OLYMPIA – The Legislature has scheduled public hearings for four measures requested or supported by Attorney General Rob McKenna on Wednesday and Thursday this week, including:
• Adding victims of domestic violence to the state employee’s shared leave program;
• Protecting consumers from mortgage foreclosure scams;
• Keeping cell phone numbers private; and
• Requiring a police report to be filed in identity theft cases.
“Legislators are showing that they care deeply about consumer protection and privacy issues and want laws that assist domestic violence and identity theft victims in their recovery,” McKenna said. “I appreciate their support and consideration for our priorities during this short session.”
Requiring police reports in identity theft cases
The House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness has scheduled a public hearing at 8 a.m. Wednesday to consider SB 5878. Prime-sponsored by Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, the bill creates a statutory requirement for police to take reports from identity theft victims. The bill incorporates language from a similar bill requested by McKenna and passed the Senate unanimously.
A companion bill, HB 2636, prime-sponsored by Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, passed the House unanimously and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The proposed law is part of McKenna’s legislative package to help fight the growing problem of identity theft. McKenna said police reports are essential to help identity theft victims clear their name and obtain a free credit report security freeze to prevent further harm.
Allowing domestic violence victims to qualify for state employee shared leave program
The House Committee on State Government and Tribal Affairs will hold a public hearing on SSB 6500 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Prime-sponsored by Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, the bill allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to qualify for the state employee shared leave program. It unanimously passed the Senate.
The legislation was proposed to provide an economic cushion for victims who need additional time off but would not otherwise qualify for the shared leave program, which allows state employees to voluntarily donate leave to their peers in need.
Protecting Washington residents from mortgage foreclosure fraud
The Senate Consumer Protection and Housing Committee has a scheduled a public hearing for 8:30 a.m. Thursday to consider HB 2791. Prime-sponsored by Rep. Patricia Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, the bill helps reduce foreclosure rescue schemes that include an option to allow the original homeowner to buy or lease back the property from a buyer. It unanimously passed the House.
Prohibiting third-party marketing of cell phone numbers
The Senate Consumer Protection and Housing Committee will also consider SSHB 2479 during a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. Prime-sponsored by Rep. Dawn Morrell, D-Puyallup, the bill incorporates the Attorney General’s proposed legislation requiring any person in the business of compiling, marketing or selling phone numbers for commercial purposes to obtain a consumer’s express opt-in consent before publishing his or her wireless phone number in a directory. The bill passed the House 92-3.
More information on the Attorney General’s proposed legislative package is available online at http://www.atg.wa.gov/2008Legislation.aspx.
Media Contacts: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432
J. Ryan Shannon, Media Relations Manager – Olympia, (360) 753-2727