Legislature completes work on Wilson bill to support domestic-violence victims

OLYMPIA…Sen. Lynda Wilson’s legislation to help domestic-violence victims is on its way to the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 5213, which won unanimous support in the Senate in early February, sailed through the House of Representatives Wednesday.

Her bill allows a court to award certain fees to limited license legal technicians, whose services are limited in Washington to family-law matters, with an emphasis on assisting with domestic-violence protection orders.

“These Supreme Court-licensed legal technicians represent a relatively new field within the practice of law in our state, and their services can be less costly – which can make all the difference to a domestic-violence victim who simply needs help with a protection order,” said Wilson, R-Vancouver.

“When I spoke with an LLLT who had run into trouble receiving fair compensation for services rendered, I realized a change was needed if our state is to keep this affordable legal support option available to serve more domestic-violence victims. A court can order the respondent in a civil matter to pay attorney’s fees, and my bill allows the same for the fees incurred by an LLLT.”

Wilson is pleased that SB 5213 is on course to become part of state law but disappointed that another of her bills in support of domestic-violence victims has stalled. Senate Bill 6292 would allow domestic-violence victims to receive real-time notification when their perpetrators are nearby so they have time to leave or prepare for a possible confrontation. It also passed unanimously in the Senate early last month, only to be sidelined by the House budget committee last week.

“The technology exists to notify victims in real time when the assailant gets close. Every minute counts in what could easily be a life-or-death situation. We should be updating the state’s electronic-monitoring statutes to support this approach. It’s a mystery why the Democrat majority in the Senate moved my bill forward yet the Democrat majority in the House is standing opposed,” she said.