Lawmakers unanimously passed a measure in the Senate today that supporters say will better protect victims of stranger stalking.
House Bill 1383, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, passed 47-0. It would create a stalking protection order, which advocates say would be taken more seriously by law enforcement and the court system than anti-harassment orders, which can be obtained to settle many types of disputes.
Domestic violence protection orders are available for victims who have a family or dating relationship with their stalker, but for victims who don’t really know their harassers, the stalking protection order would provide a new recourse.
The bill was amended before it passed to be called the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act, in memory of a Tacoma woman whose family has worked to get the measure passed for about three years.
Jennifer Paulson, 30, was shot and killed Feb. 26, 2010, outside Tacoma’s Birney Elementary School — where she worked as a special education teacher — by a man who had stalked her for years, but who she really didn’t know.
Gov. Jay Inslee must sign the measure for it to become law.
Ken Paulson, Jennifer’s father, said he hopes the governor will sign the bill in Tacoma, to honor his daughter.
“I think it would be a good opportunity for him to come to Tacoma,” Paulson said. “I figured if it got to the floor it would pass. It was a relief.”