WSNA in Olympia: 2021 Legislative Session Week 9

This was the ninth week of the 2021 legislative session. Tuesday was the deadline for policy bills to be voted out of the chamber in which they originated.

In this week’s update:

  • Week 9 Recap
  • WSNA Testimony This Week
  • Third Public Health Listening Session
  • Legislator Virtual Town Hall Meetings

Week 9

This was the ninth week of the 2021 legislative session. Tuesday was the deadline for policy bills to be voted out of the chamber in which they originated. Now, Committee hearings have begun in the opposite house (e.g., so bills that passed the House are now being heard in the Senate and vice versa). The next cutoff is March 26 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.

WSNA Testimony This Week

This week, WSNA testified on several bills in 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. Many WSNA nurses have shared their experiences with contracting COVID, running out of paid time off, and never being told by their employer that they could apply for workers compensation. WSNA member and Pierce County Emergency Department nurse Shelly Pollock Mead testified in support of SB 5190 in the House Labor Committee this morning.

210312 mead 5190

HB 1097: Anti-Retaliation

WSNA Legislative & Health Policy Council member Erin Allison testified in support of HB 1097 in the Senate Labor Committee on Wednesday. This bill strengthens worker protections from employer retaliation within the Department of Labor & Industries. Erin shared her experience watching a colleague speak up for workplace safety during COVID and then lose his job.

210312 allison 1097

HB 1124: Nurse Delegation

On Wednesday, WSNA’s Director of Nursing Practice Gloria Brigham testified in support of HB 1124 in the Senate Health Care Committee. 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.

210312 brigham 1124

Third Public Health Listening Session

HB 1152 passed out of the House on Monday by a vote of 56-41.

Last night we held a third listening session for WSNA’s Public Health Nurses. HB 1152 sponsor Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and Molly Voris, Public Health and Health Care Policy Advisor to Governor Inslee participated in the meeting, providing updates and laying out the vision for this bill – they also answered questions from WSNA members. If you are a Public Health Nurse who missed this meeting, please reach out to your Nurse Representative for a more detailed update.

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!