2018 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Debbie Smith Act - The Debbie Smith Act intends to eliminate the backlog of untested and unanalyzed DNA evidence by providing the resources to process evidence and add these samples to the national DNA database.
Clery Act - The Clery Act requires greater transparency and timely warnings from colleges and universities about crimes that are committed on campus, including crimes of sexual violence.
Campus SaVE Act - Campus SaVE amends the Clery Act to increase transparency requirements for colleges, guarantee rights for survivors, establish disciplinary proceedings, and require education programs.
SAFER Act - The SAFER Act supports efforts to audit, test, and reduce the backlog of DNA evidence in sexual assault cases and bring perpetrators to justice.
Title IX - Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by educational institutions that receive federal funding.
Victims of Crime Act - VOCA helps victims deal with the tangible costs of surviving a crime, such as medical bills, counseling services, and lost wages.
Federal and State Courts Address Sexual Violence - RAINN keeps an eye on court cases that may impact how the legal system prosecutes perpetrators, supports victims, and prevents sexual violence.
Improving Employment Protections for Survivors
This bill makes it clear that Washington workers cannot be fired, denied employment, or subjected to other forms of employment discrimination because they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. It also requires employers to grant requests for reasonable safety accommodations requested by survivors, as long as such accommodations are not an undue hardship on the employer.
Background: To get safe and stay safe, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking must be able to financially support themselves and their families. Despite laws that guarantee survivors reasonable unpaid leave and the right to earn paid safe time to help them get themselves and their families to safety, we continue to hear from survivors who have been fired from their jobs or are suffering other negative consequences at work when their employers learn that they are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Update: The House passed HB 2661 (unanimous vote!) on February 7th, and the Senate passed it (44–5 vote) on February 28th. Governor Inslee signed HB 2661 into law on March 13, 2018.
Bill info: HB 2661
Release: State House passes bill protecting domestic violence survivors from discrimination, Rep. Beth Doglio, 2/7/18
Legislature Considers Domestic Violence Survivor Workplace Protections, Seattle Weekly, 2/21/18
2018 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Strengthening the Uniform Parentage Act
This legislation updates Washington’s Uniform Parentage Act to strengthen protections for LGBTQ parents and non-biological parents, while maintaining protections Legal Voice advocated for last year for rape survivors. The bill also creates a regulated system that allows compensated surrogacy while protecting the health, financial wellbeing, and autonomy of the women acting as surrogates.
Background: Washington’s version of the Uniform Parentage Act, the law that addresses how people are recognized as legal parents, needed to be updated to address the multiple ways that people form families today. The bill ensures that all parents—including LGBTQ parents and rape survivors—are assured equal recognition and legal protection.
Update: The Senate passed SB 6037 (27–21 vote) on February 7th, and the House passed it (50–47 vote) on February 27th. Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on March 6th! Click here to read more about what this important bill will do.
Bill info: SB 6037
New protections for LBGTQ parents in Washington!, Legal Voice's Speaking of Women's Rights blog, 3/17/18
Washington's Uniform Parentage Act Signed Into Law, The Seattle Lesbian, 3/12/18
2018 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Improving the Rights of Sexual Assault Survivors
✓ = bills that are still active this session
X = bills that will not advance this session
Legislators pursued a number of bills to improve the rights of sexual assault survivors in Washington. These bills aimed to eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes, reform the law around third degree rape, and bolster efforts to end the backlog of untested rape kits in Washington.
