2021 budget priorities #

The Washington State Legis­la­ture passed its final 2021 – 23 operating budget on April 25, appro­pri­ating $10.6 billion in COVID-19 federal stimulus funds and $59 billion in state revenue. While the legis­la­ture origi­nally antic­i­pated limited revenue, funding from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act allowed for the state to make signif­i­cant one-time invest­ments. The Legis­la­ture also passed a Capital Gains Tax to fund the expan­sion and afford­ability of child­care, early learning, and K‑12 educa­tion. Notably, the final budget makes signif­i­cant invest­ments in our state’s public health system and provides new funding to double the invest­ment in the School Nurse Corps – two long-time WSNA budget priorities. 

WSNA priorityAgencyDescriptionFinal Budget
Foundational Public Health ServicesSpecial Appropriations to the GovernorFunds are appropriated to increase Foundational Public Health Services funding that is distributed by the Office of Financial Management pursuant to RCW 43.70.515 to local public health jurisdictions.$147M (new funding 2021-2023 biennium). $148M (per year in 2024 and 2025).
Comprehensive Public Health Districts (aka, Regional Public Health Districts under DOH)DOHFunding is provided pursuant to ESSHB 1152, which modifies the requirements for local health jurisdiction boards and creates four regional public health districts. The amounts provided include funding for the Public Health Services Steering Committee, the Public Health Advisory Board, the foundational public health services Regional Coordinators, and the Regional Health Officer. NOTE: WSNA has a seat on the new statewide Public Health Advisory Board.$2.8 M
Infectious Disease StandardL&IFunding for L&I to conduct infectious disease rulemaking to ensure the state has general guidelines to follow in the case of an infectious disease outbreak. Funding is for two non-permanent staff to perform research for rulemaking and to provide necessary education and outreach.$624,000
Health Care Worker BenefitsL&IFunding is provided for information technology changes and rule-making costs associated with the implementation of ESSB 5190 (healthcare worker/benefits) which provides presumptive workers' compensation coverage for health care employees who are in quarantine or contract the disease that is the subject of a public health emergency.$733,000
Health Emergency Labor StandardsL&IFunding is provided for costs associated with the implementation of ESSB 5115 (health emergency/labor) which creates an occupational disease presumption for (non-health care) frontline employees during a public health emergency for the purposes of workers' compensation, and adds requirements of employers during a public health emergency.$421,000
School Nurse CorpsPublic SchoolsFunding is provided to the School Nurse Corps to support one day per week of nursing services for all Class 2 (small, rural) school districts.$11.86M
Health System TransparencyDOHFunding is provided for ESHB 1272 (health system transparency), which requires hospitals to provide detailed financial reports to the Department of Health regarding expenses and revenues. In addition, the exemption from reporting facility fees for certain off-campus clinics or providers is eliminated.$3.7M

