In this week’s update:

  • Week five recap
  • Register for WSNA Lobby Day
  • Rest break bill update – email your legislators
  • Workplace violence bills update

For more on WSNA’s 2019 Legisla­tive Prior­i­ties click here.

Week five recap #

For the first time anyone can remember, all committee hearings were canceled on Monday due to snow. The legis­la­ture reopened on Tuesday, and it was another busy week of hearings and meetings with legis­la­tors. Some highlights include fiscal committee hearings on our rest breaks bills, a House hearing on our workplace violence preven­tion bill, the intro­duc­tion of a Senate companion bill on workplace violence preven­tion and a Friday hearing on the hospital rest breaks bill that we oppose.

Register for WSNA Lobby Day #

WSNA’s Lobby Day is just over a week away! You can still register to join us in Olympia on Feb. 28 for WSNA Lobby Day. After a morning educa­tion session, we have sched­uled meetings on the hill with your legis­la­tors. It’s a great oppor­tu­nity to let your legis­la­tors hear directly from you on the impor­tance of uninter­rupted breaks and workplace violence preven­tion. 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 #

On Wednesday, our rest breaks bills (SB 5190 / HB 1155) had hearings in the House Appro­pri­a­tions Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee. WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Ed Zercher joined others in testi­fying in support of these bills. As the nurse repre­sen­ta­tive for the Univer­sity of Washington Medical Center for the last decade, Ed provided key insight into why we believe the fiscal note on this bill is flawed. You can watch Ed’s testi­mony to the Senate Ways & Means Committee here:

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Your legis­la­tors need to continue hearing from you on this issue – please click here to email them if you haven’t already!

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! This bill had a hearing on Friday morning – both WSNA member and former State Repre­sen­ta­tive Dawn Morrell and WSNA Execu­tive Director Sally Watkins were on hand to testify in opposi­tion to this bill and to clarify that without a change to the under­lying state breaks standard for nursing, this bill will do nothing to improve the situa­tion around rest breaks.

Click here to Take Action and 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 #

On Monday we learned that our workplace violence bill, HB 1931, would have a hearing in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday. Testi­mony opened with bipar­tisan comments from two of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Mari Leavitt (D‑28th LD) and Rep. Mike Volz (R‑6th LD). Melissa Johnson, a lobbyist for WSNA, testi­fied in support of this bill. You can watch the hearing here.

A companion bill was also intro­duced in the Senate this week, SB 5912 sponsored by Senator Karen Keiser (D‑33rd LD) and Senator Maureen Walsh (R‑16th LD). State Senators Mona Das (D‑47th LD) and Joe Nguyen (D‑34th LD) also co-sponsored this legis­la­tion. With the policy cutoff looming next Friday, it is unclear if the Senate bill will receive a hearing this year.

These bills update the defin­i­tion of workplace violence, require health care facil­i­ties to update their workplace violence preven­tion plans every three years (with an annual review of incidents and any neces­sary adjust­ments) and outline what needs to be included in those plans, and provide speci­ficity around what elements must be included in workplace violence preven­tion trainings.

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