PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Washington state passed most of its new laws in July 2021, but a handful went into effect at the start of 2022. 

A total of nine new Washington laws had an effective date of Jan. 1, 2022. They make changes to a variety of things, including convicted felons’ voting rights after prison, motor vehicle transporter licenses and protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure. 

Here are the nine new laws: 

Juveniles get attorneys

HB 1140 – This law is an amendment stating that if law enforcement officers contact a juvenile, they must provide them with access to an attorney for consultation. This includes when an officer questions a juvenile during a custodial interrogation, when a juvenile is detained for possible involvement in criminal activity, and when a juvenile allows a law enforcement officer to search their property, home or vehicle. 

Who can make healthcare decisions?

SB 5185 – This bill allows authorized people or guardians to make healthcare decisions on behalf of people who do not have the capacity to do so. The bill amends language in an existing law to say that informed consent may be given on behalf of people who do not have the capacity to make healthcare decisions on their own. Whereas before the law exclusively said it can be given on behalf of minors or people placed under a guardianship. It allows a healthcare provider to determine if a patient has the capacity to make decisions. 

Preventing home foreclosures

HB 1410 – This new bill addresses the penalties and interest payments on property taxes. It aims to prevent home foreclosures by eliminating harsh penalties. Starting January 1, 2023, it lowers the interest rate from 12% to 9% on delinquent residential property taxes. 

Insurers must report child support debt

HB 1416 – This new law is meant to increase the efficiency of the processes for collecting child support debts owed to the state or owed to a custodial parent. It says that insurance companies must share information with the division of child support to see if a claimant has debt with the state for supporting a child. Insurance companies must contact the division no later than 10 days after opening a tort liability claim for bodily injury or wrongful death, a workers’ compensation claim, or a claim under a policy of life insurance. 

Modernizing nonprofit statutes

SB 5034 – This is the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act and it modernized the state’s nonprofit statutes for the first time in 50 years. The organization Washington Nonprofits said most nonprofits won’t need to do anything at all as a result of this bill. The bill is meant to reflect new, modernized best practices in the nonprofit sector. For example, postal mail was previously required for official notifications. Now, email notifications are acceptable. 

Reducing barriers for people with prior convictions

HB 1399 – This law reduces the barriers people with prior convictions face when applying for professional licenses. The law says if a person’s criminal conviction does not directly relate to the profession, business or trade they’re interested in, then they won’t be prevented from obtaining a license for that profession. The state says a preliminary application will determine if a person’s criminal conviction would disqualify them from obtaining the license they desire. 

Changes for vehicle transporters

HB 1269 – This law impacts license plates for vehicle transporters, which are vehicles certified to drive or tow any for-sale, unregistered vehicles to a potential buyer. The law was amended to say that transporter applicants can receive up to three sets of license plates and can request up to 10 to meet their business needs. Transporter license number plates must be attached to all vehicles being delivered. The fee for a transporters license was increased from $25 to $150. 

How to go about filing wage liens

SB 5355 – The Washington Wage Recovery Act establishes wage liens for employees’ unpaid wage claims against their employers. The bill explains how people should go about filing a wage lien and says they will be prioritized based on the date they are recorded. 

Convicted felons are automatically eligible to vote

HB 1078 – This law restores voter eligibility for all convicted felons who are not serving a sentence of total confinement. It automatically, rather than provisionally, restores the right to vote for convicted felons. For anyone who is no longer incarcerated, the right to vote is automatically restored. Anyone who has their voting rights restored must re-register to vote.