Public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 25 on Zack’s Law to prevent cold-water shock drownings

The House Transportation Committee has scheduled a public hearing on House Bill 1004, also known as “Zack’s Law,” for Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 4:00 p.m.  

Zack’s Law would require state government agencies and local governments to erect signs warning of drowning hazards when replacing signs or erecting signs near dangerous water hazards.

Zack’s Law honors 18-year-old Zachary Lee Rager, an experienced swimmer, who fell victim to cold-water shock and drowned in the Chehalis River on March 23, 2021,

“This measure will help inform the public about the very real dangers posed by diving or jumping into cold water,” said Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, the bill’s sponsor. “If Zack’s Law saves even a single life, it’s worth passing.”

Signs would be placed at the same time upgrades are made to bridges and other water-adjacent infrastructure so there would be no significant costs to taxpayers.

The bill would also create a mechanism for the public to donate funds to the state for erecting signs in locations known to attract people to what could be hazardous waterways.

“I encourage citizens to participate in the legislative process,” said Abbarno. “Let’s get Zack’s Law over the finish line and help prevent another tragedy.”


Washington State House Republican Communications