Boehnke selected to serve on new state AI task force

OLYMPIA… On June 21, State Sen. Matt Boehnke, the Legislature’s leading expert on cybersecurity and technology, was selected to serve on a new state Attorney General task force on artificial intelligence technology.

Boehnke, R-Kennewick, will serve on the 18-person task force, which will be tasked with issuing findings, guiding principles and policy recommendations.

“Serving on this task force provides an incredible opportunity to bring the insights and experiences I have gained through my service in the military cybercommand units and representing the innovative Tri-Cities community to the forefront of state policy,” Boehnke said. “I look forward to contributing to the development of comprehensive AI guidelines that will benefit all Washingtonians.”

Boehnke is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, assistant professor, and founding director of Cyber Security studies at Columbia Basin College in the Tri-Cities. He currently serves as ranking Republican on the Senate Human Services Committee.

On May 17, Boehnke traveled to Quebec City, Canada, to participate in a meeting with the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and Privacy. During the event, he was involved in several discussions on topics such as EcoBytes, comparative AI legislation across the border, internet routing security, and the cybersecurity workforce and apprenticeships available in different states.

“Learning from our neighbors across the border is crucial,” Boehnke said. “Increasing our cybersecurity defense posture and learning more about comparative AI legislation allows us to adopt best practices and avoid pitfalls, ensuring that our policies are robust, forward-thinking, and capable of addressing the unique challenges posed by AI.”

The task force will be divided into eight subcommittees focused on education, public safety and ethics, health care, labor, government, state security and cyber security, consumer protections and industry innovation.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson partnered with Sen. Joe Nguyen, D-White Center, to create the task force with Senate Bill 5838. Rep. Travis Couture, R-Allyn, sponsored the companion bill in the House. The bill passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Inslee in March.

“By bringing together a diverse group of experts and stakeholders, we have a unique opportunity to craft policies that balance innovation with public safety and ethical considerations,” Boehnke added. “I am excited to be part of this important work and look forward to our collaborative effort.”

In addition to Boehnke and Nguyen, Ferguson selected state Rep. Clyde Shavers, D-Clinton, policy experts, labor organization representatives, civil liberty experts, and other stakeholders to complete the task force membership. The task force will begin meeting this summer and provide a final report to the governor and Legislature by July 1, 2026.