House approves Irwin’s bill extending Gambling Commission officers authority

A bill clarifying the authority of Gambling Commission officers and what enforcement they can provide received unanimous approval by the state House Monday.

House Bill 1475, introduced by 31st District Rep. Morgan Irwin, at the request of the Gambling Commission, would authorize limited authority Gambling Commission peace officers to take reasonably necessary action to prevent physical injury to a person, or damage to property, within the officer’s presence.

“Gambling Commission officers are fully-commissioned peace officers. They deserve the peace of mind and proper legal protections that other law enforcement officers have,” said Irwin. “Let’s take this scenario: A gambling officer leaves work, sees a Washington State trooper on the side of the road needing assistance with a suspect. The gambling officer provides the necessary assistance and everyone goes on their way. The next day, the gambling officer gets to work and finds out that, even though he did the right thing by assisting the trooper, he doesn’t have qualified immunity to provide that assistance because it was outside his regular job duties. This bill would give these officers the protection they deserve and increase safety for the public.”

Currently, the Gambling Commission is authorized to enforce laws relating to gambling activities. This authority includes the application, and execution of, warrants and the power to arrest without a warrant, any person found violating gambling laws. Irwin’s bill extends to Gambling Commission officers the same protection that other law enforcement officers have. These officers would be given legal protection when they assist with situations outside the typical scope of their job.

HB 1475 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications