Monthly Archives: May 2019

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    Governor signs bill extending notice for eviction, expanding tenant protections

Governor signs bill extending notice for eviction, expanding tenant protections

May 9th, 2019|

Gov. Inslee today signed legislation extending the requirement for pay-or-evict notices in Washington state to 14 days in an effort to pre-empt the cycle of homelessness before it begins.

Sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), Senate Bill 5600 brings Washington state into the national norm for eviction notices. Until now, Washington required only three days’ notice to tenants before an eviction, compared to 26 states and the District of Columbia that have longer notice periods. 

“For people living paycheck to paycheck, now over half of Americans, extending the notice period can mean the difference between staying in their home or being out on the street,” said Kuderer. “But it’s not only help we should provide. For those facing hardships, we should offer resources, flexibility, and compassion along the way.”

SB 5600 would also make uniform eviction notices available to landlords written in plain language, including information on civil legal aid resources available to tenants and where to find translated copies of notices.

“Times have changed since the Residential Landlord Tenant Act was first enacted decades ago,” said Kuderer.  “Now, too many people are one unexpected medical bill, car accident, or family illness away from eviction. These reforms will make the lives of working Washingtonians more secure.”

Additional reforms to the eviction process in the bill include the use of judicial discretion in nonpayment of rent cases, requiring consideration of factors beyond the tenants’ control. In certain cases, landlords will be able to access the Department of Commerce’s mitigation fund for reimbursement of any shortfall in rent. 

“This legislation is a product of hard-earned compromise by a broad coalition of tenants’ rights advocates, private property managers, housing authorities, renters, legislators and the courts,” said Kuderer. “I especially want to thank my partner in the House, Rep. Nicole Macri, for her continued work as a steadfast advocate for people experiencing homelessness and ensuring we keep hardworking families in their homes.”

SB 5600 was passed by the House on a vote of 51-46 and by the Senate by a count of 30-18.

Governor signs legislation to reduce suicide by firearms

May 7th, 2019|

Legislation suspending access to firearms for those who have been detained under Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) was signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5181, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would prohibit someone detained for 72 hours on the basis they present a likelihood of serious harm to themselves or others from possessing a firearm for six months.

“It’s clear that access to firearms makes it easier to act on suicidal thoughts in a single moment of desperation,” said Kuderer. “There are very few ‘do-overs’ when a gun is used, and this is a reasonable safety measure for the individual in crisis and for others in our communities.”

In 2017 alone, 1,292 Washingtonians took their own lives. Almost half of those deaths were with a firearm. Recent studies in Florida reveal that of people who both legally owned and used a gun in instances of suicide, 75 percent had records of a 72-hour involuntary hold. Additionally, 33 percent of individuals arrested for a violent gun crime also had records of involuntary holds. 

“If someone is involuntarily committed during a time of crisis while exhibiting signs of violence toward their family, the public or themselves, it is in the interest of all parties to take lethal weapons out of the equation,” said Kuderer. “Today we have made real progress that will spare individuals and those they love the tragedy of a life lost too soon.”

SB 5181 makes necessary changes to our current laws by increasing the window of time for people to receive mental health treatment and support from friends and family, and gives family members time to consider or file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order.

Individuals who have been placed on a 72-hour ITA may petition at any time to have their firearms returned before the temporary restriction ends. Otherwise, at the end of six months, weapons are returned automatically.

The Senate approved SB 5181 with a vote of 26-19. It passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 55-40.