Rep. Melanie Stambaugh’s bill to prevent abuse of vulnerable adults signed into law

A bill sponsored by Rep. Melanie Stambaugh to protect vulnerable adults from abuse was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jay Inslee. House Bill 1316 requires police officers to arrest without a warrant any person they have probable cause to believe has violated a temporary protection order regarding the abuse of vulnerable adults, such as the elderly or disabled.

Police currently have the power to arrest a person without a warrant for violating a temporary protection order in domestic abuse cases, but not in cases involving vulnerable adults.

“House Bill 1316 corrects a serious oversight in current law that has left our elderly and our disabled adult populations vulnerable to abuse,” said Stambaugh, R-Puyallup. “This bill will make an important difference for many of our most vulnerable citizens. I was glad to see it signed into law by the governor today.”

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist told The News Tribune in early March his office prosecuted 70 elder abuse cases alone in 2014. While many cases involved physical abuse, more than half involved financial fraud, such as gaining access to an elderly person’s bank account. In discussing the significance of House Bill 1316, Lindquist told the paper, “We want to be able to move quickly before the bank account is bled dry.”

Stambaugh’s bill passed the House and Senate unanimously before being signed by the governor.


Washington State House Republican Communications