- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Bipartisan legislation aimed to combat financially exploiting and neglecting vulnerable adults in Washington state passed the Legislature and now heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

House Bill 1153 unanimously passed by the Senate Monday. It was voted out of the House in February.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson requested the measure to create a specific crime of theft from a vulnerable adult. The new statute would make it illegal to abuse any person 18 years or older who is clearly functionally, mentally or physically unable to care for himself or herself or suffers from a cognitive impairment.

Under the measure, the bill would also create a six-year statute of limitations and rank the crime at a higher seriousness level than theft. Currently, the statute of limitations for theft is three years, and the aggravating factor for victimizing a vulnerable adult is not applied uniformly across the state.

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