Measures would aid those with disabilities or dealing with a diabetes-related eating disorder
Two measures introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown during this year’s regular legislative session were signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee at the governor’s office. The new laws, which both originated with ideas from Brown’s 8th Legislative District constituents, will take effect June 11.
The law created by Senate Bill 6663 is officially known as Alyssa’s Law, named after a young woman who died from diabulimia and is the inspiration for Brown’s legislation.
Diabulimia is the practice of manipulating insulin intake in order to lose weight. Cases of the disorder have been reported in 11 to 15 percent of adolescents and 30 to 39 percent of adults living with diabetes. It can lead to early onset of serious diabetes complications such as blindness, amputations, or death. Under Brown’s measure, the Department of Health is required to provide a report to the Legislature by December 1 that addresses the prevalence of eating disorders among individuals in Washington living with diabetes and assess the risks for people with diabetes associated with eating disorders and insulin usage.
“I am very pleased to see the governor sign this bill, which passed with the Legislature’s unanimous support,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “It’s not an issue many of my colleagues in Olympia were aware of, but that’s sort of the point.
“Hopefully this new law will help raise awareness among those in the public and even within the medical field who have never heard of diabulimia. That increased awareness is vital to saving lives and preventing this potentially lethal condition, which has a disproportionate impact on young women struggling with body image.”
Also signed by the governor today was Substitute Senate Bill 6429, which will permit Washingtonians to add new designations on driver’s licenses and identicards. Persons with developmental disabilities, medical conditions, and members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community will soon be able to voluntarily add this information to their key documents.
“In a crisis, these designations could be even more critical than one would think,” said Brown. “If a caregiver is injured and unable to speak, there could be a misunderstanding between first responders and a person who has a disability and may be non-communicative. This new law will give parents an extra tool in their toolbox to help their child should they find themselves in a bad situation.”
Kendra’s Law, which received the support of the Arc of Washington State, and the Parent Coalition of Benton-Franklin, Grant, Adams, and Lincoln counties, is named for Kendra Olson; her mother Sharon Adolphson is well-known by legislators for her work on behalf of those with developmental disabilities and their advocates.
Brown thanked Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, who sponsored the House companion to her bill, for his efforts to garner support for the policy in that chamber.
Both bills were part of a concerted effort by Brown to pass legislation aimed at helping vulnerable members of society. The Kennewick lawmaker has also offered measures to address mental illness, end teen-suicide, curb human trafficking and increase funding for local food banks and meals-on-wheels programs.