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July 20, 2007
Attorney General McKenna's new laws go into effect Sunday

OLYMPIA - New laws requested by Attorney General Rob McKenna dealing with eminent domain notice, increased domestic violence penalties, establishment of an anti-gang workgroup, protecting seniors and establishing a Sunshine Committee for public records will go into effect on Sunday. 
“The new laws seek to provide the tools necessary to further protect the people of Washington,” said Attorney General McKenna, “I’m very pleased with the bi-partisan support from the Legislature for these bills.”

The following laws go into effect on Sunday, July 22:

Senate Bill 5953 increases the domestic violence penalties for assault by strangulation. The new law makes assault by strangulation a second-degree assault, a class B felony.

House Bill 1458 requires a state agency, local government, or utility considering the acquisition of specific properties by eminent domain to:

  • Send a certified letter (costing $4.64) to the property owner of record on the county tax rolls notifying him or her of the open public meeting to decide the issue, and
  • Publish a short newspaper legal notice before the meeting..

Senate Bill 5987 directs the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) to establish a workgroup, including a representative from the Attorney General’s Office, to evaluate the problem of gang-related crime in Washington. 

The workgroup is directed to evaluate and make recommendations regarding additional legislative measures to combat gang-related crime, the creation of a statewide gang information database, possible reforms to the juvenile justice system for gang-related juvenile offenses, best practices for prevention and intervention of youth gang membership, and the adoption of legislation authorizing a civil anti-gang injunction. WASPC must report back to the Legislature on its findings and recommendations on or before January 1, 2008.

Senate Bill 5435 creates a Blue-Ribbon Committee to:

  • Annually review all exemptions, including newly-passed ones; and 
  • Recommend repeal or amendment of exemptions to the Public Records Act or other statutes. 

House Bill 1445 clears up codification errors.

House Bill 1114 seeks to protect seniors from trust mill exploitation, allowing that only attorneys or those employed by attorneys may market legal estate distribution documents like living trusts, wills, etc. Attorneys who sell inappropriate living trusts will be accountable through bar sanctions.

Trust mill activity is made a per se violation of the Consumer Protection Act, making the outcome of litigation against trust mill activity substantially certain and providing greater clarity which will result in broad deterrence. Financial institutions are exempt.


Media Contact: J. Ryan Shannon, Media Relations Manager, (360) 753-2727


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