Hearing set for Wilson bill that might have prevented mother’s tragic death

Legislation now named for Tiffany Hill, killed by estranged husband despite protection order

OLYMPIA… Sen. Lynda Wilson hopes 2020 will finally bring the passage of her bill to allow the use of real-time victim-notification technology, a tool that might have saved the life of a Clark County mother of three who was slain by her estranged husband in November. Senate Bill 5149 will receive a public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday before Wilson and her colleagues on the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

“This bill is the answer to a simple question: if you had a protection order against someone for domestic violence or sexual assault or stalking, would you want the ability to get a text alert if that person gets closer than is allowed? I can’t think of any victim who would turn that down,” said Wilson, “or of any legislator who would keep this bipartisan bill from becoming law after hearing the story of Tiffany Hill.”

Hill, a 35-year-old former Marine Corps sergeant, was in a car with her three children and her mother, parked at their elementary school in Hazel Dell on Nov. 26, when her estranged husband showed up – in violation of a restraining order Hill had obtained in September – and fatally shot her. He fled and later died of a self-inflicted gunshot after a police pursuit.

Wilson has renamed SB 5149 in Hill’s honor.

“The more I’ve learned about this case from talking to law enforcement and to people who knew Tiffany, the more I believe she would be alive today if this law had already been in place,” said Wilson, R-Vancouver, who had introduced the bill in 2018 and again this past year. “For the sake of the thousands of people who obtain protection orders each year in our state, state law needs to make this technology available – now.”

SB 5149 would change Washington law to allow for Electronic Monitoring with Victim Notification Technology (EMVNT); require state government’s judicial branch to reach out to counties regarding EMVNT; and make information about EMVNT available to persons seeking a protection order related to domestic violence or stalking or sexual assault.

In most cases, Wilson said, the respondent to a protection order would be required to pay the costs of EMVNT. If the respondent is unable, the cost would be paid by the state through money made available at the county level.

The measure was passed by the Senate in 2018 but stalled in the House of Representatives; in 2019 it didn’t clear the Senate budget committee.