WSNA in Olympia: 2020 Legislative Session #
In this week’s update:
- Week 8 Recap
- Legislative Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- WSNA Budget Priorities
- Sexual Assault Bill Moves Forward
- Legislative Town Halls
Week 8 Recap #
Today, all non-NTIB bills must pass out of the opposite house in order to remain viable. After this crucial cutoff, Legislators will begin hammering out the details on their budgets with Sine Die (adjournment) just around the corner.
This week, legislators also introduced and heard bills on the state’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. With Washington being the first state to face a large outbreak of the virus, lawmakers were eager to pass legislation to allocated funds to help address this emergency. For information on the legislative response to COVID-19, see below.
Read more on WSNA’s 2020 Legislative Priorities
Legislative Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) #
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, both the House and the Senate passed legislation with funding to help support Public Health in combatting the virus. HB 2965, sponsored by Rep. Cody (D‑West Seattle) and Rep. Schmick (R‑Colfax), appropriates more than $100 million to support COVID-19 response.
The bill also authorizes DSHS to determine nursing facility payments to adequately respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, the bill states that an individual under quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak does not need to meet the requirement of being available to work in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
WSNA Budget Priorities #
This week lawmakers were focused on moving policy bills before Friday’s deadline. As a result, information on the budget has not changed. As a reminder, the House allocated $1.7 million to the School Nurse Corp, nearly one million less than our original ask. The Senate did not allocate any funding, but we have continued to make the case for the need for this funding. WSNA government relations team is working hard to make sure that funding for the School Nurse Corps makes it into the final budget.
This week, school nurse leaders Lynn Nelson, MSN, RN, and Tessa Mcllraith, BSN, RN, authored a blog post about how the COVID-19 outbreak further highlights the need for the state to invest in school nurses.
Health System Financial Transparency #
ESHB 2036 had a hearing in Senate Ways & Means on Saturday, February 29. The Washington State Labor Council represented labor stakeholders and testified in support of the bill. On March 2, the committee took executive action on the bill. The bill did not pass out of committee.
We are disappointed that this bill is no longer moving this session, but will continue to work this issue throughout this interim and next session.
Sexual Assault Bill Moves Forward #
On Thursday, HB 6158, concerning model sexual assault protocols for hospitals and clinics, passed the House. The vote was unanimous. The bill will now be delivered to the Governor’s Office and signed into law.
Please look for regular email updates on legislative action as the legislative session continues – we look forward to your participation in the process!