OLYMPIA – Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking would get warnings if their abusers are near, under a law that passed the Legislature unanimously Wednesday.
The law was first introduced three years ago.
This time, the bill is named the Tiffany Hill Act for a Vancouver, Washington, mother of three shot in November by her estranged husband who repeatedly violated his restraining order. It requires the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide victims with a list of companies that have monitoring devices which can notify a victim when a person under a restraining order is near.
“Had she had the opportunity to have this technology she might be alive today,” bill sponsor Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, said of Hill.
The bill gives victims access to existing technology that can show the location of a person under a restraining order and send a notice when that person is near a restricted location.
Karina Knight remembered her friend Hill as a Marine sergeant and “a mighty force to be reckoned with” during public testimony on the bill.
Hill had filled out hundreds of forms to keep herself safe, Knight said, and talked about the domestic violence issues she faced. Hill would secretly record her abuser being violent.
“She needed proof because in the past no one believed her, she felt silenced and unheard,” Knight added.
Hill’s estranged husband was first arrested in September but he violated his restraining order 64 days in a row, until he was a arrested for a second time after the police found a GPS tracker he had put on Hill’s car, said Rene Sundby, another friend of Hill.
Hill had met with Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Lauren Boyd on Nov. 8 and took a danger assessment showing she was at “extreme risk,” said Vancouver police detective Tanya Wollstein.
Her estranged husband was released from jail Nov. 22. Four days later, he murdered Hill and wounded her mother while their children were in the backseat after being picked up from school. He later killed himself after a chase by police.
Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, said Hill did everything possible to protect herself. This tool has been used successfully in other states, and the issue is not going away anytime soon, she added.
“I wish we had done it earlier when we had the chance, but we can do it now,” Wylie said.
The House sent the bill to Gov. Jay Inslee on a 96-0 vote.
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