Friends and neighbors,

We are approaching the end of the seventh week of the 2023 legislative session and our hard work continues. One of our caucus priorities in the Senate this session is “Safety for All,” which includes ensuring that every Washingtonian is safe and feels welcome in their communities. One way we are contributing to ensure safety for all is by prioritizing protections for victims of domestic violence.

Important Legislation

This session I sponsored SB 5231, which passed the Senate with impressive bipartisan support. This bill adds clarity and accountability to the legal process at a critical moment – when the court is making decisions about someone charged or arrested for domestic violence. Although courts are required to order the surrender of firearms and dangerous weapons when entering certain protection orders at arraignment hearings for crimes of domestic violence, this comes too late in the process to ensure accountability and true safety for the victims.

As a public defender, I saw how it is possible for a defendant in a domestic violence case, when ordered by a court to surrender guns, to lie and say they don’t own any. There is no standardized system to follow up and check on this. This bill addresses this issue by having officers remove guns at the scene of the crime with the consent of the victim and judge.

Firearms are by far the most common weapons used in domestic violence homicides. Recent research studies reinforce the importance of effective implementation. States that, in addition to laws prohibiting firearms, also have laws specifying how disqualified abusers were required to surrender those firearms saw a reduction in domestic violence homicides. States that prohibited firearms but did not have laws specifying how those guns would be relinquished did not see the same protective effects.

Although we’ve made important progress in recent years by enacting laws and policies that attempt to keep guns out of the hands of abusive partners, we have learned that focus on implementation and enforcement is critical.

Laws that prohibit firearm possession do not work on the honor system. Fatality reviews have repeatedly shown that laws prohibiting firearms for abusers are not effective without clear, specific procedures and mechanisms for accountability.

The bill passed the senate with seven Republican senators and 29 Democratic senators voting in favor and is now in being considered in the House.

Other notable events

I had the opportunity to speak at the legislative press conference on domestic violence legislation. It was an honor to stand along legislators from both sides of the aisle to discuss the ongoing efforts to help and support the victims of domestic violence. You can watch the full press conference here:

This week brought Children’s Day at the Legislature. It was a joy seeing legislators’ children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren on the Senate floor. I was especially thrilled to have my son join me at work and see the Legislature in action.

Stay involved!

Remember, your voice is integral in the lawmaking process and helps guide us to shape better policy. Remote public testimony will continue to be offered — along with the return of in-person testimony for all committees — providing every Washingtonian the chance to participate no matter where they live. You can register for in-person and remote testimony here.

Contact Us

Thank you to everyone who has reached out! I’d love to continue hearing from you and I look forward to learning more about your priorities for the upcoming year. Send me an email at or give me a call at 360-786-7662. You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates throughout the coming months.

Sincerely Yours,

Jesse Salomon