LEGISLATIVE NEWS: Senate Passes Bill to Empower Crisis Responders 

OLYMPIA – As the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline gains traction, crisis responders have expressed concern regarding a lack of liability protections similar to those afforded to emergency medical personnel and 988 hotline staff. Today, the Senate unanimously passed House Bill 2088 to help provide these protections. 

Sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), who previously established the 988 lifeline in the state, this bill strengthens its effectiveness. It safeguards crisis response teams, community-based team, and other responders from civil liability during good-faith performance of their duties. This crucial legal protection allows responders to confidently perform their jobs amidst potentially volatile situations. 

By empowering trained crisis responders to provide on-site de-escalation, stabilization, and resource connection directly to individuals in need, Washington creates a viable alternative to police intervention and connects individuals with behavioral health services. 

“When we afford crisis responders these protections, we will see more communities embark and invest in mobile crisis response programs. Responders need to focus on doing their job to the best of their ability. Helping them do that helps more Washingtonians receive effective interventions when they need it”.  

House Bill 2088 advances to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.