WCSAP Legislative Session 2022 in Review

The following were supported by WCSAP in the 2022 Legislative Session. We engaged in lobbying, provided written/spoken testimony, and/or sign-on support. We worked collaboratively with many stakeholders and partners in our legislative work. To see more about how we decide what bills to support, check out WCSAP Guiding Policy Values.

State Budget Proviso

Our legislative priority was to ensure continuity of crime victim services impacted by reductions in federal victims of crime act funding and help address increased demand for crime victim services attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Exceeding our request of $7.5M, this has been funded at $6.8M for FY 2022 and $15.7M for FY 2023.

HB 1916 (Orwall)

This was an important comprehensive sexual assault bill that did not pass. However, there are aspects of this bill found in the budget:

  • $58,000 to support the sexual assault forensic examination best practices advisory group.
  • $750,000 to the Washington association of sheriffs and police chiefs to administer the sexual assault kit initiative project to assist multidisciplinary community response teams seeking resolutions to cases tied to previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
  • $680,000 to establish a stipend program for licensed nurses to receive reimbursement of up to $2,500 to cover eligible expenses incurred in order to complete the training necessary to become a certified sexual assault nurse examiner.
  • $408,000 to establish a grant program for hospitals to obtain the services of a certified sexual assault nurse examiner from other sources if the hospital does not have those services available internally.
  • $80,000 to OSPI to assist sexual assault survivors in Washington public schools to Research best practices for a victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to responding to sexual assault and supporting survivors in schools Conduct listening sessions across the state Develop a plan for training for school administrators and counselors Review current legal requirements mandating that educators and staff report suspected sexual assault and assess whether changes to those requirements should be made to align them with best practices for responding to sexual assault and supporting survivors in schools.

See the full State budget document.

Bills

HB 1795 Concerning NDAs

Passed legislature; expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, will be effective June 8, 2022

This bill makes void and unenforceable provisions in agreements between an employer and employee that prohibit the disclosure of conduct that is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault, or that is against a clear mandate of public policy, occurring in the workplace. It is a violation of the act for an employer to:

  • discharge or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee for disclosing or discussing conduct that the employee is allowed to disclose or discuss under the act;
  • request or require an employee to agree to a prohibited provision;
  • or attempt to enforce a prohibited provision.

This bill creates a new cause of action. An employer who violates the act is liable for actual or statutory damages of $10,000, whichever is more, as well as reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.

HB 1851 Preserving a pregnant individual's ability to access abortion care

Passed legislature; expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, will be effective June 8, 2022

This bill clarifies and specifies the rights and options for survivors to get abortion care. People often seek out advanced registered nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives to perform these services, which are in their scope of practice—these are the majority of providers in rural areas. In addition, using gender-neutral language ensures access and furthers civil rights for trans people.

HB 1901 Updating laws concerning civil protection orders to further enhance and improve their efficacy and accessibility

Passed legislature, expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, the bill takes effect July 1, 2022. Technical corrections take effect July 1, 2023.

This comprehensive bill further builds on HB 1320 from the 2021 legislative session. In addition to some amended definitions, changes are made to provisions of the protection order law, including in areas relating to: filing and service of petitions; hearing procedures; issuance of orders, including duration and relief; violations and enforcement; and modification or termination of orders. Some highlights relevant to sexual violence are as follows:

Definitions

  • The definition of "intimate partner" is revised to provide that the term does not include persons who have a child in common where the child is conceived through sexual assault.
  • The definition of "domestic violence" is modified to include coercive control. "Coercive control" is defined to mean a pattern of behavior that is used to cause another to suffer physical, emotional, or psychological harm, and in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person's free will and personal liberty. In determining whether the interference is unreasonable, the court must consider the context and impact of the pattern of behavior from the perspective of a similarly situated person. Some relevant examples of coercive control under the new definition include:
    • distribution of or threats to distribute actual or fabricated intimate images;
    • threatening to make, private information public, including the other party's sexual orientation or gender identity, medical or behavioral health information, or other confidential information that jeopardizes safety;
    • engaging in sexual or reproductive coercion; depriving the other party of basic necessities or committing other forms of financial exploitation;

Jurisdiction revisions

  • Jurisdiction over protection order proceedings is harmonized for DVPOs, SAPOs, Stalking POs, and AHPOs. A transfer from district court to superior court can still occur under certain circumstances.
  • Provisions granting jurisdiction over protection order proceedings to municipal courts are removed.

