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What you should know: New laws that go into effect on July 23

OLYMPIA, Wash., July 23, 2023—Bills signed into law take effect 90 days after the end of the session in which they were passed. From a controversial parental rights exemption to an anti-hazing law to promoting water safety, below are some new laws going into effect as of July 23, 2023.

SB-5599: Supporting youth and young adults seeking protected health care services

Probably one of the most controversial bills passed by the state legislature in years, starting July 23, parents of minors under the age of 18 will no longer be notified of the whereabouts of their child by a licensed youth shelter or homeless youth program if that child is seeking gender-affirming treatment and/or reproductive health care services.

According to the bill report, gender affirming treatment includes, but is not limited to, treatment for gender dysphoria.

The law will also require the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to notify a parent by telephone or other reasonable means unless compelling reasons exist within 72 hours, preferably within 24 hours. The bill identifies gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services as compelling reasons.

Referendum 101, sponsored by Dawn Land, a Puyallup mom, sought to remove the exemption of shelters, organizations, and programs from parental notification requirements for minors seeking gender-affirming treatment and/or reproductive health care services. According to Reject 5599 PAC, the group leading the opposition to SB-5599, they failed to collect the 200,000 signatures needed for R-101 to be in the November ballot.

“I also have great news… Today was the deadline to submit signatures to try to overturn that [SB-5599] and our early reports are that they have failed, this law will take effect! The kids around Washington will be safer and will have emergency shelter options when they need it,” Senator Marko Liias (D-Mukilteo), the primary sponsor for SB-5599, shared at the Arlington Pride Festival on July 22.

The Conservative Ladies of Washington will be hosting a Twitter Space forum regarding next steps in opposing the law in what they consider the fight for “parental rights” in Washington state. The online forum will be July 26 at 7 p.m.

HB-1750: Promoting water safety education

A bill introduced by Representative April Berg (D-Lake Stevens) and unanimously passed in both houses of the legislature, recognizes May 15 as Water Safety Day. Individuals who work directly with children from infants to age 18 in their profession are encouraged to provide training, educational materials, and other resources to the children and their families regarding water safety, water rescue, and drowning prevention.

This is also known as “Yori’s law,” in memory of those lost to drowning.

SB-5072: Advancing equity in programs for highly capable students

The highly capable program, a component of the Washington state’s program of basic education, provides access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction for students identified as highly capable. Each school district must select a grade level to implement universal screening procedures. The screening must occur during or before the second grade and again during or before the sixth grade. 

Currently, students can be referred to the program by their teachers or a parent through a referral form, but many families aren’t aware of the program and lawmakers say they worry some students might not receive the attention they need. 

This bill sponsored by T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest) and Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro-Woolley) will now require districts to screen all students during the school day for participation in a “Highly Capable Program (HCP).

HB 1020: Designating the Suciasaurus rex as the official dinosaur of the state of Washington

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law on May 4, that went into effect July 23, the “Suciasaurus rex” as the official dinosaur of Washington state joining Washington, D.C., and other 14 states that have designated state dinosaur laws.

House Bill 1020, introduced by Representatives Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland) with co-sponsors Lisa Callan (D-Issaquah) and Cindy Ryu (D-Lynnwood) establishes a fossil nicknamed “Suciasaurus rex” as Washington state’s official dinosaur.

SB-5028: Revising the process for individuals to request name changes

The bill revised the process of changing names to protect transgender people, people escaping violence and juveniles under guardianship from others wishing to harm them. The name change petition may be filed in any superior court in the state of Washington.

A superior court that grants a name change shall seal the name change file. Name change files may not be open to inspection except upon order of the court for good cause shown, or upon request of the person whose name was changed or by the person’s guardian or representative.

HB 1002: Increasing the penalty for hazing

Washington State becomes the 15th state in the Union to make hazing a felony after years of advocacy by the mother of Sam Martinez, a freshman at Washington State University, was found dead from alcohol poisoning at his fraternity house just weeks into the 2019 school year. He was the victim of a hazing tradition at his fraternity.

Introduced by Representative Mari Leavitt, D-Pierce County, hazing is now reclassified from a misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor and hazing that causes substantial bodily harm is reclassified as a class C felony. “Substantial bodily harm” includes bodily injury that: involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement; causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any body part or organ; or causes a fracture of any body part.

Any student organization, association, or student living group that permits hazing is strictly liable for damages caused to persons or property resulting from hazing, and if the student organization, association, or student living group is a for profit or nonprofit corporation, the individual directors of that corporation may be held individually liable for damages.

HB-1110: Increasing middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing

To address housing shortage in Washington state, HB-1110 will now require Cities with populations between 25,000 and 75,000 to allow duplexes on all lots; and for populations above 75,000, fourplexes. A fully planning city with a population less than 25,000, within a contiguous UGA with the largest city in a county with a population of more than 275,000, must include authorization for the development of at least two units per lot.

SB 5583: Improving young driver safety

The Department of Licensing must develop a comprehensive implementation plan for the expansion of the current driver training education requirement to obtain a driver’s license for persons between the ages of 18 and 24. The target date for implementation of the new driver training education expansion is July 1, 2026.

Those ages 18 to 22 must complete a full driver training education course before receiving a license by January of 2025, and those ages 22 to 25 must complete a condensed traffic safety education course or a self-paced, online course prior to receiving a license by January of 2025.

HB 1696: Concerning stalking-related offenses

Representative Lauren Davis-sponsored bill HB 1696, concerning stalking-related offenses, now becomes law. HB-1696 also revises stalking to include people who knowingly install an electronic device without a person’s consent, repealing the existing the cyberstalking law (9A.90.130). In addition, a person commits the crime of Stalking if, without lawful authority, the person commits any of the following acts and the victim suffers substantial emotional distress or is placed in fear of injury to person or property:

  • intentionally and repeatedly harasses the victim;
  • intentionally and repeatedly follows the victim;
  • intentionally attempts to or does contact, follow, track, or monitor the victim after being given actual notice that the victim does not want to be contacted, followed, tracked, or monitored.

SB-5355: Mandating instruction on sex trafficking prevention and identification for students in grades seven through 12

Beginning no later than the 2025-26 school year, school districts, charter schools, and state-tribal education compact schools must offer instruction in sex trafficking awareness and prevention. The instruction may be offered beginning in grade seven, but each student must be offered the instruction at least once before completing grade 12.

HB 1177: Creating a missing and murdered indigenous women and people cold case investigations unit

The bill creates the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People Cold Case Investigations Assistance Unit (Unit) within the Office of the Attorney General (AGO), for the purpose of assisting federal, municipal, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies with solving cold cases involving missing and murdered Indigenous women and people.

The Unit may proactively offer assistance to a law enforcement agency but may not investigate or assist with an investigation except at the request of the agency.

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