New WA laws in June 2024 include guns, police pursuits, income tax, more

A series of new laws go into effect in Washington state on June 6, bringing changes that include new restrictions on openly carrying guns in public, altered rules for police pursuits of suspects, a revision of how long mortuaries hold unclaimed human remains and a prohibition on octopus farming.

These laws are among the 310 laws set to be implemented following the standard process whereby most bills, once passed during the legislative session and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, become effective 90 days after the legislative body adjourns, which this year fell on June 6.

Police pursuits

Under the impending changes, police officers will have broader discretion to pursue suspected criminals. The modification grants officers the authority to pursue individuals whenever there is reasonable suspicion of any legal violation, an expansion from previous limitations enacted as part of 2021's police reform laws. These limits restricted pursuits to cases involving specific offenses like violent or sexual crimes, intoxicated driving or escape from arrest. This change has been met with mixed reactions. Law enforcement and Republican lawmakers have welcomed the shift, arguing that the previous restrictions increased crime rates, while Democrats express concerns about the potential danger to bystandsers and officers from high-speed chases.


Regarding firearms, the state will expand areas where guns and other weapons are prohibited, including public libraries, zoos, aquariums and transit centers. Individuals found knowingly possessing a weapon in these locations will face gross misdemeanor charges, allowing for certain exceptions such as concealed carry permit holders.

Child marriage

Child marriage laws are set to tighten, with the new legislation declaring void any marriages involving individuals under 18 years old. The statute removes the possibility for waiver by a judge and abolishes the existing provision that allows 17 year olds to obtain marriage licenses with approval.

‘Bill of Rights’ for parents

Another significant amendment arriving this week is a "bill of rights" for parents of students in K-12 education. This law allows parents more access to review school materials and medical records, as well as to exempt their children from certain assignments that inquire into personal sexual experiences or family religious beliefs. Whilst proponents view this as an affirmation of parental involvement in education and contend that similar protections already exist in state statutes, the law has been met with resistance from LGBTQ+ groups and faces a legal challenge from organizations including the ACLU of Washington.

Income taxes

Also becoming official is a law preventing Washington and its local governments from imposing personal income taxes. Although Washington currently imposes no such tax and there are no proposals to introduce one, supporters of this measure say it enshrines the voters' longstanding opposition to the idea into state law.

Hog-tying ban

Changes to police protocols will also be in place, including the banning of hog-tying during arrests, a practice already prohibited by most Washington police departments. This change follows the death of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, where the method was criticized for its association with suffocation risk.

Octopus farming

On June 6, the state will preemptively ban octopus farming, citing research that highlights octopuses as sentient creatures capable of emotion, even though the state does not currently have such farms.

These legislative changes reflect a wide array of public policy updates that touch on the daily lives of Washington residents, spanning issues from safety and criminal justice to commerce and personal rights.


In regard to housing, the legalization of co-living housing units, with shared kitchens and common areas, aims to alleviate the affordable housing shortage. Having faced restrictions in recent decades, this return to co-living will provide new options for urban residents.

Human remains

For mortuaries, the period required to maintain unclaimed human remains will decrease from 90 days to 45. The move is designed to alleviate space constraints in county cooler facilities, with counties also being afforded the ability to dispose of unclaimed remains.

Religious rights

Washington will also ensure Muslim consumers are not misled by introducing penalties for the false representation of halal foods, ensuring adherence to Islamic dietary principles.

View the 310 laws set to be implemented on June 6.


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