Pandemic Response #

All dollars reflect funds received through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Budget ItemAgencyDescriptionFinal Budget
COVID-19 Response GrantsDOHFunding from the America Rescue Plan to increase response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine deployment, recruitment of public health workers, contact tracing and testing.$1.1B
Disaster Response AccountMilitary DepartmentContinued disaster support and recovery efforts statewide for responding to open presidentially declared disasters, including COVID-19; 38 open fire management assistance grants; and federal pre-disaster and flood mitigation grants.$905M
Issue the Maximum Food Assistance Program BenefitESAFund maximum food benefit payments to people who qualify for the state’s Food Assistance Program during certain months in fiscal year 2021 to increase the number of people who have food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Requires a waiver from the federal Food and Nutrition Services to offer the maximum food benefit.$5.4M
Pandemic Emergency AssistanceESAFederal authority is provided for the administration of a one-time cash benefit to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients.$22M
Continue the Washington Immigrant Relief FundDSHSFund the Washington Immigrant Relief Fund in FY21 to assist undocumented immigrants, providing a one-time cash benefit to immigrants impacted by the pandemic who were not eligible to receive federal stimulus funds or unemployment insurance because of their immigration status.$340M
High Unemployment TANF extensionDSHSRestore TANF program’s 60-month time limit hardship criteria to the less restrictive policies that were in effect before 2011, helping more families that experience poverty access cash benefits when they most need them, regardless of the number of months they have already received TANF.$9.9M
Provider Relief FundsVeterans AffairsFederal appropriation authority is provided in anticipation of receipt of federal provider relief funds provided through the American Rescue Plan Act, which will be utilized to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID19 pandemic, and to reimburse for health care related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.$350,000
Personal Protective EquipmentDSHSFunds to reflect the increased costs incurred for PPE because of the COVID-19 pandemic.$49.9M
Foreclosure AssistanceDOCChapter 3, Laws of 2021 (ESHB 1368) provided funding in FY 2021 for foreclosure assistance. Expenditure authority is provided in 2021-23 to reflect anticipated underspend in FY 2021.$3M
Affordable Housing IncentivesDOCFunding is provided for the implementation of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5287.$224,000
ARPA/Homeowners Assistance FundDOCFunding is provided to provide homeowner assistance from the Homeowner Assistance Fund authorized in ARPA. Of the total funds, $13 million is provided for foreclosure assistance.$13M
Eviction Prevention Rental AssistanceDOCFunding is provided for the Eviction Prevention Rental Assistance Program created in Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1277 (housing/revenue source). If HB 1277 is not enacted by June 30, 2021, this amount lapses and an equal amount of funding is instead provided from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund.$89M
Paid Leave CoverageESDFederal funding is provided for the implementation of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1073 (paid leave coverage), which creates a new pandemic leave grant program to provide assistance to individuals who are ineligible for Paid Family Medical Leave due to not meeting the hours worked threshold during the pandemic related shutdown.$169M
ESSER III Learning LossFederal funding is provided from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief as authorized by Section 2001, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, P.L. 117-2, (ESSER III) for subgrants to local education agencies for learning loss. Amounts appropriated in FY 2021 from ESSER III subgrants for learning loss are appropriated in the 2021-23 biennium to the extent funds are not awarded in FY 2021.$1.3B
ESSER II SubgrantsPublic SchoolsOne-time federal funding allocated by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act is reappropriated to OSPI for subgrants to local education agencies for the allowable uses of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.$74M
Learning RecoveryPublic SchoolsFunding is provided to OSPI to administer grants to school districts for the purposes of learning recovery due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.$200M
COVID-19 Learning Loss - AfterschoolPublic SchoolsFederal funding is provided to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) from ESSER III state amounts to support after-school programs.$19M
COVID-19 Learning Loss - SummerPublic SchoolsFederal funding is provided to OSPI from ESSER III state amounts to support summer programs.$19M

Other Budget Items of Interest #

All dollars reflect General Fund – State operating funds unless other­wise noted.

