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In this week’s update:

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

Week seven recap

It was a great week for RNs and our priorities in Olympia!

On Thursday, nurses from around the state converged in Olympia for WSNA Lobby Day. After a morning preparation, nurses visited their legislators at the capitol – asking them to support nurses and patient safety!

Today is the second cutoff of the legislative session – meaning that bills with a fiscal impact must be voted out of either House Appropriations or Senate Ways & Means to keep moving through the legislative process. Read on below to see how WSNA priority bills fared.

WSNA Lobby Day 2019

Nearly 100 RNs from around the state attended Lobby Day! The morning briefing session helped participants get up-to-speed on key issues and WSNA’s legislative priorities. WSNA’s Legislative & Health Policy Council presented the 2018 Nursing Champion Awards to Rep. Mosbrucker (14 LD - R) and Rep. Peterson (21 LD - D) in recognition of their work on key legislation that supports nurses and patients.

In the afternoon, RNs went up to the hill to have conversations with lawmakers about the need for uninterrupted rest breaks, workplace violence prevention, as well as funding for school nurses, nursing faculty and public health.

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Rest breaks bill update

Thanks in large part to your advocacy, both the Senate and House versions of our Rest Breaks bills (SB 5190 / HB 1155) were voted out of their fiscal committees this week.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to move HB 1155 to the Rules Committee – the bill's next step will be the House floor. The Senate Ways & Means Committee took the same action on SB 5190 on Wednesday, and this bill now advances to the Rules Committee where it will wait to advance to the Senate floor. Your support and advocacy will be crucial to ensuring that both bills get a vote by the full House and Senate.

We will still need your help as these bills move on to Rules Committee. 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 Thursday, our workplace violence bill HB 1931 was unanimously voted out of the House Appropriations Committee. Both Rep. Cody and Rep. Schmick spoke in support of the bill. You can watch the Committee’s vote here.

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The bill updates 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. Tell your legislators that this bill is important for nurses!

School nurse legislation

Both WSNA and SNOW (School Nurse Organization of Washington) are supporting a bill, SB 5315, that would change the allocation model that determines how many nurses are in our state’s public schools. This bill would not only increase the number of school nurses but also allocates additional school counselors, social workers and psychologists – starting with our state’s schools that have the highest percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price meals.

Family advocates, a pediatrician and others joined school nurses in speaking in support of SB 5315 in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Thursday evening. You can watch their powerful testimony here:

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