SB 5028, which goes into effect on July 23, establishes new procedures for name changes when safety may be an issue. In those cases, a person may apply for a name change to a superior court – instead of the usual procedure involving district courts – and ask for the case to be sealed from public view.
The change was proposed by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, but inspired by Maia Xiao, a UW graduate student who wrote to the senator outlining the need for greater privacy protections for transgender individuals. Pedersen wrote back expressing his interest in pursuing a bill similar to a New York model.
“[SB 5028] just acknowledges that the world has changed so much, and we are seeing so many more harms … There are so many harms in the world that might not involve physical violence inflicted on you, but they can still be so destructive to you as a person,” Xiao said in an interview with Crosscut. “I think this bill basically recognizes those nuances.”
SB 5028 passed by wide majorities in both the House and the Senate and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on April 6.