Budget ItemAgencyDescriptionFinal Budget
Reduce Suicide RatesDOHExpand program support for the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention recommendations.$898,000
Expand Suicide Prevention for VeteransVeterans AffairsExpand Veteran Peer Corps support network for suicide prevention. Direct four regional suicide prevention leads to develop sustainable support network to prevent suicide.$898,000
Traumatic Brain Injury ProgramVeterans AffairsFunding is provided to continue support of two FTE staff for the Traumatic Brain Injury Program, which had previously been funded as a pilot program. This program provides case management and other support services to help brain injured veterans and their families and to reduce the need for related suicide prevention, homelessness, and domestic violence services.$466,000
Support HIV Clients during COVID-19DOHIncreased local spending authority to comply with the federal Ryan White Care Act. Expand services to people living with HIV who have lost access to care because of the COVID-19 pandemic.$26.9M
Increase Title X Clinic RateHCAIncrease family planning rates paid to Title X clinics. Enhanced rates for family providers will help mitigate the potential negative health consequences associated with unintended pregnancies.$16.1M
Increase Access to Fruits and Vegetables (SNAP/WIC)DOHOffer additional support for SNAP and WIC for farmers market nutrition programs. Continues funding the Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Program to offer fruit and vegetable incentives to low-income individuals for use at grocery stores and farmers markets.$3M
Co-responder GrantsHCAProvides funding to include a mental health practitioner on the team who responds to an emergency that involves an individual experiencing mental illness. This support can help divert individuals from the legal system or state hospitals to less restrictive alternatives. The agency will focus on innovative and culturally relevant models in determining grantees.$2M
Children’s Mental Health SupportsDSHSIncreases supervision of direct care and psychology staff. Expands the substance use disorder counseling capacity at the Child Study and Treatment Center for children with a personal and/or family history of substance abuse that often results in the child requiring inpatient services.$539,000
Nursing Home Rate MethodologyDSHSIncrease the cost base to nursing facility daily Medicaid rates. This will support nursing care providers.$54.9M
Behavioral Health TransitionsDSHSFunding will move patients with dementia from state psychiatric hospitals to Enhanced Adult Residential Care or other appropriate settings, freeing needed beds for psychiatric patients. As the state psychiatric hospitals move toward forensic centers of excellence, civilly committed patients will need to be moved to community-based settings.$14.6M
Increase Behavioral Health Provider RateHCAIncrease behavioral health service rates for Medicaid clients, supporting current behavioral health providers and enticing new providers to serve Medicaid clients.$17.6M
Extend Mental Health Referral Service for ChildrenHCAFunding for the WA State Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens was scheduled to end June 2021. The service connects patients and families with evidence-supported outpatient mental health services in their community and is currently free to those who use it. New funding will continue this service.$3.2M
Rental AssistanceDOCFederal rental assistance pursuant to the American Rescue Plan Act$658M
ECEAP: Childcare Provider Rate IncreaseDCYFFunding is provided to increase provider rates for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) by 10 percent in FY 2022, pursuant to E2SSB 5237 (child care & early dev. exp.). Funding is sufficient to provide an annual inflationary adjustment to provider rates in FY 2023 through FY 202529.8M
WCCC: Provider Rate IncreaseDCYFFunding is provided to increase WCCC subsidy base rates to the 85th percentile of market beginning July 1, 2021, pursuant to E2SSB 5237 (child care & early dev. exp.).$117M
Child Care Stabilization GrantsDCYFFederal funding is provided for DCYF to administer financial supports to eligible childcare providers to reimburse them for payroll, operating expenses, and other eligible outlays, pursuant to the America's Rescue Plan Act$400M
Employer-supported ChildcareDCYFFunding is provided for DCYF to collaborate with the Department of Commerce in support of employer supported childcare initiatives, pursuant to E2SSB 5237 (childcare & early dev. exp.).$829,000
Unemployment Insurance Tax ReliefESDFunding is provided for unemployment insurance tax relief in calendar year 2022 for businesses most heavily impacted by unemployment related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.$500M
Enhance Mobile Crisis ResponseHCAExpand mobile crisis response team services statewide, particularly in BIPOC communities to ensure access to treatment resources. Enhanced mobile crisis response services are a preferred strategy for the person in distress, offering services focused on resolving mental health and substance use crises.$38.5M
Advance Equity on Community College CampusesHigher EdSupport innovative efforts to advance equitable outcomes for community and technical college students. Establish a new center for diversity, equity and inclusion that coordinates collaborative curricula reviews and removes equity barriers to student success. Fund faculty stipends to conduct curricula reviews on college campuses and provide technology grants. These grants will convert technical and laboratory-based instruction to an interactive online format.$16M
UW Hospital SupportUniversity of WashingtonOne-time funding is provided to support the operations and the teaching mission of the Harborview Medical Center (HMC) and the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC). By December 1, 2022, the University of Washington must report to the Legislature the impact of the state funding on the fiscal position of HMC and UWMC in the 2021-23 biennium.$40M
Diversity Equity Inclusion in Higher EducationUW, WSU, Evergreen, Western, Central, EasternFunding is provided for diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and anti-racism professional development for faculty and staff, DEI and anti-racism student training, and DEI campus climate assessments at the public institutions of higher education, pursuant to Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5227$1.7M
Public Service Oriented ProgramsUniversity of WashingtonOne-time funding is provided for financial assistance to students in public service oriented graduate and professional degree programs. Prioritization for traditionally underrepresented students expressing interest in physician assistant, community oriented public health, or social work programs$250,000
Lead in Drinking WaterDOHFunding is provided for Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1139, which requires the Department of Health to sample and test drinking water from state-funded elementary and secondary schools located in buildings built, or for which all plumbing was replaced, before 2016.$2.8M
Nursing Pathway PilotDOHFunding is provided for a one-year preparatory period related to the establishment of a nursing pathways pilot project for the long-term care workforce.$450,000

