WSNA in Olympia: 2021 Legislative Session Week 10

In this week’s update:

  • Week 10 Recap
  • Budget News
  • Bills Pass Out of Committee
  • WSNA Testi­fies on Key Bills
  • Legis­lator Virtual Town Hall Meetings

Week 10

This was the tenth week of the 2021 legisla­tive session. Committee hearings continued this week ahead of the March 26 cutoff when policy bills must be voted out of committee in the opposite chamber.

All floor sessions, including debate and votes on bills, are being aired on TVW. WSNA’s 2021 Legisla­tive Prior­i­ties are avail­able online.

Budget News

This week the Washington State Revenue and Economic Forecast Council released the latest revenue forecast, impacting the amount of funding the legis­la­ture will have to appro­priate in the 2021 – 23 operating budget. There is an increase of $1.9 billion for the 2021 – 23 biennium.

Addition­ally, Washington state will receive $7 billion in federal COVID relief funding through the American Rescue Plan – with $2 billion of that funding going directly to cities and counties. 

Bills Pass Out of Committee

This week, several WSNA priority bills passed out of policy committees:

SB 5190: Health Care Worker Presump­tive Eligibility

SB 5190 provides health care workers with presump­tive eligi­bility for workers compen­sa­tion and unemploy­ment benefits during a declared state or federal health emergency. This bill passed out of the House Labor Committee today. 

HB 1097: Anti-Retaliation

HB 1097 passed out of the Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday, March 17. This bill strengthens worker protec­tions from employer retal­i­a­tion within the Depart­ment of Labor & Industries. 

HB 1124: Nurse Delegation

HB 1124 passed out of the Senate Health Care Committee last Friday. This bill allows a regis­tered nurse to delegate glucose monitoring and testing to a regis­tered or certi­fied nursing assis­tant or a certi­fied home care aide. 

WSNA Testi­fies on Key Bills

HB 1272: Health System Transparency 

This morning, HB 1272 had a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. Justin Gill testi­fied in support of the bill for WSNA. HB 1272 provides more health system trans­parency by requiring hospi­tals to report more finan­cial details to the state. A more accurate picture of hospital finances will allow legis­la­tors to make more informed policy decisions, especially with our state’s health care spending.

210319 gill justin 1272

HB 1076: Worker Protec­tion Act

On Monday, HB 1076 had a hearing in the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee. This bill estab­lishes a new pathway in law known as qui tam for associ­a­tions and unions to bring legal claims on behalf of their members for workplace viola­tions having to do with safety and health, wage and hour viola­tions, health care manda­tory overtime and more. Julia Barcott testi­fied in support for WSNA.

210319 barcott julia 1076

HB 1148: Civil Penalty Struc­ture within the Depart­ment of Health

Justin Gill also testi­fied in support of HB 1148 today in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. This bill estab­lishes civil fines, condi­tions on the license, and stop place­ments as penal­ties for hospi­tals that fail or refuse to comply with state licensing require­ments. This struc­ture would be similar to the civil penalty struc­ture that exists within the Depart­ment of Labor and Indus­tries and would provide a stronger enforce­ment mecha­nism for DOH.

210319 gill justin 1148

Legis­lator Virtual Town Hall Meetings

With the legis­la­ture meeting remotely, this year’s Legis­lator Town Hall meetings will also be held remotely. The House Democ­rats have released their list of Virtual Town Hall meetings and the Senate Democ­rats now have their Virtual Town Hall meetings avail­able on a calendar. Many of these are coming up quickly – and they are listed by date rather than district.

We have not yet seen the House Repub­li­cans or Senate Repub­li­cans full list of Virtual Town Hall meetings; however, many are holding them. If you live in a legisla­tive district with Repub­lican legis­la­tors, you can sign up for their individual legisla­tive electronic newslet­ters to receive infor­ma­tion like this. You can also sign up for the House Repub­lican Caucus newsletter here or the Senate Repub­lican Caucus newsletter here.

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