OLYMPIA– Democrats in the Washington State Senate identified safety for all as a key priority for the 2023 legislative session, and Sen. T’wina Nobles has two pieces of legislation still in consideration addressing this priority.
“I am proud to support and prioritize efforts this session to enhance safety measures and create a safer environment for all,” said Nobles. “Legislation I have sponsored centers survivors, and I’m grateful to the legislative community for taking significant steps towards ensuring that all individuals have the right to feel secure and protected.”
Senate Bill 5081 seeks to exempt the information about requesting victims and witnesses from the PRA. This is Department of Corrections request legislation. Currently, survivors and witnesses can request notification when an incarcerated person is released from prison, but this notification is not protected by the Public Records Act. That means formerly incarcerated individuals can access the names of those who requested to be notified through a public disclosure request. The legislation intends to safeguard survivors and witnesses.
The Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention reports that 68 percent of women who report domestic violence suffered near-fatal strangulation. A forensic examination can cost upwards of $1,400, and medical examinations are the best resource to hold abusers accountable.
The Crime Victims Compensation Program has played a crucial role in ensuring that survivors of nonfatal strangulation receive appropriate treatment and that perpetrators are held responsible. Senate Bill 5070 maintains the access to necessary resources. Legislation establishing this program came before the Legislature in 2021, in the form of Senate Bill 5183, passing unanimously. The proposed bill this session makes the program permanent.
Both bills are still being considered by the House, with SB 5070 in House Appropriations and SB 5081 waiting to be pulled from House Rules. The legislative session is set to end Sunday, April 23.