Legislature OKs testimonial privilege for sponsors

OLYMPIA — The Legislature has passed a bill that would give legal protection to information shared between people in alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs and their sponsors so that such confidences can’t be used in civil court cases.

Senate Bill 6498, which was approved by the Senate last month, passed the House Wednesday on a 94-3 vote. The bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration.

Under the bill, a person “who acts as a sponsor providing guidance, emotional support, and counseling in an individualized manner” to someone in a recovery program can’t testify in a civil action or proceeding about anything said in their conversations, unless the privilege is waived by the person in recovery or on account of their death.

Several such privileges already exist, such as those between doctor and patient and attorney and client.

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