Governor Jay Inslee this week signed a bill (HB 1380) that increases the penalty for persons convicted of assaulting a utility employee while the worker is engaged in their usual duties in the field.
Utility workers have a tough job. Avoiding aggressive pets, yellow jackets, and sometimes being confronted by upset people.
In signing the bill, Inslee said, “utility workers do their jobs under extraordinarily dangerous conditions and hellacious hours. This measure will help keep our utility workers safe, especially when they must access private property to make repairs. It expands the list of aggravating circumstances that may support imposition of an exceptional sentence above the standard sentencing range.”
“The bill can provide an additional layer of safety for our employees,” said Dennis Simon, PUD 3 safety & environmental manager. “As awareness of HB 1380 grows, and the consequences for committing these acts are enforced, the number of these types of incidents may be reduced. This will be an improvement towards a safer workplace.”
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Mike Pelliccotti. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77 testified in favor of the measure. It passed unanimously in the State House of Representatives, and on a 47 to one vote in the Senate.