Addition­ally, there were several budget provisos of interest:

Health Profes­sion Loan Repay­ment: Nurse Educa­tors
After June 1, 1992, the depart­ment, in consul­ta­tion with the office and the depart­ment of social and health services, shall: 

(a) Deter­mine eligible creden­tialed health care profes­sions for the purposes of the health profes­sional loan repay­ment and schol­ar­ship program and the behav­ioral health loan repay­ment program autho­rized by this chapter. Eligi­bility shall be based upon an assess­ment that deter­mines that there is a shortage or insuf­fi­cient avail­ability of a creden­tialed profes­sion so as to jeopar­dize patient care and pose a threat to the public health and safety. The depart­ment shall consider the relative degree of short­ages among profes­sions when deter­mining eligi­bility. The depart­ment may add or remove profes­sions from eligi­bility based upon the deter­mi­na­tion that a profes­sion is no longer in shortage. Should a profes­sion no longer be eligible, partic­i­pants or eligible students who have received schol­ar­ships shall be eligible to continue to receive schol­ar­ships or loan repay­ments until they are no longer eligible or until their service oblig­a­tion has been completed; 

(b) Deter­mine health profes­sional shortage areas for each of the eligible creden­tialed health care profes­sions; and 

(c) Deter­mine under­served behav­ioral health areas for each of the eligible creden­tialed health care professions. 

For the 2017 – 2019, 2019 – 2021, and 2021 – 2023 fiscal biennia, consid­er­a­tion for eligi­bility shall also be given to regis­tered nursing students who have been accepted into an eligible nursing educa­tion program and have declared an inten­tion to teach nursing upon comple­tion of the nursing educa­tion program.

Nursing Commis­sion: Perfor­mance Audit
Within amounts appro­pri­ated in this section from the health profes­sions account, the Washington nursing commis­sion shall contract with the state auditor’s office to conduct a perfor­mance audit, specif­i­cally addressing the length of time required to license individ­uals who come from other states. The audit should address the obsta­cles contributing to any delay and make recom­men­da­tions for improvement.

Nursing Commis­sion: Timely Licen­sure Processing
Within amounts appro­pri­ated in this section, the Washington nursing commis­sion must hire suffi­cient staff to process appli­ca­tions for nursing licenses so that the time required for processing does not exceed seven days.

