process it all. Hundreds of people are currently driving without licenses and insurance because they can’t afford it; but they need get to work to survive (if they are lucky enough to have a job).

        1. Matt, How am I calling the whole law into question? What I would guess you could call first offenders or even low level offenders are going to be cited and judged under civil law (misdemeanor), rather than criminal (felony law). If you carefully read the article you will see there are numerous exceptions to the policy and the policy can be overruled if the officer provides evidence and gets approval from his superiors for the exception. I assume this frees up the Judge to tell the offender to pay the minimal fine and show proof of a valid license within a reasonable given amount of time. Seems reasonable to me.

          If the Mayor wasn’t a staunch Union Man and a confirmed Democrat; no mountain would be being made out of this little mole hill. It would be considered fine and prudent city government. All this critique of current public officials is small downtown politics by the same group of Nelson detractors commenting here all the time. The election is over. Time to move on and appreciate some transparency and open government, even if you don’t happen to agree with all the nuts and bolts of it.

        2. I’m not talking about the mayor. There’s a state law, and you’re calling it into question. Why do we need POC as a reason to call the law into question? I was arrested for this many years ago at age 19, and the moving violation wasn’t even mine (it was someone with my same name). So yes, let’s call the law into question, which is done at the state level. We don’t need the Edmonds Mayor to make it a race issue. By all means though open that up. What about child support? Let’s say having to pay child support puts a black man into a debt spiral. What’s unique about his circumstances anyways? Child support disproportionately affects men. Let’s give men some discretion if race is now a thing.

  13. Here is what our Code says are the Mayor’s duties:

    The mayor shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city, in charge of all departments and employees, with authority to designate assistants and department heads. The mayor shall see that all laws and ordinances are faithfully enforced and that law and order is maintained in the city, and shall have general supervision of the administration of city government and all city interest. [Ord. 2349 § 2, 1983].

    Following is the Oath of Office used locally:

    l, ____________________, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the Constitution and Laws of the State of Washington, and that I will faithfully and impartially perform and discharge the duties of the office of ________________for a _______ term according to law to the best of my ability.

    Are the Judge, Mayor and Chief the parties with the authority to adopt and implement policies or is it our state and city legislative bodies that have that authority? My belief is that when you have a good idea for a policy or law change, you present your idea to those with the authority to make the change.

    The legislative process related to DWLS3 started up 2-3 years ago 2018 Senate Bill 6189). That legislative process has not yet resulted in a change to law. Does our Mayor have authority to adopt his own practices related to DWLS3? Or is he bound by his duties and oath of office?

  14. No one ever seems to suggest that EBT disenfranchises POC. You need a valid ID to get EBT.

    No one ever seems to suggest that the obligatory background checks disenfranchise POC when they need a firearm. You need an ID to get a firearm.

    Men are more likely to have their license suspended than women. We don’t seem to believe the system is sexist.

    1. I believe that the Mayor and those under him should enforce all laws equally and not pick and choose. Hope the city will be responsible for damages done by no license no insurance driver. We could be on a slippery slope

  15. The Seattle Times reported on October 7, 2020 that the ACLU has sued the Department of Licensing and department director Teresa Berntsen over Washington suspending licenses of people who can’t pay traffic fines.

    The Seattle Times article dated October 7, 2020 discusses that in 2018, state lawmakers considered reducing the penalty for third-degree driving with a suspended license from a misdemeanor to a traffic infraction.

    Why would the 2018 legislation have been pursued if Mayors can simply decide on their own to change their enforcement practices?

    I think the question about liability exposure is reasonable. Still hoping City Officials will provide more information.

    1. Ken, your research skills are exemplary. Thank you for ferreting out all these details. Very helpful to folks trying to fully understand this matter.

      1. Thanks Roger. I find topics like this fascinating.

        A related 24-page document put out by the ACLU in 2018, states the following:

        “Prosecuting authorities and law enforcement can independently stop charging DWLS III, effectively decriminalizing it. Prosecutors and law enforcement have broad discretion for deciding when to file criminal charges, including consideration of whether the case is in the public interest.74 Some jurisdictions in Washington are already exercising this discretion. For example, the number of DWLS III charges in the cities of Seattle and Yakima have plummeted in recent years.”

        Footnote 74 relates to a US Supreme Court Case United States v. Lovasco, 431 U.S. 783 (1977). That case referred to excerpts from The Prosecution Function, including:

        “The prosecutor is not obliged to present all charges which the evidence might support. The prosecutor may, in some circumstances and for good cause consistent with the public interest, decline to prosecute, notwithstanding that evidence may exist which would support a conviction. Illustrative of the factors which the prosecutor may properly consider in exercising his discretion are:”
        “(i) the prosecutor’s reasonable doubt that the accused is in fact guilty;”
        “(ii) the extent of the harm caused by the offense;”
        “(iii) the disproportion of the authorized punishment in relation to the particular offense or the offender;”
        “(iv) possible improper motives of a complainant;”
        “(v) reluctance of the victim to testify;”
        “(vi) cooperation of the accused in the apprehension or conviction of others;”
        “(vii) availability and likelihood of prosecution by another jurisdiction.”

