Sunday, July 25, 2021

Play

Supporters of the U.S. Postal Service are pressing to affirm its commitment to six-day-a-week delivery for letters and packages, and Congress looks to tackle "forever chemicals."

Play

A bipartisan infrastructure bill could be released today; Speaker Pelosi taps another Republican for the January 6th panel; and a "Selma-style" march for voting rights heads for Austin, Texas.

WA Continues Improving Response to Sexual Assault

Play

Monday, April 26, 2021   

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Washington state lawmakers are continuing their work from past sessions supporting survivors of sexual assault.

House Bill 1109, which has been delivered to the governor's desk, contains a number of measures to improve investigations into these crimes and track the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits.

Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, said the bill requires law enforcement to provide status updates for kits, which is especially important if there is a DNA match in the FBI's tracking system.

Orwall stressed serial offenders are responsible for many assaults.

"So it's really important not only that we're testing, but we're really following up to identify some very dangerous offenders that have been in our community for some time," Orwall explained.

Reforms in sex crimes law are a bipartisan effort in the Evergreen State. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, has been Orwall's partner on the effort over the past few sessions. Orwall pointed out testing of the backlog of sexual assault kits should be complete by mid-2022.

April is Sexual Assault Prevention Month.

Orwall added the bill will also review officers' interactions with survivors. The reviews will help the state improve sexual assault training for officers.

Orwall contended the training needs tweaking. For instance, helping officers with their wording when they speak to survivors is important. She noted one charged word is "alleged."

"That is a word that's often used but also can make maybe a survivor feel like they're not believed, or they're being questioned and so it could be something as simple as a word," Orwall observed.

The bill also helps survivors navigate the legal system with help from advocates. But Orwall emphasized the state's work isn't over, and hopes to build on these reforms next session.

"I do think a next step is to apologize to survivors after all the sexual assaults have been tested, let them know that the system's been fixed and where they can get the resources they need," Orwall urged.


get more stories like this via email
While most electricity in Utah is generated by gas or coal-powered plants, one regional utility is considering the nuclear option. (brianguest/Adobe Stock)

Environment

SALT LAKE CITY -- In the push toward carbon-free energy production, some cities in Utah and nearby states are considering a new type of nuclear …


Health and Wellness

TAMPA, Fla. -- Move United's USA Wheelchair Football League is expanding from four cities to nine, including Tampa, to give athletes with …

Environment

CRAIG, Colo. -- What would it look like if one in four households in the country was solar-powered? A new report from the "30 Million Solar Homes" …


According to the American Heart Association, one in five cardiac arrests occurs in public, such as on a job site. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

DES MOINES, Iowa -- People across the Midwest, including Iowans, have dealt with a series of heat waves this summer. Health experts say hotter …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- Over 10,000 New York and New Jersey front-line airport workers will get health insurance as part of new contract negotiations that come at…

More than 400 laws have been introduced this year that would restrict voting rights across the country. (Lakshmiprasad/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

INDIANAPOLIS -- Voting-rights advocates applaud this week's federal appeals-court decision to prevent Indiana from purging some voters from the rolls …

Environment

BOSTON -- A new survey finds widespread public support up and down the East Coast for protecting right whales from getting tangled up in fishing gear…

Environment

CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill just introduced in the U.S, Senate would help thousands of species stay off the Endangered Species List - including …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021