Week four recap
Despite the snow earlier this week, things were busy in Olympia! Our Government Relations Team has been busy meeting with legislators and testifying on various bills being heard in Committee. On Wednesday, the Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses were in Olympia to meet with their legislators – educating about their full practice authority and being prescribers and how they work in a variety of capacities in our communities. It was a full day and they had a warm reception from legislators who have mental and behavioral health as a top priority this session.
During Friday morning’s hearings, WSNA contract lobbyist, Amy Brackenbury joined public health officials, pediatricians, and others in testifying in support of a bill that would no longer let parents claim a “personal and philosophical exemption” to prevent their children from receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Paul Harris (R-17th LD) from Vancouver, Washington – partially in response to the measles outbreak that has sickened more than 50 people in Vancouver. You can watch this morning’s press conference about this legislation here.
Register for WSNA Lobby Day
Nurses who show up in Olympia make a difference - and can inspire legislators to support critical issues like uninterrupted meal and rest breaks! Please join us in Olympia on February 28 for WSNA Lobby Day. You will also receive 2.75 CNE contact hours for your participation.
More information and Lobby Day registration links are here.
Rest Breaks Bill update
Next week, our rest breaks bills will have hearings in the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee (SB 5190 / HB 1155. Your legislators need to hear from you on this issue – please click here to email them!
In an effort to derail the success of this legislation, the Hospital Association has introduced an “alternative” that would undermine worker and patient safety. SB 5344 adds language about rest breaks into an existing law, but this language simply maintains the status quo. Other language in this bill rolls back worker protections that exist under current law and sets a max working week for nurses at 60 hours! Tell legislators to protect patient safety and oppose SB 5344 and nurses working to exhaustion while they care for us and to support HB 1155 and SB 5190.
Workplace Violence bill introduced
When nurses showed up at WSNA’s Nurses Speak events this fall, your stories of workplace violence were shocking to legislators and candidates – most had no idea that nurses and other health care workers are nearly five times more likely to be assaulted than the rest of the American workforce.
This week, HB 1931 was introduced in the House with bipartisan support. This bill updates the definition of workplace violence, requires health care facilities to update their workplace violence prevention plans every three years and outlines what needs to be included in those plans, and provides specificity around what elements must be included in workplace violence prevention trainings.
We expect a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate next week.
Advanced practice psychiatric nurses lobby in Olympia
A small, but mighty, group of psychiatric ARNPs joined us in Olympia on Wednesday for the Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses Lobby Day to learn about the legislative process and to educate their lawmakers on the education and role of psychiatric nurse practitioners. Legislators and their aides appreciated the opportunity to speak with these mental and behavioral health professionals – to both understand their role as community providers and to engage them as a resource on behavioral health issues.
Funding for school nurses
WSNA testified in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee this morning on a bill that would update the prototypical school model to provide additional school nurses if funded in the state budget. WSNA encouraged legislators to make this policy change, and to remember that school nurses in small, rural school districts are funded through the School Nurse Corps – so this policy update would only help larger school districts and the School Nurse Corps needs additional funding as well.
Please look for regular email updates on legislative action as the legislative session gets underway – we look forward to your participation in the process!