2021 Policy Priorities #

Public Health Districts – PASSED
HB 1152 estab­lishes a statewide Public Health Advisory Board under the DOH and includes a seat for WSNA. The Advisory Board will monitor the perfor­mance of, and provide recom­men­da­tions to, the govern­mental public health system and will also evaluate public health emergency response and the use of FHPS funding. The bill also creates a new require­ment that local boards of health must include non-elected members that are public health practi­tioners, consumers of public health, and commu­nity stake­holders. Boards that are currently comprised of only elected officials can retain current compo­si­tion if the local health juris­dic­tion had a public health advisory committee or board within its bylaws estab­lished by January 1, 2021. The bill passed the House, 56 – 41, and the Senate, 26 – 22. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill on April 22, and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Health System Trans­parency – PASSED
HB 1272 requires hospital to provide additional detail regarding expenses and revenues in finan­cial reports to DOH. The bill elimi­nates the exemp­tion from reporting infor­ma­tion about facility fees for off-campus clinics or providers that are located within 250 yards of the main hospital building. The bill also updates Commu­nity Benefit require­ments, including that Commu­nity Health Needs Assess­ments made public by hospi­tals include an addendum which must contain certain infor­ma­tion about activ­i­ties identi­fied as commu­nity health improve­ment services. The bill requires hospi­tals to post infor­ma­tion on their websites if they have an owner­ship interest in a debt collec­tion agency or have certain exchanges of revenue with debt collec­tion agencies. Consid­ering COVID and increased aware­ness on health equity, this year’s version of the bill also included require­ments for hospi­tals to collect and report on demographic infor­ma­tion of discharged patients (volun­tary partic­i­pa­tion from the patient). The 2021 version of the bill also includes an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary study on outcomes related acute care hospital staffing; UW School of Nursing is named as the lead entity for the study, which must be completed by September 2022. The bill passed the House, 58 – 40, and the Senate. 27 – 21. The governor signed the bill on May 3, and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Presump­tive Eligi­bility for Health Care Workers – PASSED
SB 5190 provides presump­tive eligi­bility” for health care workers during COVID-19 or any other federal or state declared health emergency. This means that the state will assume nurses and other health care workers contracted the virus or disease that is the subject of the health emergency at work, by virtue of the fact that nurses are working around it every shift. During COVID-19 or another declared health emergency, this bill makes it easier for nurses and other health care workers to access workers compen­sa­tion and unemploy­ment benefits. It has a clear and convincing” evidence standard for employers to rebut the presump­tion. The bill received bipar­tisan support in both legisla­tive chambers: it passed the Senate, 34 – 14, and the House, 84 – 14. The governor signed the bill on May 11, and it went into effect immediately. 

Health Emergency Labor Standards Act – PASSED
SB 5115 creates presump­tive eligi­bility for non-health care essen­tial workers for workers compen­sa­tion and unemploy­ment during a declared federal health emergency of a declared state emergency in every county of the state. Addition­ally, the bill requires employers to notify their employees and their employees’ union(s) within 24-hours of a known or suspected high-risk exposure to a disease that is the subject of a public health emergency. The bill passed almost unani­mously out of the Senate, 48 – 1, and passed the House, 68 – 30. The governor signed the bill on May 11, and it went into effect immediately. 

Anti-Retal­i­a­tion – PASSED
HB 1097 provides additional anti-retal­i­a­tion protec­tions for workers and provides L&I with additional tools to address workplace safety hazards. The bill was Governor request legis­la­tion. It increases the time for whistle­blowers to file a complaint with L&I from 30 days to 90 days. The bill also defines appro­priate relief when retal­i­a­tion occurs, which includes giving employees their job back and/​or civil penal­ties. The bill passed the House, 53 – 47, and the Senate, 30 – 19. The governor signed the bill on April 20, and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Worker Protec­tion Act — DEAD
HB 1076 provides a way for workers to effec­tively raise safety complaints and have them addressed in a timely, just manner. The bill gives workers and their advocates the ability to enforce labor and anti-discrim­i­na­tion laws on behalf of the state when the state is unable to do so itself. This is especially critical for enforce­ment of existing labor and workplace protec­tions. HB 1076 passed out of the House, 53 – 44 votes. The bill was never brought up for a vote in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. 

