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Two bills addressing sexual assault die in the Legislature

On Saturday, Representatives Griffey and Caldier released a statement speaking out about two bills they sponsored this session to help sexual assault survivors, but that ultimately died in the legislature this year.

Representative Dan Griffey’s bill would have eliminated the statute of limitations for rape or molestation of a child in the first degree. Currently, the statute of limitations for sex offenses varies based on the age of the victim or when the crime is reported. The bill was originally written to eliminate the statute of limitations for several different felony sex offenses, but was later amended to specifically apply to the child offenses listed. The bill passed in the House by a 98-8 vote at the beginning of February.

Representative Michelle Caldier’s legislation would have ensured that hospitals that are incapable of providing sexual assault evidence kits, inform patients within two hours and have a plan to help that patient find a facility that is able to provide the forensic examination. Caldier’s bill passed out of the House unanimously on February 7.

Both representatives released the following statement:

“The Legislature let sexual assault survivors down this year. There’s no way around it. “Lawmakers had two reasonable proposals in front of them that would have immensely improved the treatment and care of these brave individuals, but dozens of other issues were prioritized.

Survivors are wondering why, and so are we.

Every year, we pat ourselves on the back for passing hundreds of bills that in no way rise to the level of consequence as legislation to help vulnerable women. Meanwhile, we have a backlog of roughly 10,000 untested sexual assault kits, survivors who struggle to find the courage to report their assault before some seemingly arbitrary deadline, and women (and men) who have to sit for hours in a hospital waiting room only to find out they’ll have to wait at yet another hospital to get a rape test exam.

Shoving this legislation aside this year is an affront to all survivors, dozens of whom traveled to the Capitol to tell their stories and courageously advocate for change.

In Olympia, we talk a big game about standing up for the most vulnerable among us. Yet when it comes to something as important as helping sexual assault victims, we always seem to fall short.

That’s unacceptable. The majority party needs to act on these bills this year. We shouldn’t force survivors to wait any longer.”

Friday was the deadline for bills unrelated to the budget to pass in the opposite chamber. So, while both bills passed in the House, they were never brought to the Senate floor for a vote.