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Governor Gregoire Signs Legislation to Protect Children and Support Families

For Immediate Release: May 11, 2007

Governor also signs bill to ban text messaging while driving

OLYMPIA – Governor Chris Gregoire today signed into law several measures that will help keep children in foster care safe and will support families

“The safety and well-being of our children is one of my top priorities. Soon after I graduated from college, I worked as a caseworker and I was touched every day by the stories of children who can thrive with support from the state,” said Governor Gregoire. “These bills will help keep these children in foster care safe.”

The bills signed today by Governor Gregoire will:

  • Ensure parents in child welfare cases are given priority to receive services necessary to provide a safe home for their children;
  • Place more children with extended family or other individuals that the child has a pre-existing relationship with if it is in the best interests of the child;
  • Conduct background checks on all adults in a home and assess all potential caregivers’ need for services prior to placing a child in a home;
  • Enhance the ability of the courts to provide oversight of child welfare cases by outlining minimum criteria for court hearings and by ensuring courts are provided with copies of documents in dependency proceedings;
  • Give foster parents greater opportunity to share their insights and experience by giving them a right to be heard in dependency proceedings and regular meetings with child welfare agency managers; and
  • Give parents more information about child care providers.

Governor Gregoire recently signed into law several measures that will improve opportunities for young people who have been in foster care. The bills create the “Passport to College” program for former foster youth, extend health care coverage until the age of 21 and provide housing stipends to low-income young adults who have been in foster care.

Bill Action Today

  • SHB 1287 - Relating to compliance with the federal safe and timely interstate placement of foster children.
  • SHB 1333 - Relating to child welfare.
  • 2SHB 1334 - Relating to documentation in child welfare proceedings.
  • HB 1377 - Relating to the placement of children.
  • ESHB 1624 - Relating to child welfare.
  • ESSB 5317 - Relating to child care safety.

Governor Gregoire Signs Legislation to Ban Text Messaging While Driving

Governor Chris Gregoire today signed into law a measure that will make Washington roads safer by banning text messaging while driving.

“This is a common sense measure that will limit distractions to drivers and help keep Washingtonians safer on the road,” said Governor Gregoire. “Just as you do not want other drivers on the road to be reading a newspaper or book while driving, you don’t want them to be distracted by an email or a text message, taking their eyes off the road.”

Engrossed House Bill 1214, sponsored by Rep. Joyce McDonald (R-Puyallup), passed the House with 90 votes and passed the Senate with 32 votes. The bill takes effect January 1, 2008.

Governor Gregoire also signed into law a measure that bans the use of cell phones while driving unless the driver is using a hands-free device. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5037, sponsored by Sen. Tracey Eide (D-Federal Way), passed the Senate with 33 votes and passed the House with 59 votes. The bill takes effect July 1, 2008.

Additional Bill Action

Governor Gregoire today signed the following bills into law:

  • EHB 1217 - Relating to clubhouse rehabilitation services.
  • SHB 1259 - Relating to park passes.
  • SHB 1267 - Relating to commercial driver's license requirements.
  • SHB 1304 - Relating to commercial motor vehicle carriers.
  • HB 1343 - Relating to examination requirements for a certificate of ownership.
  • E2SHB 1359 - Relating to providing affordable housing for all.
  • 2SHB 1401 - Relating to land acquisition for affordable housing development.
  • 2SHB 1461 - Addressing manufactured/mobile home community registrations and dispute resolution.
  • HB 1476 - Relating to charter licenses.
  • SHB 1694 - Relating to the agency council on coordinated transportation.
  • SHB 1761 - Relating to expediting the cleanup of hazardous waste and creating incentives for Puget Sound cleanups.
  • SHB 1805 - Relating to increasing the homestead exemption amount.
  • 2SHB 1811 - Relating to the installation of automatic sprinkler systems in nightclubs.
  • SHB 1843 - Relating to the regulation of construction contractors.
  • 2SHB 1891 - Relating to business and occupation tax deductions for drugs dispensed pursuant to prescription.
  • EHB 1898 - Relating to apprenticeship utilization requirements on school district public works projects.
  • E2SHB 1910 - Relating to tax incentives for certain multiple-unit dwellings in urban centers that provide affordable housing.
  • SHB 1965 - Relating to authorizing major industrial development within industrial land banks.
  • ESHB 1968 - Relating to sprinkler fitters.
  • HB 2079 - Relating to use of agency shop fees.
  • SHB 2118 - Transferring responsibilities related to mobile and manufactured home installation from the department of community, trade, and economic development to the department of labor and industries.
  • HB 2135 - Relating to expanding lemon law coverage to out-of-state consumers.
  • SHB 2209 - Relating to allowing advanced registered nurse practitioners to examine and obtain copies of autopsy reports and records.
  • SHB 2304 - Relating to criteria for the issuance of a certificate of need for certain cardiac care services.
  • SSB 5009 - Relating to exempting biodiesel fuel used for farm use from sales and use taxation.
  • ESSB 5037 - Relating to the use of a wireless communications device while operating a moving vehicle.
  • SSB 5050 - Relating to mileage tolling of nonconforming vehicles.
  • SB 5084 - Relating to rail transit safety plans.
  • SB 5088 - Relating to vehicles boarding ferries.
  • SSB 5224 - Relating to the salmon recovery office.
  • SSB 5937 - Relating to the creation and distribution of funds for additional patrols along high-accident corridors.
  • E2SSB 6117 - Relating to reclaimed water.