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2010 Legislation

Community Safety

Government Accountability

Safeguarding Consumers

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Community Safety Banner

HB 2426/SB 6202: Protecting Vulnerable Adults (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2426: 
* Jan. 20 public hearing. 
DEAD

SB 6202:
*
 Jan. 22 public hearing. 
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 3.
*Voted out of Senate on Feb. 15 
* Feb. 23 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 23.
* Voted out of House on March 3.
* Signed by the Gov. on March 19.

  • A Federal Way man is charged with draining his 93-year-old mother’s savings. He goes on a spending spree while she is evicted from her nursing home.
  • Two women enter a Seattle-area bank and ask to cash out a 78-year-old customer’s bank account. One presents a marriage license, freshly signed by herself and the dementia-suffering senior, who stands by appearing noticeably confused.
  • An elderly woman’s “new friend” mortgages her paid-off home and liquidates her $2 million in assets, sending her into bankruptcy. 

These incidents, and others like them, occur with increasing frequency here and around the country. The Attorney General's Office proposes legislation that would provide longer sentences for those who crimes against vulnerable adults and formally authorize financial institutions to freeze a transaction for up to three business days if financial exploitation is expected. Read more

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HB 2424/SB 6201: Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2424: 
* Jan. 12  public hearing.  
* Voted out of committee on Jan. 22.
*Voted out of House on Feb. 17
* Feb. 24 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 26.
* Voted out of Senate on March 4.
Signed by the Gov. on March 26.

SB 6397
(Uses the language from SB 6201)
* Jan. 22 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 5
DEAD

According to a 2005 study by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), a sample of 1,713 child pornography arrests showed that 53 percent of those arrested were also charged with actual or attempted sexual abuse of children. A second study shows that most of those arrested for possessing child pornography had images of children who had not yet reached puberty. In fact, 58 percent of those images were of children under 5, including infants.

The Attorney General's Office proposes legislation to upgrade the state's ability to combat the rape and molestation of children by pursuing abusers who video-record their crimes, and the underground market that trades in the resulting images. The law would:

  • Redefine the felony crime of possession of depictions of child pornography to include deliberately viewing those
    images of child sexual abuse over the Internet.
  • Affirmatively reset the unit of prosecution in child pornography cases back to the nationally recognized per-image standard.
  • Protect non-commissioned law enforcement personnel from prosecution when viewing depictions during investigations.

Read more

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HB 2427/SB 6203/SB 5208: Domestic Violence Sanctions (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2427:
*
Jan. 12 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Jan. 18.
* Voted out of Government Appropriations on Feb. 4.
* Voted out of Rules on Feb. 11
* Voted out of House on Feb. 12.
* Feb. 23 public hearing.
DEAD

SB 5208:
* Jan. 26 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Jan. 28.
* Voted out of Rules on Feb. 2.
DEAD 

HB 2777
(Uses the language from  HB 2427)
* Voted out of Senate on Feb. 3
* Signed by the Gov. on April 1.

It’s been 25 years since the state passed its Domestic Violence Protection Act. Yet, Washington still does not treat domestic violence with the seriousness it demands. State law requires more serious punishments for serial drug offenders, car thieves and other chronic criminals than for serial domestic abusers – leaving them free to terrorize innocent victims again and again.

The Attorney General's Office proposes legislation to target abusers who graduate to felony abuse. The law would:

  • Score prior misdemeanor domestic violence history when determining felony domestic violence sentences and create a new list of enumerated serious domestic violence misdemeanor offenses.
  • Multiply, or count more heavily, a certain class of prior domestic violence felony convictions.
  • Amend 9.94A.030 (Sentencing Reform Act definitions) to add “domestic violence."
  • Make the designation of “domestic violence” mean something by requiring that it be pled and proven as an element of a particular offense. The benefit of pleading and proving “domestic violence” is significant, as history at the felony level would be given new meaning and repeat offenders would receive tougher sentences.
  • The implementation date will be August 2011, to allow county prosecutors a full year to prepare for pleading and proving
    “domestic violence” as an element of an offense, and to offset any potential financial impact during the current biennium.

Read more

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Gov. Accountability Banner

HB 2423/SB 6199 and HB 2425/SB 6200: Protecting Private Property from Eminent Domain Abuse (pdf)

Washington’s Community Renewal Law (CRL) allows municipalities to eliminate “blight” using the power of eminent domain. “Blight” includes any physical deterioration, inappropriate uses of land, diversity of ownership, high levels of unemployment or poverty, crime, as well as factors affecting welfare and morals. Many conclude this definition is too broad and overly vague, putting landowners at risk.

Making matters worse, blight is defined as an “area” affected by those conditions. Because blight is not specific to certain parcels, a municipality could use its eminent domain authority to broadly condemn non-blighted homes or businesses so long as the community renewal area includes some blighted parcels.

The Attorney General's Office, on behalf of its Eminent Domain Task Force, proposes legislation to prohibit the exercise of eminent domain for economic development and reform Washington's Community Renewal Law. Read more

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HB 2736/SB 6383Enforcing the Public Records Act (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2736: 
* Jan. 26 public hearing.
DEAD

State agencies and local governments face a logjam of citizen complaints, costly litigation over the Public Records Act (PRA) and the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), and uncertainty regarding potential liability that may require payment of attorneys’ fees, costs, and daily penalties. All of this impacts ever-shrinking budgets, forcing government to cut other vital services to comply.

Citizens who are denied access to public records and public meetings currently have no choice other than to go to court, and lawsuits are often costly and time-consuming, many taking years to resolve. Going to court to enforce legal rights to access public records and public meetings is simply not an option for many citizens.

The Attorney General and State Auditor jointly propose legislation to amend the PRA to create an independent office to enforce the Public Records and Open Meetings Acts. The legislation will include an effective date in 2011 to allow a smooth transition to a new appeals process. Read more

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Safeguarding Consumers Banner

HB 2429: Lemon Law Fix (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2429: 
* Jan. 27 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 2.
*Voted out of House on Feb. 10
* Feb. 18 public hearing.
* Voted out of committee on Feb. 25.
* Voted out of Senate on March 4.
* Signed by the Gov. on March 12.

Washington's Lemon Law does not require used car dealers to disclose whether a vehicle was ever bought back from a manufacturer under a Lemon Law program.

The Attorney General's Office proposes legislation to revise RCW 19.118.061 to extend "lemon" disclosure requirements to used vehicle dealers. The proposed changes would also provide remedies for dealers and consumer who didn't receive the appropriate disclosures when they purchased a manufacturer-reacquired "lemon" vehicle. Read more

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HB 2428: Cap "Found Money" Fees (pdf)

Bill Updates

 

HB 2428: 
* Jan. 25 public hearing. 
* Voted out of committee on Jan. 27.
* Voted out of House on Feb. 10
* Feb. 24 public hearing.
*  Voted out of committee on Feb. 24
* Voted out of Senate on March 4.
* Signed by the Gov. on March 12.

Families who have lost their homes in tax foreclosure are vulnerable to individuals seeking to take the remaining sales proceeds. The Attorney General’s Office is aware of firms that contact owners of foreclosed properties offering to obtain the surplus money on their behalf and, in return, receive a hefty percentage of the surplus funds. A typical scenario occurs when a county sells vacant land due to non-payment of taxes.

The Attorney General's Office proposes amending RCW 63.29.350 to cap any fee for obtaining money from a tax sale at 5 percent of the amount recovered. That's the same percentage allowed to "finders" of other unclaimed funds that revert to the counties. Read more

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