The legislative session is winding down. Read the latest about the Safe Staffing Standards bill, presumptive eligibility for nurses with PTSD and other nurse bills moving in Olympia.
April 4, 2023
Welcome to WSNA's update from Olympia and the 2023 legislative session.
In this week’s update you'll find a recap on week 12 including:
1. Legislative session winding down
2. Budget update - House releases 2023-35 budget proposal
3. Safe Staffing Standards bill heads to House floor - Email Your Reps Below!
4. Expanding workers compensation for nurses with PTSD
With just over three weeks left of the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers are turning their attention to the budget. Tuesday, April 4th is the final fiscal committee cutoff date. This means that all bills that are not out of their fiscal committee will no longer be viable this legislative session. April 12th is the final day for bills to be voted out of the Senate or the House.
On Monday, the House released their proposed budget for the next biennium. The House fiscal committee, Appropriations, heard testimony on the proposal the same day. The House voted the budget bill out of committee on Wednesday, March 29.
The House budget includes $69.5 billion in state spending over the next biennium. The budget includes $704 million for affordable housing and $893 million for behavioral health. Both the Senate and House budget included nearly $2 billion in funding for state employee raises and increases in funding for behavioral health care facilities.
The House budget did not include funding for the safe staffing bill, but this is standard practice since the staffing bill is a Senate bill. We expect to see staffing funding in the final budget once the two budgets are reconciled in the next few weeks.
The House budget includes significant funding for nurse education programs in the state. Just over $9 million is appropriated in the house budget to go to public 4-year university programs and $3.6 million is allocated to community & technical college nursing programs.
Meanwhile the Senate continued to move their budget through the process and the budget bill was voted out of the Senate with a 40-9 vote. Budget teams from the House and the Senate are working behind the scenes to reconcile the two budgets with a compromise ready by Sine Die on April 23.
The House Appropriations committee heard testimony on the safe staffing bill, SB 5236, on Thursday, March 30th. WSNA Government Affairs Director, Katharine Weiss, represented the Washington Safe & Healthy Coalition by providing testimony in favor of the bill. The bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Friday evening. Once that vote happens, the bill will move to the rules committee and then the House floor for a final vote. This is the last step before the bill heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
SB 5454 is scheduled for a hearing in the Appropriations committee on Saturday, April 1. WSNA along with the other nursing health care unions plan to testify in support of the bill. SB 5454 is scheduled for executive session on the following Tuesday, April 4.