Eye On Olympia

No longer skirting the issue...

Stung by public ridicule over a tit-for-tat legislative standoff, the Senate on Thursday night finally passed HB 1001, which bans photography up the skirts of unsuspecting women. The bill -- which now goes to the House for a vote -- fixes a loophole in the state's voyeurism law.
"Thank you for putting this (bill) through, because people are watching, and I personally don't want them to think of Washington as `Wow! They are very liberal. Look what you can do there.' So thank you," said Jolene Jang, who caught a man photographing up her skirt at a Seattle food festival.
The man -- a chronic voyeur -- was seized by bystanders and arrested, only to challenge his conviction due to the loophole. The Supreme Court agreed with him.
Lawmakers had rushed to defend the integrity of Washington women's skirts early in the session, launching this bill in the first days. But a standoff ensued when Senate Majority Leader Jim West decided to sit on bills sponsored by Rep. Pat Lantz, as a way to pressure her into changing her objection to capping medical malpractice damage awards. And the up-skirt bill was one of Lantz's.
"There is absolutely no linkage between the two (bills), and he knows that," Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, said last week.
West said he didn't realize at first that the voyeurism bill was caught up in the dispute.
"It never was our intent to kill this bill," he said.
To no one's surprise, it passed the Senate unanimously.
Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Veradale, had some parting words for Jang.
"I can assure you," he said, "that the vast majority of the people of the state of Washington support you over the Supreme Court."

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