Governor signs Roger Freeman Act to help families in need

Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2140, which creates a law to help families struggling to pay for court-ordered services. The signing caps an effort that began during the 2014 legislative session under the leadership of the late Rep. Roger Freeman, who passed away last October. Before the bill passed this year Sens. Mark Miloscia and Mike Padden changed its name to the Roger Freeman Act in honor of Freeman’s work.

“Roger demonstrated care and leadership in his work on behalf of those in need,” said Miloscia, R-Federal Way; he represents the 30th Legislative District, which Freeman also served. “This bill honors that standard of compassionate leadership by finishing the work he started.”

The new law will prevent the stripping of parental rights from people who are going through chemical-dependency treatment or determined to be financially unable to afford services required by the court. Advocates sought these protections for parental rights to keep families together when going through difficult times.

“Representative Freeman was an outstanding person and one of the most-universally liked and respected lawmakers in Olympia,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “He had a tremendous love for these families that are trying to reunify with their children. This new law, recognizing some of the most difficult challenges faced by families, is a fitting tribute to Representative Freeman and his commitment to protecting the vulnerable in our society – from those in the womb to the elderly, and to those dealing with dependency or financial hardships.”

Freeman passed away after a battle with cancer. He is survived by wife Sonya and their two children.