WSNA’s update from Olympia and the 2023 legislative session

Read the latest about the Safe Staffing Standards bill, presumptive eligibility for nurses with PTSD and other nurse bills moving in Olympia.

Welcome to WSNA's update from Olympia and the 2023 legislative session.

In this week’s update you'll find a recap on week 10 including:

1. Update on Safe Staffing Standards bill - NEW Action Alert below!

2. Expanding workers compensation for nurses with PTSD

3. Other nurse bills moving in Olympia

1. Update of Safe Staffing bill - TAKE ACTION NOW!

Sb5236 bill snip 3 17 23

The House Labor committee heard testimony on our safe staffing bill, SB 5236, on Wednesday morning of this week. Twelve people signed in to testify in support of the bill. Edna Cortez, RN and Vice Chair of WSNA’s Cabinet on Economic & General Welfare represented WSNA by testifying in support of the bill. More than 2,100 people signed in support of the bill with only 29 people signing in Con or Other. You may watch the hearing and testimonies given here.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: SB 5236 is scheduled to be voted on in the House Labor committee on Tuesday, March 21. If voted to move forward in the process, it will then go onto the House fiscal committee, aka Appropriations, before going to a House floor vote. Please take a moment to email your Representatives TODAY to let them know why they should support safe staffing.

If you have already emailed your legislators before, we’re asking you to please do it again now. Up until this point we’ve been emailing with Senators and now your Representatives need to hear from you.

2. Expanding workers compensation for nurses with PTSD

The House labor committee heard testimony on SB 5454 on Friday morning. WSNA was the only stakeholder to testify on the bill. Under current workers compensation law, nurses can only qualify for benefits for PTSD if they can pinpoint their PTSD to a specific incident. If SB 5454 becomes law, nurses would no longer need to associate their PTSD with a specific incident to qualify for workers compensation. An earlier version of this bill included a presumption of eligibility for PTSD for nurses, but that presumption had to be removed in the Ways & Means committee due to high costs to the state.

3. Other nurse related bills that made it past cutoff

Post Retirement Employment for Nurses: A bill sponsored by Senator Cleveland (D-Vancouver), SB 5538, had a hearing in the House Appropriations committee on Thursday. The bill allows state nurse retirees to come back and work for a state agency for up to 1040 hours without losing their retirement benefits.

Out of State Nurse Registration: HB 1547, was heard in Senate Health Care committee on Friday. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Caldier (R-Gig Harbor) and allows for nurses practicing in Washington to work for up to 30 days before obtaining a temporary license. In order for this to apply a nurse must have good standing in Alaska, California, Idaho or Oregon. The bill also requires the nursing commission to expedite temporary practice permits for nurses living in those states.