Six years of advocacy by trauma victim Deana Knowlton reached a significant milestone with the unanimous approval of Senate House Bill 1501 by the state house and senate, and an invitation to witness the bill signed by Governor Jay Inslee.
SHB 1501 grants additional counseling services to immediate family members of homicide victims. Knowlton, along with her daughters Kari and Krysta, has been following the hit-and-run death of her husband and father, Gary Knowlton, caused by a drunk driver on July 16, 2016. Gary was a well known figure in the Lake Chelan Valley as he worked as a lifeguard at Mason Bay Park. Since that life-altering day, Knowlton has undergone over 270 counseling sessions to address the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) she continues to suffer. Prior to the new bill, crime trauma victims are authorized only twelve counseling sessions. Knowlton highlighted the insufficiency of this figure, emphasizing that in her first three years alone, she attended 273 sessions. On March 13, Knowlton testified in favor of the bill for the second time before the Senate Committee on Human Services. Finally, on April 10, it received approval from the Senate.
The bill sponsored by 12th District State Representative Mike Steele and eight colleagues, underwent various readings and committees before passage.