We advocate for positive changes that improve Washington State’s response to domestic violence. We do this through tracking bills, lobbying in Olympia, and informing and mobilizing our membership to take action on important policy and budget issues.
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2019 Legislative Session
The 2019 Washington State Legislative Session is scheduled to run January 14th to April 28th, 2019. Watch this page for frequent updates on the bills we are monitoring in 2019!
WSCADV’s (newly updated!) 2019 Legislative Agenda is an overview of the legislative proposals we identify and prioritize at the outset of each session.
Assistance for immigrant victims of trafficking or abuse (SB 5164 / HB 1971) *WSCADV Priority Legislation.
This bill expands access to critical services and support benefits for immigrants harmed by human trafficking & other serious crimes. Immigrant victims of trafficking and abuse are frequently trapped in dangerous situations and vulnerable to further exploitation because they struggle to meet basic needs. Increasing access to state food, medical, and economic supports while these survivors apply for federal assistance can improve lives, promote community safety, and reduce further victimization.
Working Families Tax Credit (HB 1527 / SB 5810) *WSCADV Priority Legislation.
This bill expands eligibility, and provides funding for, the Working Families Tax Credit, a Washington State analog of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. One of the main reasons people stay with or return to an abusive partner is that they don’t have the money to support themselves or their children. Decreasing poverty for low-income Washingtonians would increase survivor safety and help reduce the conditions that enable violence.
New Hope Act (HB 1041)
This bill modifies criteria related to certificates of discharge and eligibility to apply to have past criminal convictions vacated under certain circumstances. This criminal justice reform legislation that would improve re-entry, removing barriers to employment and housing by allowing more Washingtonians who have completed their sentences to apply to have their records cleared under certain circumstances.
SAPO access (HB 1149)
This bill changes the Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO) statute to clarify that survivors petitioning for an order does NOT need to specifically allege reasonable fear of future dangerous acts in order to be eligible for a SAPO. This legislation is a response to the WA Supreme Court case Roake v. Delman, which interpreted SAPO law to add a ‘future danger’ requirement.
Emergency assistance for those in the sex trade (HB 1382)
This bill provides immunity from prosecution for the crime of Prostitution, if the evidence for the charge was obtained as a result of a person seeking emergency assistance in certain circumstances. This bill is substantially similar to HB 2361 (2018).
Standardizing sexual health education (HB 1407 / SB 5395)
This bill increases statewide uniformity in the teaching of age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education for public school students, including information about healthy relationships and consent. Current law allows school districts to opt-in to teaching comprehensive health education, and requires them to meet certain standards if they do. This bill would require that all districts teach such health education, preserving the right of individual parents to opt-out their children.
Eliminating status offense detention for youth (HB 1434 / SB 5290)
This bill makes several reforms to the treatment of youth who commit non-criminal infractions known as ‘status offenses’ (including truancy), including eliminating the use of detention for youth who commit status offenses.
Rental tenant protections & eviction reform (HB 1453 / SB 5600)
This bill makes a number of changes to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, including: allowing tenants more time to pay rent due before eviction proceedings; and, authorizing the use of judicial discretion in these proceedings.
Confidentiality for children’s records (HB 1505)
This bill exempts certain identifying information and contact information of child victims of sexual assault from public disclosure under the Public Records Act, and restricts disclosure of the same information under the Criminal Records Privacy Act.
Improving criminal & civil responses to DV (HB 1517 / SB 5681)
This bill makes a number of reforms to WA’s criminal and civil justice responses to domestic violence, drawn in large part from recommendations of the work group created by HB 1163 (2017) including: ordering evaluation of new regulations (WACs) on DV perpetrator treatment; directs Washington State University to develop a DV risk assessment tool; expands the availability of sentencing alternatives and deferred prosecution in DV cases; and, reconvenes the DV work group created by HB 1163 to evaluate current mandatory arrest law and possible alternatives.
