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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2009
Attorney General’s community safety, consumer protection and open government bills scheduled for public hearings next week

OLYMPIA— A number of Attorney General Rob McKenna’s legislative priorities have survived the March 12 deadline to move out of the legislative house of origin and are scheduled for public hearings next week.

Community Safety – Digital Forensic Crime Lab

Based on the recommendations of his Youth Internet Safety Task Force, the Attorney General’s Office requested legislation to study the feasibility of developing a digital forensics lab to be housed at the State Patrol. Senate Bill 5184 is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, March 17, in the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room E.

Community Safety – Sexually Violent Predators

The Attorney General’s Office requested two bills to improve the state’s ability to commit sexually violent predators.

Senate Bill 5718 modifies the law to streamline the state’s ability to civilly commit dangerous offenders by, among other provisions, clarifying where civil commitment proceedings may be filed, especially in cases where the sexually violent offense occurred outside of Washington. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday, March 18, in the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room E.

House Bill 1221 authorizes mental health counseling using crime victims' compensation funds for witnesses in civil commitment proceedings. A public hearing was held today in the Senate Committee on Human Services and Corrections.

Consumer Protection –Tobacco Internet Sales

Responding to recent increases in tobacco sales to minors, the Attorney General’s Office requested legislation banning the sale of cigarettes through the Internet, correcting a loophole in Washington’s laws regarding age verification, taxation, public health goals and certification. SB 5340 is scheduled for a public hearing Tuesday, March 17, in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room A.

Consumer Protection – Mortgage Law Fix

A bipartisan coalition of legislators, the state Department of Financial Institutions, and representatives of the real estate community worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office to see that real estate agents — who work with homeowners selling properties at risk of foreclosure — will be exempted from the law targeting equity skimming and foreclosure rescue scams. HB 1132 updates last year’s foreclosure rescue law to make sure that any homeowner who wants to sell their home rather than face foreclosure is able to find a real estate agent. The bill is scheduled for a public hearing Monday, March 16, in the Senate Committee on Labor and Commerce and Consumer Protection. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in the Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 4.

Consumer Protection – Lemon Law

The Attorney General’s Office requested legislation to meet changing consumer expectations, longer and more extensive warranties and other changes in the automotive industry. HB 1215 is scheduled for a public hearing Monday, March 16, in the Senate Committee on Labor and Commerce and Consumer Protection. The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in the Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 4.

Open Government– Improving Public Access to Records by Reducing Abusive Prisoner Requests

The Attorney General’s Office requested legislation to allow respondents to request an injunction if a records request by an inmate is proven to be intended to harass or cause harm to a person or vital government function. SB 5130 is scheduled for apublic hearing Tuesday, March 17, in the House Committee on State Government and Tribal Affairs. The hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. in the John L. O’Brien Building House Hearing Room D.

For more information, see our Legislative Page athttp://atg.wa.gov/2009Legislation.aspx.

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Contacts:

Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725, janelleg@atg.wa.gov

Kristin Alexander, AGO Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

 

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