Health Equity Zones – PASSED
SB 5052 requires DOH to create health equity zones statewide. The zones are tasked with devel­oping projects that address and meet the needs of individual regions of the state. The bill allows for commu­ni­ties to self-identify as a health equity zone and develop their own projects. The budget appro­pri­ates $1.4 million dollars to fund the bill. The bill passed the Senate, 30 – 17, and the House, 57 – 40. The governor signed the bill on May 12, and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Contin­uing Educa­tion for Medical Providers on Equity — PASSED
SB 5229 requires licensed health profes­sionals to complete contin­uing educa­tion training on health equity. Individual licensing boards are required to conduct rule making on the specific require­ments for the Contin­uing Educa­tion credit. Training must be taken at least every four years. The bill also requires that a free option of the CE credit be offered. The bill passed the Senate, 35 – 14, and the House 57 – 41. The bill was signed by the governor on May 12 and went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Rosa Franklin Legisla­tive Intern­ship Schol­ar­ship Program - PASSED
SB 5431 estab­lishes a schol­ar­ship for Washington students who are accepted into and partic­i­pate in the legisla­tive intern­ship program in the Senate or House of Repre­sen­ta­tives. Students qualify based on finan­cial need. Rosa Franklin was a long-time legis­lator and a nurse. The bill passed unani­mously out of the Senate and with a House vote of 95 – 3. The bill was signed into law on April 16 and goes into effect July 25, 2021. 

2021 Other Bills WSNA Supported #

Depart­ment of Health Civil Penal­ties for Hospi­tals — PASSED
HB 1148 estab­lishes civil fines and stop place­ments for hospi­tals that fail or refuse to comply with state licensing standards. The bill also allows for DOH and the Office of Attorney General to recover enforce­ment costs associ­ated with inspec­tions. This bill provides stronger enforce­ment mecha­nisms, partic­u­larly around patient safety and well-being viola­tions. The bill passed the House, 60 – 37, and the Senate 32 – 16. The bill was signed into law by the governor on April 16 and took effect July 25, 2021. 

Nurse Delega­tion (Glucose) – DEAD
HB 1124 allows a regis­tered nurse to delegate glucose monitoring and testing to a regis­tered or certi­fied nursing assis­tant or a certi­fied home care aide. This bill passed the House unani­mously but was never pulled to the Senate floor for a vote.

Victims of Sexual Assault — PASSED
HB 1109 requires the Office of the Attorney General, in consul­ta­tion with the Washington Associ­a­tion of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, to collect status updates on cases tied to previ­ously unsub­mitted sexual assault kits collected prior to July 24, 2015. It also requires the Criminal Justice Training Commis­sion to conduct an annual case review program to review sexual assault inves­ti­ga­tions and prose­cu­tions for the purposes of improving training and case outcomes. Finally, the bill expands the statu­tory rights for sexual assault survivors. This bill passed the House and Senate unani­mously. It was signed by the governor and went into effect on April 26, 2021.

Making Juneteenth a Legal Holiday — PASSED
HB 1016 desig­nates June 19, a state holiday. June 19 is celebrated as Juneteenth” or Emanci­pa­tion Day to commem­o­rate the abolish­ment of slavery and recog­nize the contri­bu­tions of Black/​African Ameri­cans to society. The bill passed the House, 89 – 9, and the Senate 47 – 1. The bill was signed by the governor on May 13 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Diver­sity, Equity, Inclu­sion and Anti-Racism Training in Higher Educa­tion – PASSED
SB 5227 requires that a profes­sional devel­op­ment program on diver­sity, equity, inclu­sion (DEI), and anti-racism for faculty and staff is estab­lished at each public insti­tute of higher educa­tion begin­ning the 2022 – 23 academic year. The program must also work to improve academic, social, and health and wellness outcomes for students from histor­i­cally margin­al­ized commu­ni­ties. The program must be devel­oped in partner­ship with admin­is­tra­tion, faculty, staff, and student leader­ship. This bill passed the Senate, 35 – 14, and the House, 67 – 31. The bill was signed by the governor on May 12 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Equity and Access in Higher Educa­tion (Commu­nity & Technical Colleges) – PASSED
SB 5194 requires that, begin­ning in 2022, all commu­nity and technical colleges must submit to the State Board of Commu­nity & Technical Colleges strategic plans for achieving diver­sity, equity, and inclu­sion on their campuses. The state board must develop a model faculty diver­sity program to aid in recruit­ment and reten­tion of faculty from diverse backgrounds. Addition­ally, this bill converts 200 part-time faculty positions to full-time faculty positions and requires the State Board to collect data and assess the impact of these conver­sions on student outcomes. This bill passed the Senate, 30 – 19, and the House, 60 – 38. The bill was signed by the governor on May 12 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Health Equity in Medical Training – PASSED
SB 5228 requires each public medical school to develop curriculum for medical students on health equity by January 1, 2023. The objec­tive of the health equity curriculum must be to provide tools for elimi­nating struc­tural racism in health­care systems and to build cultural safety. Each UWSOM and WSUCOM student must complete a course, or courses, on health equity prior to gradu­ating. This bill passed the Senate, 31 – 17, and the House, 56 – 42. It was signed into law by the governor on April 16.

