OLYMPIA – In 2010, Tacoma school teacher Jennifer Paulson was shot and killed by a man who had been harassing and stalking her for several years. In the years following her death, her family sought a change in state law to create a court order required stalkers to stay away from their victims. On Saturday, their long efforts paid off.

At Tacoma’s Birney Elementary School, where Paulson worked and where she was shot and killed by Jed Waits as she arrived at work on Feb. 26, 2010, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act into law.

“This has been a three-year journey for Jennifer’s family and friends,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill. “Today we give the victims of stalkers and law enforcement a new tool. Today we take a step forward in our efforts to protect women from stalkers who would torment and intimidate them. Today we create a new order that may save a life by sending these perpetrators an unmistakable message: keep away.”

Until now, court orders only addressed cases of domestic violence and harassment, ordering perpetrators in those cases to stay away from their victims. House Bill 1383 applies the stalking court order to both physical and online cases of stalking in which the suspect makes repeated attempts to contact, monitor, track or follow someone in a manner that causes that person to feel threatened or frightened.

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656