X Eliminating Statutes of Limitations for Sex Crimes: This legislation would have eliminated the statute of limitations for prosecuting most felony sex offenses in Washington. Bill info: HB 1155
X Reforming Washington's Third Degree Rape Law: This legislation would have eliminated a requirement that the victim’s nonconsent must be “clearly expressed by the victim’s words or conduct” Bill info: HB 2465
X Supporting Survivors and Bolstering Efforts to End the Backlog of Untested Rape Kits: Among other things, this bill would have reauthorized the SAFE Task Force that researches and recommends survivor-focused procedures and practices; required law enforcement agencies to request testing of all backlogged kits (with limited, survivor-centered exceptions); and created a number of rights for survivors, including the right to receive forensic exams at no cost, to be informed of when the test will be completed and the results, and to receive notice prior to destruction of a rape kit. We were concerned, as in years past, that the bill as introduced proposed to impose a $4 fee on patrons of sexually oriented live adult entertainment facilities to help fund rape kit testing and tracking. Our opposition to this method of funding is based on concerns expressed by women who work in such facilities that the "patron fee" will simply be passed on to them by the operators of the businesses. Bill info: HB 2353
Update: The House passed HB 2465 (unanimous vote!) on February 8th; the Senate Law & Justice Committee passed it on February 20th, but it did not receive a vote by the full Senate before the March 2nd cutoff and did not progress this session. The House passed HB 1155 (90–8 vote) on February 8th; the Senate Law & Justice Committee passed it on February 22nd, but it did not receive a vote by the full Senate before the March 2nd cutoff and did not progress this session. HB 2353 passed out of the House Public Safety Committee on January 25th, but did not receive a vote by the full House before the February 14th cutoff and did not progress this session.
No Longer Silent: Sexual Assault Survivors Push Legislative Change, Seattle Weekly, 3/9/18
On July 10th, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in a criminal case that Michigan's rape-shield law, MCL 750.520j, properly prevented defendant from offering prior sexual acts of a minor to show the source of the victim's alleged disease and to show the victim's age-inappropriate sexual knowledge
THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931
750.520j Evidence of victim's sexual conduct.
(1) Evidence of specific instances of the victim's sexual conduct, opinion evidence of the victim's sexual conduct, and reputation evidence of the victim's sexual conduct shall not be admitted under sections 520b to 520g unless and only to the extent that the judge finds that the following proposed evidence is material to a fact at issue in the case and that its inflammatory or prejudicial nature does not outweigh its probative value:
(a) Evidence of the victim's past sexual conduct with the actor.
(b) Evidence of specific instances of sexual activity showing the source or origin of semen,pregnancy, or disease.
(2) If the defendant proposes to offer evidence described in subsection (1)(a) or (b), the defendant within 10 days after the arraignment on the information shall file a written motion and offer of proof. The court may order an in camera hearing to determine whether the proposed evidence is admissible under subsection (1). If new information is discovered during the course of the trial that may make the evidence described in subsection (1)(a) or (b) admissible, the judge may order an in camera hearing to determine whether the proposed evidence is admissible under subsection (1).
History: Add. 1974, Act 266, Eff. Apr. 1, 1975 k
Constitutionality: This section, the rape-shield law, is not unconstitutional. People v Arenda, 416 Mich 1; 330 NW2nd 814 (1982).In Michigan v Lucas, 500 US 145; 111 S Ct 1743; 114 L Ed2d 205 (1991), the United States Supreme Court held that the Michigan Court of Appeals had erred in adopting a “per se rule” that the notice-and-hearing requirement of Michigan's rape-shield law violated the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution in all cases where it was used to preclude evidence of past sexual conduct between a rape victim and a defendant (see People v Lucas, 160 Mich App 692; 408 NW2d 431 (1987)). The Court found that the statute “serves legitimate state interests in protecting against surprise, harassment, and undue delay. Failure to comply with this requirement may ... justify even the severe sanction of preclusion.”
Compiler's Notes: Section 2 of Act 266 of 1974 provides:“Saving clause.“All proceedings pending and all rights and liabilities existing, acquired, or incurred at the time this amendatory act takes effect are saved and may be consummated according to the law in force when they are commenced. This amendatory act shall not be construed to affect any prosecution pending or begun before the effective date of this amendatory act.”
© 2017 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
Michigan Compiled Laws Complete Through PA 348 of 2018
© 2018 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
States with Laws Passed
Below is a list of the states that have laws in place dealing with rape conception/custody
15. New Hampshire
16. New Jersey
17. North Carolina
20. South Dakota