Issuance of a Certifi­cate of Birth Resulting in Still­birth - PASSED
HB 1031 allows a person who gave birth resulting in a still­birth to request and receive a certifi­cate of birth resulting in still­birth from the state or local regis­trar. The bill passed unani­mously out of the Senate and 85 – 13 out of the House. The bill was signed into law by the governor on April 16. 

Expan­sion of Paid Family Medical Leave Program – PASSED
HB 1073 expands on the 2017 law. The bill provides grants to certain employee’s ineli­gible for paid family and medical leave benefits due to insuf­fi­cient hours worked. The bill also provides grants to smaller employers with employees taking leave in receipt of a grant. The bill passed the House, 56 – 40, and the Senate 29 – 20. The bill was signed into law on April 21. 

Expanded Coverage of Paid Family and Medical Leave – PASSED
SB 5097 expands the defin­i­tion of family member” for Paid Family and Medical Leave to include any individual who regularly resides in the employ­ee’s home or where the relation­ship creates an expec­ta­tion that the employee care for the person, and that individual depends on the employee for care. It passed the Senate, 29 – 19, and the House, 55 – 42. The bill was signed by the governor on May 10 and went into effect on July 25, 2021.

Universal Health Care Commis­sion – PASSED
SB 5399 estab­lishes a Universal Health Care Commis­sion with the purpose of creating immediate and impactful changes in Washing­ton’s health care access and delivery system. The commis­sion is tasked to prepare the state for the creation of a health care system to provide coverage and access through a universal financing system, including a unified financing system once federal authority has been acquired. The bill passed the Senate, 28 – 20, and the House 57 – 40. The bill was signed by the governor on May 13 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Menstrual Products in K‑12 Schools — PASSED
HB 1273 requires school districts, private K‑12 schools, charter schools, state tribal compact schools, and public and private insti­tu­tions of higher educa­tion to make menstrual hygiene products avail­able at no cost by the begin­ning of the 2022 – 23 academic year. The cost of supplying the products is put on the schools. The bill passed the House, 91 – 7, and the Senate 43 – 5. The bill was signed by the governor on May 3 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Lead in Drinking Water — PASSED
HB 1139 directs school districts and schools to commu­ni­cate infor­ma­tion and take mitiga­tion measures when lead concen­tra­tions are found to be above state mandated thresh­olds. Schools and school districts are required to adopt an action plan for addressing lead in drinking water. The bill makes DOH the principal agency for lead testing and remedi­a­tion for schools instead of commu­nity water systems. The bill requires school districts, charter schools, the state School for the Blind, and the state School for the Deaf to cooperate with the DOH or contract for sampling and testing for lead conta­m­i­na­tion at drinking water outlets in school build­ings built, or with all plumbing replaced, before 2016. The bill passed out of the House, 94 – 4, and passed the Senate unani­mously. The bill was signed by the governor on May 3 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Audio-only Telemed­i­cine PASSED
HB 1196 requires reimburse­ment for audio-only telemed­i­cine services. This bill expands the defin­i­tion of telemed­i­cine for purposes of hospital privi­leging to include audio-only telemed­i­cine services and requires the Insur­ance Commis­sioner and the Collab­o­ra­tive for the Advance­ment of Telemed­i­cine to study and make recom­men­da­tions regarding telemed­i­cine. This bill passed the House, 94 – 3, and the Senate, 45 – 4. The bill was signed by the governor on May 3 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Maternal Health Outcomes PASSED