Workfirst / TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) reforms (HB 1603 / SB 5684)
This bill would make a number of changes to WA’s TANF program designed to make benefits available to more families in poverty, notably repealing some sanction and time limit policies that were put in place in 2008. Benefit programs such as TANF can be essential supports for survivors fleeing abuse who have little-to-no financial resources of their own. These reforms would allow more low-income survivors and others to access benefits and provide additional stability, something that has been shown to increase safety.
Legal services for address confidentiality property acquisition (HB 1643)
This bill requires the Secretary of State, which runs the state Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), to contract with a legal services provider to assist ACP participants including survivors of domestic violence with real property acquisitions in a manner that does not disclose their address as public record. Privacy and confidentiality are critical issues for survivors of DV, when privacy is compromised safety is also compromised, and this can lead to re-victimization. Currently, the ACP program is unable to protect the addresses of survivors who acquire real estate, such as new homes.
Eviction reform: eliminating ‘no cause’ termination (HB 1656 / SB 5733)
This bill makes a number of changes to state housing law increasing protections for renters, notably eliminating the ability for landlords to evict tenants through ‘no cause’ terminations.
Keep Washington Working Act (HB 1815 / SB 5497)
This bill makes a number of changes to state law to limit the collection of information regarding immigration status by state and local agencies, and prohibit local and state law enforcement participation in federal immigration enforcement activities. Unfortunately, we know that many survivors of abuse and other vulnerable community members are dissuaded from seeking help and services because of fear of immigration-related consequences for themselves or family. The resources of state and local law enforcement and other agencies are best utilized, and communities are best served, when immigration enforcement remains with those federal entities officially tasked with enforcing federal law, something that this bill ensures statewide.
This bill expands law enforcement authority to temporarily remove firearms in domestic violence cases. The bill, as introduced: requires that guns used to harm or threaten survivors in domestic violence incidents be removed by law enforcement when responding to a domestic violence incident, when there is probable cause to believe a crime has occurred; and, allows officer discretion to remove other firearms accessible to the abusive party. HB 1225 is similar, but not identical, to SB 5143.
Confidentiality in healthcare insurance (SB 5889)
This bill requires insurance companies to keep information about certain health care services obtained by covered adults and minors confidential and not disclose such information to the primary enrolee. Essentially, this bill extends the confidentiality that an enrolee has to the other plan beneficiaries.
Clarifying the definition of consent in criminal rape law (HB 1002)
This bill changes the definition of the crime of ‘Rape in the Third Degree’ by removing the requirement in current law that a victim ‘clearly express lack of consent through words or actions’.
Workplace DV task force (HB 1056)
This bill creates a Joint Legislative Task Force on domestic violence and workplace resources to identify the role of the workplace in helping to curb domestic violence.
High-capacity firearm magazines (HB 1068 / SB 5062)
This bill legally limits the maximum capacity firearm magazines. As introduced, the bills limited the magazine to 10 rounds, later amendments increased the maximum legal magazine size to 15 rounds of ammunition.
This bill makes several changes to WA law designed to improve the awareness to the connections between trauma brain injury (TBI) and domestic violence.
DV workplace awareness poster (HB 1533)
This bill requires the Employment Security Department to create a poster regarding domestic violence and requires employers to post the poster in a place with other required employment posters.
Child welfare workers (HB 1631)
This bill makes a number of changes to supplement the training, support, and workforce development requirements for child welfare workers employed by the Dept. of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), including explicitly clarifying that child welfare workers must support victims of domestic violence while those victims continue to care for their children, when possible.
Eliminating sub-minimum wages for disabled persons (HB 1706 / SB 5753)
This bill eliminates special certificates available under current law that allow an employer to pay below the minimum wage to workers with disabilities.
Adult entertainer safety (HB 1756 / SB 5724)
This bill makes several changes to laws governing the labor relations of dancers working at adult entertainment venues, including: creating new training requirements, requiring the availability of ‘panic buttons’, and requiring employers to keep lists of customers accused of harassing or assaulting employees.
Eliminating child marriage (HB 1883)
This bill makes marriages entered into by persons under age 18 void under Washington State law.
