Week six recap
Today is the first cutoff of the legislative session – meaning all policy bills must be voted out of the policy committee in their house of origin to keep moving through the process. Bills that are not voted out of a policy committee by today will be dead. This first cutoff wraps up another busy week in Olympia.
On Monday, the House Labor Committee voted our workplace violence prevention bill, HB 1931, out of committee. The Senate version, SB 5912, had a hearing in the Senate Labor Committee on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, WSNA testified before the House Education Committee two bills, SB 5931 and SB 5932, that would create an incentive grant program for nurse educators and increase salaries for nursing faculty at community and technical colleges – you can watch our testimony here. WSNA Education Director Gloria Brigham testified in support of HB 1726 this week. This bill would allow specific health care professionals to precept a variety of health profession students, such as pharmacists, nurses and doctors under certain conditions. Watch Gloria’s testimony here.
This week there were no committee hearings on our Rest Breaks bills (SB 5190 / HB 1155). Both bills have had hearings in their respective fiscal committees and await committee votes.
On Wednesday, a bill that WSNA has supported for several years that would increase the tobacco purchase age to 21 passed the House 66-30!
Rest breaks bill update
Although neither of our Rest Break bills (SB 5190 / HB 1155) had committee hearings this week, your government relations team continued to work hard to build support for them in Olympia.
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 was voted out of committee on Tuesday and has been referred to Ways and Means.
As our bills continue to move we will still need your help. We know that when nurses speak, lawmakers listen! If you haven’t done so already, click here to tell your legislators to support rest breaks for nurses.
Workplace violence prevention bills
On Monday our Workplace Violence Prevention bill, HB 1931, was voted out of the House Labor Committee unanimously! It is now heads to the House Appropriations Committee where we look forward to a hearing in the near future.
The companion bill, SB 5912, sponsored by Senator Karen Keiser (D-33rd LD) and Senator Maureen Walsh (R-16th LD) was heard by the Senate Labor Committee on Tuesday. Travis Elmore, RN, WSNA Associate Director of Public Affairs, testified in support of the legislation. You can watch Travis’s testimony here.
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.
WSNA Lobby Day – Feb. 28
WSNA’s Lobby Day is next week! This event will include a morning briefing session to help participants get up-to-speed on key issues before the legislature. A few legislators will be invited to speak at this event, and WSNA’s Legislative & Health Policy Council will present the Association’s 2019 Legislative Priorities.
Time will also be spent role-playing to prepare for afternoon appointments with your legislators. After lunch, you will head up to Capitol Hill to attend meetings with your legislators. This is a great opportunity for nurses to talk with their lawmakers about key issues, such as the need for uninterrupted rest breaks and workplace violence prevention as well as funding for school nurses, nursing education faculty, and public health.
We are happy to offer 2.75 CNE contact hours this year! More information can be found here.
As news about our legislative priorities develops, watch for Action Alerts from WSNA regarding when to weigh in.
Please look for regular email updates on legislative action as the legislative session gets underway – we look forward to your participation in the process!