SB 5068 provides one-year of postpartum coverage through Apple Health (Medicaid) – expands from previous postpartum coverage of 60 days. The imple­men­ta­tion date is June 1, 2022. It passed the Senate unani­mously and the House, 96 – 1. The governor signed this bill into law on April 16, and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Provider Reimburse­ment for PPE – COVID-19 – PASSED
SB 5159 requires, for the duration of the federal public health state of emergency related to COVID-19, that health benefit plans reimburse health care providers who bill for incurred PPE expenses. This bill passed both the Senate and House unani­mously. It was signed into law by the governor on April 16 and went into effect July 25, 2021. 

Employee Volun­tary Use of PPE PASSED
SB 5254 requires that during a public health emergency, every employer who does not require employees or contrac­tors to wear a specific type of PPE must accom­mo­date an employ­ee’s or contrac­tor’s volun­tary use of that specific type of PPE, if: 

  • the volun­tary use of these protec­tive devices and equip­ment does not intro­duce hazards to the work environ­ment and is consis­tent with the WISHA and L&I rules;
  • the use of facial cover­ings does not inter­fere with an employ­er’s security require­ments; and 
  • the volun­tary use of these protec­tive devices and equip­ment does not conflict with standards for that specific type of equip­ment estab­lished by the Depart­ment of Health or L&I.

This bill passed the Senate, 40 – 7, and the House, 97 – 1. The governor signed this bill into law, and it went into effect April 26, 2021. 

2021 Bills SNOW Supported #

Protecting Students with Seizure Disor­ders — PASSED
HB 1085 requires school districts to provide individual health plans (IHPs) for students with epilepsy or other seizure disor­ders. The bill requires the Washington State School Director’s Associ­a­tion to adopt a model policy and proce­dure that school districts may use to imple­ment IHP require­ments. The bill also provides criminal and civil immunity provi­sions for persons, who in good faith, aid or provide services to students with epilepsy or other seizure disor­ders. The bill passed the both the House and Senate unani­mously. The governor signed the bill into law on April 14 and it went into effect July 25, 2021. 

School Based Health Centers - PASSED
HB 1225 creates a School Based Health Centers (SBHC) program office in DOH. SBHC is defined as a collab­o­ra­tion between the commu­nity, the school, and a sponsoring agency that operates the school-based health center, which is a student-focused health center located in or adjacent to a school that provides integrated medical, behav­ioral health, and other health care services such as dental care. SNOW and WSNA partic­i­pated in an interim work group on SBHCs out of which this bill was devel­oped. This bill passed the House, 60 – 36, and the Senate unanimously.

Procuring Computers and Devices for Public School — PASSED
HB 1365 requires the Office of the Super­in­ten­dent of Public Instruc­tion (OSPI) to develop and imple­ment a technology grant program. The bill requires each Educa­tional Service District to provide technology consul­ta­tion and training to schools. OSPI is required to provide biannual updates to the legis­la­ture on the status of attaining universal student access to learning devices. The bill passed the House, 59 – 39, and the Senate, 36 – 13. The bill was signed by the governor on May 13 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Student Access to Behav­ioral Health Resources — PASSED
HB 1373 requires public schools to share contact infor­ma­tion for behav­ioral health organi­za­tions on their website and social media. The bill passed the House, 93 – 5, and passed the Senate unani­mously. The bill was signed by the governor on May 3 and went into effect July 25, 2021.

Equity Training in K‑12 Schools — PASSED
SB 5044 adds equity, diver­sity, inclu­sion, and anti-racism to existing cultural compe­tency training and profes­sional devel­op­ment programs for school board direc­tors, district staff, and school staff. The bill also revises the defin­i­tion of, and model standards for, cultural compe­tency to include anti-racism. The bill directs school districts to prior­i­tize one of three state-funded profes­sional learning days to focus first on these topics. The bill passed the Senate, 30 – 19, and the House, 57 – 40. The bill was signed by the governor on May 5 and went into effect July 25, 2021.