Legislative session

Every January the Washington State Legislature convenes for a new legislative session.

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2024 legislative session in review

The 2024 legislative session was a short 60-day session that ended March 7. Typically, a short session focuses on the maintenance of budget and operations and passes fewer bills than in a longer 105-day session. This year was an exception to that rule with a record-breaking 1,200 bills proposed.

Things started off fast and furiously with committee meetings and big ideas proposed in the first week. In the end, just over 300 bills made it through the state legislature that will be put in front of the governor for signature.

Below are the four legislative priorities WSNA pursued in the 2024 legislative session and how each fared.

Standing Order for Medication for School Nurses — Passed

HB 1608 creates statewide standing orders allowing school nurses to administer the emergency medication epinephrine or epinephrine injectors. The bill builds on existing law that provides standing orders for Narcan in school settings. The bill started in the House Education Committee and passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. It was delivered to the governor on March 4 and signed into law on March 14. The bill takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of session.

ARNP Reimbursement Parity – Dead

SB 5373 required all health carriers to reimburse advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants at the same rate as physicians. The bill started in the Senate Ways & Means Committee where it left off in the 2023 legislative session. Ultimately, it was not voted out of the Ways & Means Committee in executive session and therefore died in committee. One of the concerns indicated was the potential costs to the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) and School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) programs, which are state-funded.

Update Property Tax Cap – Dead

SB 5770 lifted the property tax cap from 1% to 3%, allowing counties the ability to raise revenue up to 3% annually to pay for things like public health, law enforcement, parks, and other services provided by the county. This bill was picked up in the Senate Ways & Means Committee where it left off in the 2023 legislative session. After the public hearing and executive action was taken to pass it out of Ways & Means, it was announced that leadership in the House, Senate, and governor’s office would not be supporting the bill this session due to contention surrounding the bill. It died in Ways & Means, and the issue of funding for public health, most notably in King County, remains an outstanding issue. King County officials have said public health clinics would close if a funding source did not come to fruition. WSNA represents nurses at Seattle/King County Public Health and a handful of other public health departments around the state.

Keep Our Care Act – Dead

SB 5241, known as the Keep Our Care Act (KOCA) or the “mergers and acquisitions bill,” added oversight and transparency by the Office of the Attorney General to the mergers and acquisitions process of healthcare entities. The bill was in its fourth year in front of the legislature and made more progress in this session than it had in past sessions. This year, the bill successfully made it out of the Senate by a floor vote of 28-21 and then moved over to the House. It passed both the House Civil Rights & Judiciary and Appropriations committees. Both sides of the aisle proposed several amendments. After a large and successful push in opposition to the bill, it was determined that there was not enough support to see it voted off the House floor, so it was not brought to a vote and died.

Continue reading to learn what else happened during the 2024 legislative session:

Past legislative sessions

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