Bethany Jerabek, ARNP
Legislative Chair, Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP
Member, WCAAP Legislative Committee
My name is Bethany Jerabek and I am the legislative chair for the Washington State Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP). When I first joined the WCAAP, I found the legislative work invaluable. I have now had the privilege of working alongside the WCAAP legislative team and serving on the WCAAP legislative committee for the past year. The committee has provided me with instrumental lessons and guidance on the power of persistence, education, and communication to effect incremental policy change. This incredible team has also provided me with the steppingstones to build lasting relationships with our local policy makers through a plethora of legislative events. In order to multiply the power of the WCAAP’s legislative committee advocacy efforts, the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP is eager to support and collaborate on all child health legislative priorities.
In addition to these priorities, the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP has committed to advocating for children who are victims of human trafficking. Washington State is considered a leader among states in addressing trafficking. However, our state has strict laws regarding minors. Currently, the Safe Harbor law does not allow for law enforcement to place holds on minors when arrested for prostitution. If minors are not willing agree to treatment, the alternative for their safety is to arrest them. Thus, minors can be criminalized for prostitution. HB 1775 and SB 5744 sought this past session to amend the Safe Harbor law and grant law enforcement the ability to place a hold on minors to ensure their safety while conducting investigations. Unfortunately, these bills did not make it past committee, but the Washington State Chapter of NAPNAP will continue to support this amendment when reintroduced in the coming session.
Thank you for your continued collaboration and advocacy for child health issues. I look forward to joining you all at the WCAAP 2020 Advocacy Day in Olympia on January 14!
Further information on sex trafficking in WA State can be found here: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/serving-communities/crime-victims-public-safety/office-of-crime-victims-advocacy/human-trafficking/statewide-human-trafficking-task-forces/