E-newsletter: Great News!

Tiffany Hill and Karina Knight.

Hello Friends and Neighbors,

Tiffany Hill and Karina Knight.

I want you to share some great news about SB 5149, now known as the Tiffany Hill Act. Yesterday I received word that the bill is scheduled for “executive action” – meaning a committee vote – at next Thursday morning’s meeting of our Senate Law and Justice Committee.

SB 5149 received a public hearing day before yesterday in front of Law and Justice, and I can’t say enough about the powerful testimony provided by people who came up from Clark County to tell Tiffany’s story and why the Tiffany Hill Act needs to become law this year.

Rene Sundby and Melissa Nelson, teachers at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary in Vancouver who met Tiffany through her children and became her friends, and Isaiah Knight, who with wife Karina were like family to Tiffany and her kids, described the months and weeks that preceded Tiffany’s murder at the hands of her estranged husband on Nov. 26 in the school parking lot. They shared their unshakable belief that Tiffany could have protected herself and would still be alive if the real-time electronic monitoring notification called for SB 5149 had already been available.

(L-R) Isaiah Knight, Melissa Nelson, Rene Sundby

Lauren Boyd, Clark County prosecuting attorney with the Domestic Violence (DV) Unit, and Tanya Wollstein, detective in the DV unit from the Vancouver Police Department, provided an invaluable perspective on Tiffany’s situation and how the Tiffany Hill Act could protect victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault going forward. I appreciated that James Schrimpsher, police chief in Algona (a small King County community) who also was representing the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police, related his experience with technology similar to what I want to make available statewide.

Click here for The Columbian’s report on the hearing; Portland’s KGW-TV broadcast a pair of reports, one done locally and one from sister station KING-TV in Seattle, which sent a reporter to the hearing. I’m so glad Karina Knight could join me for the KING interview and honor her best friend.

(L-R) Lauren Boyd, Tanya Wollstein, James Schrimpsher

Committee chairs usually don’t bring a bill to a vote if they don’t want that bill to move forward, so I’m optimistic about the vote on SB 5149 coming next week. Our Law and Justice Committee supported the real-time victim-notification bill in 2018 and 2019, meaning the roadblocks were farther along the lawmaking process. I’m hopeful that Tiffany’s story, which makes the importance of this bill clearer than ever, will sweep any roadblocks aside so we can get this legislation to the governor’s desk.


Updates on three other bills I’m sponsoring:

SB 6463 – This would simplify the permitting process (and help alleviate housing shortages across the state) by ending the option for local governments to require State Environmental Protection Act analysis when the same work has been done as part of a comprehensive planning process. SEPA has largely been superseded by the state’s Growth Management Act, meaning a SEPA analysis has basically become redundant. It’s set for a public hearing before the Senate’s local government committee next Thursday.

SB 6464 – Legislators serve on many committees, task forces and councils outside of our Senate committees, and some of those positions are non-voting. However, I never understood why the legislators appointed to the State Building Code Council don’t have a vote – so now that I’ve been appointed to the SBCC, I am working to change that. It’s the reason for SB 6464, which was endorsed by the Senate’s state government committee yesterday and has been referred to Local Government, where it will have a hearing next Thursday.

SB 6404 – As I’ve said before, our state’s firearm laws should focus on gun-related crimes, not law-abiding firearm owners. Consistent with that, I’ve introduced a bill to make the theft of a firearm from a residence/store/shop/sales outlet a Class B felony offense, punishable by 15 to 20 months in prison. This bill will have a public hearing Monday in our Law and Justice Committee and is already scheduled for a vote Thursday.

Yours in service,