Washington State House Democrats


Legislature passes bill to make religious practice more inclusive for people in state custody

OLYMPIA – On Wednesday, lawmakers in Olympia passed legislation to make religious faith practice more inclusive for people in state custody.

Currently, chaplains serve the religious needs for all people under state custody, however, the title is not encompassing of all religious faiths.

House Bill 1485 changes the employee title of “chaplain” to “religious coordinator,” in state agencies, including the Department of Corrections, Department of Children, Youth and Families and Department of Social and Health Service.

“This bill is about healing,” said sponsor Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow. “It respects all religious faiths equally, and lets people heal from trauma with the religious practice that works best for them.”

This is the first bill sponsored by Lekanoff to pass both the House and Senate. The bill now awaits a signature by Governor Inslee.

The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 28.