The last week of bill signings by Gov. Jay Inslee is in the books, with North County lawmakers having a number of pieces of legislation signed into law.
Inslee’s last week of signings included legislation designed to help people with developmental disabilities and prevent deaths on dangerous roads from North County’s delegation, as well as two noteworthy bills from Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver.
Wilson’s Tiffany Hill Act, feminine hygiene bills signed
Sen. Lynda Wilson’s most prominent piece of legislation this year got Inslee’s signature. Second Substitute Senate Bill 5149 allows for electronic monitoring with victim notification technology (EMVNT), allowing an individual protected by a court order to receive notification if the monitored individual comes close to the protected one.
The legislation has been dubbed the Tiffany Hill Act, in honor of a Clark County mother who was shot and killed by her estranged husband in front of her children while parked in Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School’s parking lot in November. A release from Wilson said the legislation’s passing capped off a three-year effort that received renewed importance in the wake of Hill’s death.
“Tiffany Hill did everything she could to avoid contact with the person who would ultimately take her life,” Wilson said in the release. “She was a former Marine, and I have no doubt that if she’d had access to this technology, she would have taken steps to protect herself.”
Wilson gave credit to friends and loved ones of Hill from Sarah J. Anderson and the Clark County criminal justice community members for advocating for the bill’s passage, acknowledging that restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 kept them from participating in the signing.
“The people who knew Tiffany best were determined to help others avoid what she had to go through,” Wilson said, adding she would push for a ceremonial signing when the restrictions are lifted. “I intend for them to receive the recognition they deserve.”
Wilson also received a signature on Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5147, which gives a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products.
Bill proponents noted that medically necessary products are exempt from sales tax, though such products currently covered under the bill are not.
Braun, DeBolt, Rivers see signatures
Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, saw three of his bills signed into law last week.
Substitute Senate Bill 6190 makes changes to a trust account devoted to serving community support opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. The legislation allows for the sale of property of Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC) to fund the account, among other changes, according to a bill summary, which bill proponents say will allow for better use of funding to help those with developmental disabilities.
Currently the RHCs are 24-7 care for people with developmental disabilities, which according to a bill summary is a model many other states are moving away from. The legislation would guarantee that any sale of RHC property would be used to fund community-based efforts to support those with developmental disabilities.
Braun’s second bill to pass, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6040, seeks to eliminate the number of individuals with developmental disabilities who aren’t receiving services paid by the state but want them. A final bill report for the legislation stated about 300 individuals in the state were in that category, and though the bill does not allocate extra funding to the programs, bill proponents say it will help to track who is requesting those services in an effort to get their requests met more efficiently.
Braun’s third bill signed, Substitute Senate Bill 6191, requires that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) be factored into the statewide Healthy Youth Survey administered to students in sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth grades every two years by the state Health Care Authority, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and other state agencies. The anonymous, voluntary survey seeks to identify issues facing the state’s youth, and the legislation would require ACEs to be a part of the survey, according to a final bill report.
ACEs were previously described by the legislature as including sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, witnessing substance abuse and violence in the home, and divorce or separation, among other experiences.
Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, had some legislation get Inslee’s signature. Substitute House Bill 1154 creates the Chehalis Basin Taxable Account, a funding source designed to allow the Office of the Chehalis Basin better flexibility in funding projects and programs designed to maintain the Chehalis River Basin.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, had another piece of legislation of hers approved by Inslee this year. Senate Bill 5613 allows for vacation of a county-owned road if the road is determined to be a public safety risk.
The legislation was brought upon by issues with a railroad bridge over the Lewis River in Clark County, according to public testimony during one of the hearings for the bill. A number of fatalities have occurred near the bridge, which could not be vacated due to its location near the water. Road vacation terminates public right-of-way on said road.