Rep. Dahlquist receives support for measures protecting teachers, criminal justice staff

State Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw, received unanimous support for two proposals she brought before the Legislature. Both of the measures were introduced to update current public safety laws.

House Bill 1549 was brought to Dahlquist by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As passed in the House, the measure would require that schools receive a 30-day notice when a juvenile offender coming out of an adult correctional facility enrolls to attend classes in the K-12 education system.

House Bill 1206 would add criminal justice workers, including police officers, prosecutors and other correctional staff, to the list of those workers protected from harassment while they are performing their jobs. Judges and juries already have this protection.

“I was so pleased to have such strong bipartisan support for my bills. They really are common-sense updates to our laws and will better protect students, teachers and those who protect us in our communities,” Dahlquist said.

Dahlquist added that House Bill 1549 would put in place a system of notifying a school district when a student enters school after completing his or her sentence in an adult offender facility. This method is currently in statute when offenders are released from juvenile facilities. Successful learning experiences can be equally gained by both the current students and the reentering student.

“Learning is as much about the subject as it is about the classroom environment,” Dahlquist said. “House Bill 1549 simply closes a loophole in the law and ensures schools and students are set up for success. I believe it will encourage schools to take the initiative to be proactive in helping every child get the education they deserve.”

Responding to a request from local prosecutors for greater protections against harassment in the line of duty, Dahlquist introduced House Bill 1206.

“During public testimony on House Bill 1206, a brave detective from Kennewick told a chilling story of being threatened while attempting to take a man into police custody that made it all the more clear this bill is needed,” Dahlquist said. “In the normal course of doing the dangerous work of protecting us, our brave criminal justice staff should be protected from credible threats and harassment. Words are powerful and we must deal with criminals who think they can intimidate our law enforcement without any punishment.”

Both bills are now headed to the Senate for public hearings and further consideration.

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