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Legislative Session Week 6

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Sixth week of Session

Today is the 40th day of the 60-day session – and this week marked the house of origin cutoff, with all bills needing to be voted out of the chamber in which they originated by Feb. 14 to continue moving this session. The Senate held a hearing on the Rest Breaks bill (HB 1715) this week, and several other WSNA priority bills are up for hearing next week. Please note that this weekend, on Feb. 17, many legislators will hold Town Hall meetings. See the link below to look for a Town Hall in your district.

In this week’s update:

  • Rest Breaks hearing in the Senate 
  • Attend your legislators’ town hall 
  • WSNA priority bills still moving 
  • Revenue forecast and supplemental budgets

WSNA’s 2018 Legislative Priorities can be found here.

Rest Breaks hearing in the Senate

Thank you to WSNA member Ingrid Anderson, RN, for testifying in support of the Rest Breaks bill, HB 1715, in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee yesterday. Ingrid works in an Emergency Department and shared what it was like to work without uninterrupted breaks – and how, after taking the Emergency Department to arbitration, working conditions and patient satisfaction improved greatly once nurses in that unit began receiving their meal and rest breaks.

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If you haven’t yet asked your Senator to support HB 1715, click on the “Take Action” button below to send your Senator an email.

Attend your legislator’s town hall

Many legislators are holding Town Hall meetings on Feb. 17. WSNA has compiled a list of Town Halls by legislative district. You can access that listhere.

If you don’t know your legislative district, you can look it up by entering your home address in the legislature’s district finder.

Please plan on attending your legislators’ town hall – strong nursing representation at these meetings can help push our priority bills forward. It’s a great time to ask your legislators about their position on the Rest Breaks bill (HB 1715) or to thank them for their support.

WSNA priority bills still moving

Many of WSNA’s legislative priorities passed out of their chamber of origin and are still moving forward.

Nurse Education Funding: HB 2143 would add advance degree health professions to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program. This bill passed out of the House, 95-3. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee next week.

Surprise Billing (Medical Debt)HB 2114 passed the House, 72-26, this week. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee next week.

Address the Opioid CrisisHB 2489, the Governor’s omnibus opioid bill, passed the House unanimously, 98-0, and is now in the Senate. It had a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee earlier this week.

Secure Medicine Return: HB 1047 passed the House, 86-12, last week. It is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee next week.

We will continue to keep you updated on these bills as they move through the next phase.

Revenue forecast and supplemental budgets

The State Revenue and Economic Forecast Council held its quarterly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15, to discuss the current and projected economic outlook for the state budget. The state is projected to have an additional $650 million for the remainder of the current 2017-19 biennium, and the revenue outlook for the 2019-21 biennium is expected to be up by about the same amount. The Council’s gives the legislature the figures they need to finalize their 2018 supplement budget proposals.

The Senate is expected to release its budget on Monday, Feb. 19, with the House release planned for the next day. Budget hearings in both chambers are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Please look for regular email updates on legislative action as session continues – we look forward to your participation in the process!