New laws enacted affect courthouse arrests, hairstyles and domestic worker treatment

HB 2567 prohibits warrantless arrests within one mile of a court facility

OLYMPIA — Several bills poised to become signed into law this legislative session would directly affect many Washington residents.

House Bill 2567, which would outlaw arrests for civil matters at courthouses unless there is a warrant issued, passed the House earlier and was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, Mar. 4.

When signed into law, the measure will protect undocumented residents by prohibiting warrantless civil arrests within one mile of a court facility.

“This bill is about nothing more or less than the proposition that all residents of our state ought to have access to our courts to seek justice,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, during an earlier Senate floor debate.

“All of the residents, regardless of their immigration status, should feel comfortable and safe coming to our courts to seek the assistance that they need,” Pedersen said.

HB 2602, which also passed in both legislative chambers and is set to be signed into law, redefines the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include in the definition of race hair textures and styles, such as afros and braids, that are historically associated with African Americans.

“This is a very simple bill,” Pedersen said at the earlier debate. “We had very compelling testimony from people, particularly African Americans, whose hairstyles have subjected them to discrimination, particularly in the employment context,” Pedersen said.

HB 2511 has also been approved by both chambers and will protect a domestic worker from discrimination, as well as their general safety, health and well-being. It also puts into place a workgroup for domestic worker issues.

“The bill before us does begin the process of building a bill of rights for domestic workers and creates a workgroup that will look at how do we make sure that we do properly value those that care for our young ones and our elders,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldana, D-Seattle, who sponsored the bill’s companion, SB 6247.