        One problem for Edmonds is that its standard practice of filing criminal cases indicates the City previously thought it was in the public interest to do so. Again, fascinating topic.

        I suspect it far better for members of a legislative body to decide if what is in the public interest has changed.

  16. What Mayor Nelson, Acting Police Chief Lawless, Judge Colburn, Luke Distelhorst and Susan Paine all fail to understand and/or comprehend is;

    There is no constitutional right to drive on our public roads. Drivers are required to obtain a license based on their skills and knowledge of the rules of the road that they must understand and agree to follow. If you’re going to drive, you owe it to the other roadway users and yourself to operate the vehicle safely and in accordance with state traffic laws. Last time I checked current state law an individual is not allowed to operate a vehicle without a drivers license.

    Proposed legislation, SB 6189 Decriminalize Driving While License Suspended 3 that minority report of the Way and Means Committee stated; “This will result in people not paying their tickets. This is a mistake because it creates a class of drivers that have no consequences. This would make Washington the only state that does not treat driving on a suspended license as a crime. The habitual traffic offender takes 20 tickets in five years to qualify for suspension, which is too low a threshold.”

    Mayor Nelson should create a Free Bicycle Relief Fund for Edmonds DWLS III offenders.

    1. I agree with what you’re saying but disagree with why. Implied Consent is a doctrine which asserts that driving is a priveledge. These laws regarding driving are being over-turned in higher courts, which is a good thing, assuming we agree driving is a right like having a gun is a right.

      Rights can be lost if abused. A license is just prior restraint and I don’t think having a license makes anyone a safer driver any more than having a gun license makes someone safer. There’s plenty of room to disagree. I’ve been looking at this a long while.

      The issue her is Universal Application of the Law, or Equality Under the Law. Where is skin color in this?

  17. It has been brought to my attention by Councilmember Distelhorst that City legislative work is taking place related to this matter. Related information can be found on pages 3-7 of the Edmonds City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for the November 2, 2020 Council Meeting. The Draft Meeting Minutes are in the Council Packet for next week – Packet pages 6-10.

    I wonder why Mayor and Acting Police Chief have acted prior to Council reaching a decision on whether City Council wants to adopt a DWLS 3 diversion program.

    The Draft Meeting Minutes state that the following is one of the Mayor’s recommendations:

    Allow the City Council the opportunity in 2021, if desired, to discuss the pros and cons of a DWLS 3 diversion program and the City’s direct filing practices.

    I repeat my concern that changing our standard practices before legislative changes have been made might expose the City to liability. History shows what the City has long believed was in the public interest.

  18. Here are the facts on non licensee drivers. Non -licensed drivers responsable for 20% of all auto accidents ( see link below)
    This is an alarming position for our mayor and top law enforcement officer of Edmonds to take. What about the safety of Edmonds residents, should that not be their priority, not protecting the law braking drivers. Remember “justice is blind” breaking a Washington State Motor Vehicle Law has nothing to do with color. “ If you dont want to do the time , don’t do the crime”.

    https://us claims.com/educational-resources/non-licensed-drivers-responsible-for-20-percent-of-all-auto-accidents/

  19. The Washington State Legislature passed a law in 2009 dealing with Relicensing Diversion Programs. Such was signed by Governor Christine Gregoire on May 14, 2009. See RCW 46.20.341.

    One example of action under this law took place in the City of Spokane. In November of 2010, Spokane implemented a DWLS 3 Diversion Program.

    Did the Edmonds City Council review this back in the 2009-2010 time frame or has it taken until now for this opportunity to be considered?

    There is much additional action going on related to this topic. Beginning in 2018, the ACLU has been taking an active role at the State Legislative level and a month ago the ACLU filed a State Supreme Court case.

    Last Week’s City Council Packet said that in 2020, some Councilmembers have begun to consider a DWLS 3 diversion program.

    Last Week’s City Council Packet said that one of Mayor Nelson’s recommendations on next steps was to:
    “Allow the City Council the opportunity in 2021, if desired, to discuss the pros and cons of a DWLS 3 diversion program and the City’s direct filing practices”.

    Is it proper or wise to change our standard practice prior to a legislative body changing law at the State or City level?

  20. Another concept that seems to be related is found in the Edmonds Municipal Court’s annual report:

    It is important to remember the Washington State Supreme Court’s holding in State v. Blazina:

    By statute, “[t]he court shall not order a defendant to pay costs unless the defendant is or will be able to pay them.” RCW 10.01.160(3). To determine the amount and method for paying the costs, “the court shall take account of the financial resources of the defendant and the nature of the burden that payment of costs will impose.” 182 Wn.2d 827, 838, 344 P.3d 680, 685 (2015).

