Stalking bill passes both chambers

By | March 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

Victims of stalkers may may soon have a new law to protect them, with the approval of bills in both the Senate and the House that would create a new kind of civil protection order for stalking.

Jennifer Paulson

The legislation comes in response to the murder of Jennifer Paulson in 2010. Paulson was an elementary school teacher in Tacoma who was killed by a former co-worker who had stalked her for seven years.

“If we had had further protection for someone like Jennifer through the court system, we could have prevented her death,” said sponsor Rep. Roger Goodman (D – Kirkland) during a floor session in the House on Monday.

Goodman’s bill expands the behaviors that qualify as felony stalking and increases criminal penalties for the crime.

The law currently allows people to get no-contact orders or protection orders for domestic violence or harassment. Both of the new bills would create another type of protection order specifically for cases of stalking.

“It is obvious that we need more protection for those who are stalked,” said Sen. Steve Conway (D – Tacoma) as he introduced a similar bill on the Senate floor on Tuesday.

Conway’s bill doesn’t go quite as far in increasing penalties for stalking as Goodman’s, but it too would create a new anti-stalking protection order.

Both bills received unanimous approval in their respective chambers.

House committee passes several firearm bills

By | February 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Facing a Friday deadline for committee votes on bills dealing with policy matters, members of the House Judiciary Committee passed several gun control measures this week.

Gun control promises to remain a top issue for lawmakers throughout the 105-day session in the wake of the deadly shootings in Connecticut and Colorado.

Here are the three bill the committee passed on Thursday:

  • House Bill 1612, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hope (R-Lake Stevens), requiring all firearm offenders to register with the sheriff of the county they live in and for Washington State Patrol to maintain a central registry of firearm offenders, passed 12-to-1.
  • House Bill 1839, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) would waive background checks required for the purchase of a firearm for currently employed police officers and for people who can provide an up-to-date concealed weapons license. The bill passed unanimously.
  • House Bill 1840, also sponsored by Rep. Goodman, would force people who have been served with restraining order for domestic violence to surrender their guns while the order is in place. The bill passed 10-3.

Earlier this week the committee narrowly passed House Bill1588, which would require anyone selling a firearm to another person to have local law enforcement or a licensed gun dealer conduct a background check. The controversial measure passed on a 7-to-6 vote. The bill has the support of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs while the National Rifle Association opposes it.

All four bills will now head to the House Rules Committee for approval before they head to the floor.