SSB 5318

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.


C 290 L 09

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Adding additional appropriate locations for the transfer of newborn children.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections (originally sponsored by Senators Kauffman, Kohl-Welles, Keiser, Jarrett and Franklin).

Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections

House Committee on Early Learning & Children's Services

Background: A parent who transfers a newborn child to a qualified person at the emergency room of a hospital during operating hours or to a fire station during operating hours and while fire personnel are present is not guilty of a crime. A qualified person is one the parent reasonably believes is a bona fide employee, volunteer, or medical staff member of the hospital or a firefighter, volunteer or emergency medical technician at a fire station who represents to the parent that the qualified person can and will summon appropriate resources to meet the newborn’s needs.

A hospital or fire station, its employees, volunteers, and medical staff are immune from criminal or civil liability for accepting or receiving a newborn under the act.

Summary: “Federally-designated rural health clinic” is added as a location at which a parent can transfer a newborn. The current immunity provisions would also apply to the federally-designated rural health clinic and its employees and volunteers. The rural health clinic need not provide ongoing medical care to a transferred newborn and may transfer the newborn to a hospital.

Starting July 1, 2011, an appropriate location must post a sign indicating that the location is an appropriate place for the safe and legal transfer of a newborn. Appropriate locations may cover the costs of acquiring and placing signs by accepting nonpublic funds and donations.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is to collect and compile information on the number and medical condition of newborns transferred under this act, as well as the number and medical condition of newborns abandoned and not transferred. DSHS is to report to the Legislature annually starting January 1, 2011.

Votes on Final Passage:







(House amended)




(Senate concurred)


July 26, 2009

Partial Veto Summary: The provision requiring DSHS to collect and compile information regarding newborns and provide an annual report is vetoed.