Filing

When a petition meets the criteria for a different type of protection order other than the one sought, the court must consider the petitioner's preference, and enter a temporary protection order or set the matter for a hearing as appropriate under the law. The court's decision on the appropriate type of order must not be based on alleviating potential stigma on the respondent.

  • A filing fee may not be charged for an AHPO when the petitioner is seeking the order against a person who has engaged in a hate crime
  • Clerks must make available electronically to judicial officers any protection orders filed within the state– to include protection orders provided by military and tribal courts.
  • The Administrative Office of the Courts is directed to develop a single petition form, instructional brochures, and a protection order handbook by December 30, 2022.

Service

  • In cases where personal service is required, after two unsuccessful attempts, service must be permitted by electronic means.
  • In considering a request for a continuance, courts should consider the rebuttable presumption against delay and the goal of providing victims quick and effective relief.

Violations and Enforcement

  • A defendant arrested for violating a protection order must appear in person before a magistrate within one judicial day after the arrest.
  • The required components of protection orders that disqualify a person from possessing firearms is revised to provide that the protection must contain either, rather than both, of the following: (a) a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the protected person or child; or (b) an explicit prohibition on the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the protected person or child.

HB 1593 Expanding the landlord mitigation program to alleviate the financial burden on victims attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking

Passed legislature, expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, all provisions of this bill take effect on or before July 1, 2022.

Expands the Landlord Mitigation Program to allow landlords' claims for damages to residential rental property when a tenant-victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking terminates the tenancy and certain other conditions are met.

This expansion can improve safety by reducing barriers for survivors when exercising their right to terminate a lease early without repercussions. The operating budget includes $2 million for claims made pursuant to this bill.

HB 1622 Increasing the availability of sexual assault nurse examiner education in rural and underserved areas

Passed legislature; Governor signed; effective June 8, 2022

This bill directs the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing to establish a SANE training program and they must submit annual reports to the Legislature on the use and impact of the online and clinical training. Also, the WSU College of Nursing must develop and train lead SANEs and assist in the development of support mechanisms and role requirements for regional lead SANEs.

HB 1725 Concerning the creation of an endangered missing person advisory designation for missing indigenous persons

Passed legislature; expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, will be effective June 8, 2022.

This bill requires the Washington State Patrol to establish a Missing Indigenous Women and Persons alert designation as part of its Endangered Missing Person Advisory plan.

SB 5814 Providing funding for medical evaluations of suspected victims of child abuse

Passed legislature; Governor signed; effective June 8, 2022

A suspected victim of assault of a child is not required to pay for any costs incurred by a public or private hospital, or any other facility providing medical diagnosis, treatment or care, for the examination of the assault.

ESHB 1956 Public disclosure

Passed legislature, expected to be signed by the Governor and, if so, will be effective June 8, 2022.

Exempts from public disclosure certain records relating to incarcerated individuals maintained by the Department of Corrections including body scanner images, certain records maintained pursuant to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and certain health information.

Federal Legislative Updates

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization

Passed by U.S. House in March 2021 / Passed by U. S. Senate in February 2022 / Signed by President Biden on Mar 16, 2022.

In addition to strong provisions to ensure survivors’ access to healing services and programs to prevent sexual violence, the bill increases the funding for the Sexual Assault Services Program, Rape Prevention and Education Program, and Culturally Specific Services Program. Among many important and lifesaving advancements, this legislation:

  • Significantly increases the authorization of several VAWA programs including the Sexual Assault Services Program, Rape Prevention & Education Program, Rural Program, Culturally Specific Services Program, and the Campus Grants Program.
  • Reaffirms the sovereignty of tribes to hold non-Indian offenders of sexual violence accountable on tribal lands.
  • Expands the availability of sexual assault forensic examinations for survivors of sexual assault some of whom currently must drive hours to reach the nearest services. Addresses campus sexual assault including requiring climate survey.
  • Allows for direct payments to survivors for their emergency needs through the Sexual Assault Services Program.
  • Invests in restorative practices for survivors looking for additional pathways for accountability.