    It is also important to remember that municipal courts are the creation of the legislature. The court’s authority and power derives directly from the legislature.

    The legislature shall prescribe by law the jurisdiction and powers of any of the inferior courts which may be established in pursuance of this Constitution.

    Washington State Constitution Article IV, § 12. What the court can impose regarding fines, fees, costs and assessments derive directly from statute. The Court imposing LFOs (legal financial obligations) that it does not have authority to impose could put the City at risk. See State v. Hardtke, 183 Wn.2d 475 (2015). Courts across the country and here in Washington have been sued for violating the constitutional rights of the poor and creating a debtor’s prison in attempts to collect LFOs against defendants whose nonpayment was not willful. The Court will continue to ensure compliance with statute and not put the City at risk.

  21. This isn’t about the Mayor but his (and the Judge’s and the Chief’s) alleged actions or lack of actions regarding enforcing state license law keep coming up in this discussion. Carefully read the article.

    They aren’t, not enforcing the law. They are using civil law in some cases and criminal law in other cases as seems prudent, socially and financially for the people of the city and the law breakers. Some of the law breakers need to go to jail and some just need a little education, encouragement and even help being able to obey the law.

    Do any of you really think the Edmond’s police haven’t arrested a public official, at some time or other, who was driving under the influence (and possibly with an expired license) who wasn’t given a lecture, escorted home, and not ticketed for his own good and the general perceived good of the city? Do you think events like that never happen?

    We give the police and the courts leeway in enforcing laws and ordinances and that is how it should be. Legislators try to make the best laws they can and public officials try to enforce them the best ways they can. It isn’t perfect, and it often isn’t pretty, and it often isn’t even fair.

    1. The City of Edmonds announced a change of standard practice last Thursday.

      If existing State or City law allow such change of standard practice, it should be easy for City Officials to provide the related law that Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree can be treated as a civil infraction. Unless I missed it, I have not seen any City Official provide the related law.

      I have searched the City’s website. I have found no evidence that what was once treated as a misdemeanor can now be treated as a civil infraction.

      At the State level, I know that 2018 Senate Bill 6189 tried to remove DWLS’s misdemeanor status and change it to a civil traffic infraction. Why would the State Legislative body have worked on this if governing bodies already had the ability to cite the offender with a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor?

      I am simply advocating for proper process. If a change to State law is needed, let the State Legislative body make the change instead of the City of Edmonds taking action prior to a change of State law.

      One option the City has had since 2009 is for City Council to pass a relicensing diversion program like Spokane passed in 2010. Last week’s Agenda packet indicates the 2020 City Council has already started work on such.

      Why is the City of Edmonds also taking action prior to our City Council deciding if it wants to adopt a DWLS 3 diversion program?

      I agree that DWLS 3 is an area that warrants legislative review. There are reasons to believe improvements may be available.

  22. No problem; just as long as you aren’t also beating up the individual people trying to do the best they can in the REAL world where they have to try to make all these IDEAL world laws and codes make some sense. It’s one thing to point out inconsistencies of laws and codes and quite another to accuse public officials of purposeful refusal to enforce laws for some perceived (in your own mind) personal political gain. I just don’t think these three people are
    guilty of anything except trying to make the system work for everyone involved.

  23. And what about the people who will be financially devastated by an accident by this uninsured drivers. Is the city going to pay for that? It’s illegal to be without insurance, you can’t get insurance without an active license, period. Insurance companies will NOT insure unlicensed drivers. So it is the financial burden of everyone else that can “afford” insurance, that is until they are in an accident with an uninsured driver and their rates go up. Good job! If you cannot afford insurance you should not drive. If you cannot drive appropriately you shouldn’t drive. Driving is a privilege not a right.

  24. The City issued a Press Release yesterday that concludes as follows:

    “This will include community-based gun safety programs, disarming domestic violence abusers with such tools as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and lobbying our State Legislature to mandate gun-safety training, as well as to enact legislation that would give local governments the authority to put stronger laws into place that better protect our communities.”

    This shows the City does lobby the State Legislature to enact legislation. I know we budget taxpayer money for a lobbyist in Olympia. In the gun safety area, the Mayor wants stronger laws.

    In the DWLS 3 area, the City of Edmonds did not issue a Press Release. Instead, it was reported that: “The City of Edmonds said Thursday that Edmonds police will no longer, “as a standard practice,” file a criminal case for the sole offense of Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree.”

    I wonder why the City is approaching the issues dramatically opposite. The DWLS 3 issue has been in front of the State Legislature already. Why not lobby our State Legislature to change the law instead of changing our standard practices related to how the City enforces the DWLS 3 law?

    There may be solid reasons for acting differently in the two situations. If so, hopefully City officials will share the reasons.

    I am truly trying to learn here. Is it a government strategy to adopt strong laws and then use prosecutorial discretion to enforce those laws at a reduced level?

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