In review of proposed new legislation this session in Olympia, I've come across House Bill 1408. This bill would amend RCW 46.61.5152 and a new section to RCW 10.01. In a nutshell, this law intends on standardizing the DUI Victims' Impact Panel. In reality, this would mean very little for the DUI practitioner, it may impact certain agencies that are providing DUI Victims' Panels.
The statute, if enacted, would require the following:
1. That each court maintain a registry of qualified Victims' Panels.
2. A method by which an attendee can complain if they feel the Panel failed to meet the minimum standards set forth in this law.
Further, each provider of a Victims' Panel must ensure the following:
1. The panel must address the effects of drunk driving on individuals and their families and address alternatives to drinking and driving.
2. The panel must have at least 2 different speakers who themselves are victims, and the presentation must last at least one hour.
3. The panel must have policies and procedures for recruiting and screening new panelists.
4. The panel shall charge a “reasonable” fee unless otherwise ordered by the court.
5. The panel cannot admit anyone who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
6. The panel must maintain attendance records for at least the last 5 years.
7. The panel must try to utilize facilities which are in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
8. The panel must provide referral information to other community services, and;
9. The panel must have a designated facilitator who is responsible for compliance with this law.