Lawmaker aims to bolster safety net for victims of domestic violence

Rep. Lauren Davis got a no-contact order against an ex-partner. Her new bill provides tools for cops and courts to do more.

Rep. Lauren Davis, 32nd Legislative District (Washington House of Representatives)

Rep. Lauren Davis, 32nd Legislative District (Washington House of Representatives)

OLYMPIA — A state representative who had to secure a no-contact order against an ex-boyfriend introduced legislation Wednesday to provide cops and judges with tools to more aggressively help victims in domestic violence cases.

Changes sought in House Bill 1715 appear to parallel Shoreline Rep. Lauren Davis’ experience, who last year obtained a domestic violence protective order against a former partner.

Davis, whose district includes Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, declined to comment. A hearing on the bill is expected next week.

As first reported by the Seattle Times, the third-term Democrat obtained the order in King County against lobbyist Cody Arledge last year, citing what she said was an escalating pattern of obsessive and threatening behavior after she ended their relationship in mid-2021.

Under the terms of the five-year protective order, Arledge cannot go within 1,000 feet of Davis’ home or her workplace, defined as the state Capitol and adjacent John L. O’Brien Building that houses state representatives’ offices, unless she is not at the Capitol, according to court records obtained by the Times.

He is required to wear an ankle bracelet with GPS monitoring for at least one year that alerts authorities and Davis via a phone app if he violates those conditions.

A provision in Davis’ legislation requires electronic monitoring devices with victim notification technology be available to all courts in the state by July 2024.

The bill also:

• Creates a “Domestic Violence Lethality Hotline.” Before it launches in 2025, the Department of Social and Health Services would develop a new tool, a “lethality assessment,” for use by hotline staff to quickly “determine the likelihood that a homicide will be committed by one intimate partner against another.”

• Requires the hotline develop a mechanism to place a “high lethality designation” on some perpetrators of domestic violence.

• Requires domestic violence no-contact orders to include firearms restrictions if there is a high-lethality designation.

• Requires the Office of Civil Legal Aid to compose a plan to assure legal representation for survivors of domestic violence with low incomes.

• Makes clear when a court issues a temporary protective order that also requires a person surrender weapons but then denies a full protection order, all terms of the temporary order will remain in place for up to 30 days while the petitioner considers legal options.

• Encourages judicial officers to receive training on domestic violence homicide prevention.

• Expands existing training on domestic violence for law enforcement to cover domestic violence homicide prevention, lethality assessments, and serving protection orders. It also will include instruction on intimate terrorism, defined in the bill as “a type of intimate partner violence in which the perpetrator uses violence, threats, coercive control, or other behaviors with the intent to dominate, intimidate or control the victim.”

• Establishes a grant for a statewide prosecutor for domestic violence cases, administers a pilot program for deploying domestic violence high risk teams in cases involving high lethality and establishes the Office of the Statewide Domestic Violence Ombuds “to promote and protect the rights of victims of domestic violence.”

The bill emerges as Davis is enveloped in an ongoing legal battle with Arledge whom she met when she first ran for office.

Lobbyist Cody Arledge (Public Disclosure Commission)

Lobbyist Cody Arledge (Public Disclosure Commission)

They are now dueling in the the state Court of Appeals on the legality of the protective order restrictions imposed by the King County Superior Court. Arledge contends they violate his constitutional right to privacy and ability to work. Davis counters they are necessary to protect her.

“I feel terrorized by this man. I have broken down crying multiple times per day,” Davis wrote in a court declaration, adding she’d been unable to sleep, experienced “acute anxiety, including shaking and trembling …” and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Arledge in court papers denied he represents a danger to Davis, and accused her of retaliating against his lobbying practice — allegations Davis rejects as false and defamatory, the Times reported.

Davis, 36, won her House seat in 2018 and been re-elected twice. She is also strategy director of the Washington Recovery Alliance, a nonprofit she helped found in 2014.

Arledge, 59, has been a registered lobbyist since 1990. His firm, The Arledge Group, made nearly $1.2 million in fees over the past two years, placing it among the upper tier of lobbying firms in the state, according to Public Disclosure Commission filings.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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