Tiffany Hill Act flies through House committee

OLYMPIA… Today the Tiffany Hill Act continued its move through the state Legislature with a committee endorsement so quick that it caught the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lynda Wilson, off guard. With exactly three weeks left in the 2020 legislative session, the next stop for Senate Bill 5149 is the House Rules Committee, which selects legislation for the House of Representatives’ voting calendar.

This morning the House Public Safety Committee had a public hearing on the Tiffany Hill Act, named for the 35-year-old mother of three who was murdered by her estranged husband Nov. 26 in the parking lot of their children’s school in Vancouver. Passed unanimously by the Senate on Jan. 31, the bill would promote the real-time electronic notification of victims of domestic violence and similar crimes when their abuser or attacker is nearby. Wilson and others familiar with the tragic case are convinced Tiffany could have protected herself and would still be alive if she’d had access to the technology, which can transmit an alert to a mobile phone.

Those testifying in support of SB 5149 included three of Tiffany’s friends and two criminal-justice officials from Clark County who had worked on the domestic-violence case against her husband. Then, said Wilson, R-Vancouver, “the most unexpected and wonderful thing” happened after the hearing concluded and before the committee continued to other legislation on its agenda.

“Representative Roger Goodman, the Kirkland Democrat who is the committee chair, called a timeout so the members could have a quick huddle, and after that – right then and there – he called a vote and passed the bill forward from his committee! I knew he supports the bill but wow… I’ve never seen such immediate action on a bill, and others who have been here longer than me hadn’t either. When we all realized what had just happened, there wasn’t a dry eye among us!”

This is Wilson’s third attempt to get her bill through the lawmaking process, and she says Tiffany Hill’s story immediately makes the benefits of the legislation clear.

“This bill needs to become law this year so it can start to help victims of domestic violence or sexual assault or stalking, in a way that no restraining order written on paper can do. I hope the House puts the Tiffany Hill Act on the fast track so we can get it to the governor in plenty of time!”

Pictured L-R: Detective Tanya Wollstein, Rene Sundby, Sen. Lynda Wilson, Karina Knight, Wendi Rochester, and Prosecutor Lauren Boyd.