This Washington

Domestic Violence Bill, Foreclosure Bill Pass Judiciary Committee

By Josh Feit February 17, 2011

It's a race to get policy bills passed out of the state house today (cutoff for policy bills to get out of committee is tomorrow) and there's already been a pair of wins for liberal Democrats today.

Freshman Seattle progressive David Frockt's (D-46, N. Seattle) bill to make the burden of proof fall on the abuser in domestic violence cases when lifting protective orders passed the judiciary committee this morning. Frockt's bill makes it so that the abuser has to prove their behavior has changed as opposed to making the victim prove that the abuser is still a threat. The law on the books now is vague on this point and has allowed courts to put the burden of proof on the victim.

Domestic violence advocates gave a little ground by lowering the standard to "preponderance of the evidence" from "clear and convincing." But: The onus is still on the abuser, not the victim.

Additionally, Rep. Tina Orwall's (D-33, Des Moines) foreclosure bill passed. The bill requires banks to meet in person with borrowers before trying to foreclose, establishes an additional mandatory mediation process if the borrower (or borrower's counselor) demands it, and establishes a $250 fee that banks must pay every time they initiate a foreclosure; that fee is expected to raise $7.5 million a year for financial counselors and enforcement.

The bill passed unanimously.
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