By Aspen Anderson
Washington State Journal 

Jaywalking laws too severe, critics say


Last updated 2/1/2024 at 9:23am

Aspen Anderson | Washington State Journal

Taking their arguments on jaywalking to the steps of the Capitol in Olympia are, from left in the back row: Sen. Rebecca Saldana, community member DeAndre Anderson, Advocacy Director at Transportation Choices

OLYMPIA – Taking cues from California, there's a push to lighten up on jaywalking fines - a move that hits the headlines for its impact on both the homeless community and Black pedestrians.

In Washington state, black pedestrians are stopped by police at a rate four times higher than the general population and 41% are homeless.

Jaywalking is considered a non-criminal traffic violation, carrying an average fine of $70.

In 2023, a "free-to-walk" bill gained 700 initial supporters, with another 200 endorsing the idea this year. If approved, the new bill, Senate Bill 5383, would decriminalize...

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