New laws protect Washingtonians

Protecting the most vulnerable in our community was the theme of legislation I sponsored and passed during this session. Below are my bills that Governor Inslee signed into law Friday afternoon.

  • A Maternal Mortality Review Commission is created as pregnancy-related deaths have been on the rise nationally during the past 30 years from a rate of 7.2 per 100,000 live births in 1987, to 15.9 in 2012. The expert panel will review the current state of pregnancy health in order to make recommendations and develop best practices. This strategy has helped reduce pregnancy-related deaths in other states.
  • Home visits and oversight will increase for people with developmental disabilities at the highest risk of neglect and abuse. We also create a new watchdog to investigate and recommend changes to improve care and safety.
  • A review board that determines whether to release or keep prisoners serving long terms in custody will now be required to notify and provide information to the court, prosecuting attorney and most importantly the victim or surviving family member. Victims deserve to know the status of hearings and have an opportunity to be heard before a prisoner who harmed them is released.
  • In order to make a quick buck, dishonest people knowingly install faulty or counterfeit airbags that will not inflate in the event of an accident. The spread of this crime leaves families in grave danger. My bill makes it a class C felony to knowingly sell or install these counterfeit, nonfunctional airbags.
  • A task force is convened to determine how to make consolidated, affordable payment plans to pay traffic fines an option for Washington residents. The goal is to reduce the number of Washingtonians with suspended licenses and lower court costs. It benefits no one when drivers lose their license just because they can’t pay their fines. This bill is a common-sense approach to fixing an administrative problem that will ease the burden on courts, and keep drivers on the road as long as they’re making progress on their obligations.