Radio report: Tear-filled committee testimony sways lawmakers to favor passage of Rep. Abbarno’s ‘Zack’s Law’

The parents of a young man who drowned from cold-water shock last year in the Chehalis River pleaded with lawmakers in a House committee Thursday to pass “Zack’s Law.” John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: House Bill 1595 would require signs to be erected on or near bridges and waterways to warn people of cold-water shock risks. The proposed law is named after 18-year-old Zachary Rager. Centralia Representative Peter Abbarno is the sponsor.

ABBARNO: “Zack drowned in the Chehalis River on a warm day in March, in a river he had jumped in countless times. The day he did jump, it was unknown how cold that water was.”

SATTGAST: Rager’s stepfather, Lee Hines, and his mother, Kimberly Hines told lawmakers in the House Transportation Committee that cold-water shock signs along the river might have saved their son’s life.

LEE HINES: “Just having that sign there for him to read before he got to that bridge, or even while he was standing on that bridge, or even when he was standing on that bridge, and he read it with his friends. . . it could have been enough for his friends to say, ‘Dude, did you know this could happen?’

KIMBERLY HINES: “Had myself or Zachary known about the risks that happen during cold-water shock, my son would still be with me today.”

SATTGAST: The tear-filled testimony prompted some lawmakers to say they plan to support the bill when it comes up for a vote.

John Sattgast, the state Capitol.


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