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News / Clark County News

Washington Senate passes ‘Tiffany Hill Act’

Wilson’s bill is named for Vancouver woman killed by estranged husband

By Jeffrey Mize, Columbian staff reporter
Published: January 31, 2020, 5:15pm

The Washington Senate unanimously approved legislation Friday to provide electronic monitoring and real-time victim notification following the shooting death of a Vancouver woman in November.

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, sponsored Senate Bill 5149, which she named “The Tiffany Hill Act” for the former Marine sergeant and Vancouver mother.

Hill, 35, was killed by her estranged husband outside Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School in Hazel Dell.

Her husband had been arrested for domestic violence but was out on bail when he shot his wife and mother-in-law, who survived her injuries. He killed himself following a short police chase.

Wilson, speaking from the Senate floor before Friday’s roll call, recounted how Hill was shot in front of her three children.

“I don’t know what was worse, that part or the fact that it was her youngest child’s birthday and only two days before Thanksgiving,” she said.

Wilson said Hill’s husband had been waiting in the school’s parking lot for about 30 minutes. Had he been wearing a court-ordered electronic monitor, Hill could have received an electronic alert that he was nearby.

Several states and New Zealand use this technology to provide more safety for victims of domestic violence, Wilson said.

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“Right now in Chicago, there are about 500 victims that are using this technology, and it’s working very well,” she said.

The only other person to speak from the floor during Friday’s brief discussion was Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Pedersen thanked Wilson for persevering on her bill, which she had sponsored in two previous sessions.

“Her advocacy has helped us to understand how important of a tool this could be for victims, such as Tiffany Hill,” he said. “And it is my fervent hope that we can get the bill through the process this year so folks in our state who are the victims of domestic violence can take advantage of this technology and feel some more safety in their private lives.”

Rene Sundby, president of the Sarah J. Anderson PTA and a close friend of Hill’s, sat in a Senate gallery during Friday’s vote. She was accompanied by her wife, Christine Johnson-Sundby, and their daughter, Ellie. All three wore shirts bearing the words “Anderson Strong” and received a standing ovation from the Senate.

In 2018 the Senate approved Wilson’s bill, but it stalled in the House Appropriations Committee. Last year, the bill failed to make it out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Wilson said she is optimistic her legislation will clear the House this year and be signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“For the past two years, it’s been me making the argument for this change, but now there’s a former Marine sergeant out on point,” she said, referring to Tiffany Hill. “And if that isn’t enough already, the people who loved her are not about to rest until we get this done. The Tiffany Hill Act needs to become law this year so it can start helping others.”

Columbian staff reporter