Parents and ACES awareness (HB 1925)
This bill requires the Dept. of Health to provide parents with information about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and develop related training for community health workers and providers, and directs the DOH to implement a pilot program with one or more local clinics or organizations to screen for ACEs.
SANE expansion (HB 1942)
This bill is intended to improve the availability of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in rural and Eastern WA, including directing Washington State University to take various actions related to this goal including establishing a nurse training program targeted at the region.
Campus sexual violence task force (HB 1998)
This bill creates a legislative task force to monitor and make recommendations about higher education responses to campus sexual violence and Title IX compliance.
Mandatory reporting expansion (HB 2033)
This bill makes several changes that would expand the scope of current penalties for mandatory reporters who fail to make reports of child abuse or neglect, including: 1) creates a new gross misdemeanor crime of ‘knowingly obstructing the duty’ of a mandatory reporter; 2) creates a new civil infraction for negligently failing to report, or failing to cause another to report, abuse or neglect, with the option for a court to defer such a finding for up to one year; 3) adds a ‘knowingly’ mens rea (state-of-mind) requirement to the existing ‘failure to report’ crime, and changes it from a gross misdemeanor to simple misdemeanor; 4) requires that all youth-serving agencies who contract with the state sign an acknowledgement of compliance with mandatory reporting law.
Tribal extradition rules (SB 5081)
This bill creates state law processes by which fugitives wanted by native tribes, including non-native persons accused of domestic violence crimes who meet the criteria to be subject to Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction (SDVCJ) created by VAWA 2013, can be extradited to tribes who have enterred into special agreements with the State of Washington.
Electronic victim monitoring (SB 5149)
The bill is designed to increase access to electronic offender monitoring (e.g. GPS), including systems that include victim notification, but requiring the Administrative Office of the Courts to develop a list of technology vendors, create an informational handout on such technology, and potentially assist counties in covering the cost of such technology.
Mandatory reporting (SB 5173)
This bill changes mandatory reporting of child abuse by: creating a new gross misdemeanor crime of ‘knowingly obstructing the duty of a mandatory reporter to make a report’; reducing the existing crime of failing to report from a gross misdemeanor to a misdemeanor and adding a ‘knowingly’ requirement to an element of the crime; and, creating a new requirement for “youth-serving organizations” to sign an acknowledgement of compliance with mandatory reporting laws.
ERPO hate crime expansion (SB 5745)
This bill allows victims of certain hate crimes to petition the court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO). ERPOs are a kind of civil court order that restricts the respondent (person subject to the order) from possessing firearms.
Post-conviction release review (SB 5819)
This bill would establish a new process by which persons incarcerated for 15 years or more, who meet certain criteria, would be eligible to petition for early release or community custody from the Department of Corrections.
Women’s prison division (SB 5876)
This bill creates a ‘women’s division’ within the Department of Corrections and outlines “gender-responsive” and “trauma-informed” practices related to the incarceration of women in WA.
This bill requires the Washington State Patrol to create and maintain a central registry of ‘serious domestic violence offenders’ who have been convicted of a felony and/or multiple misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. WSCADV has concerns about the unintended consequences of this bill for survivor privacy. Due to the relationship between a victim and an offender in domestic violence cases, publicizing an abuser’s name would often lead to the identification of the victim as well. Concerns for their privacy can result in survivors deciding not to reach out for help.
2018 Legislative Session
An archived recording of our 2018 Legislative Wrap-Up Webinar is now available! This webinar is a summary of the bills we were tracking and advocating on this session. This resource includes the webinar slides as well as a summary of legislative questions and answers from the 2018 session.
WSCADV’s 2018 Legislative Agenda is an overview of the legislative proposals we identify and prioritize at the outset of each session.
2017 Legislative Session
Our 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up Webinar is archived online if you missed it live.
Our 2017 Legislative Session Summary document is available.
Wondering how laws are made in Washington State? Watch our short video, Ms. RCW: