WSNA in Olympia: 2020 Legislative Session

In this week’s update:

  • Week 6 Recap
  • Revenue Forecast
  • Legisla­tive Town Halls
  • Health System Finan­cial Transparency 
  • Sexual Assault Bill
  • Nurse Licen­sure Compact

Week 6 Recap

It was a busy week of floor action at the State Capitol. Wednesday night was the House of Origin cutoff which means that all bills not neces­sary to imple­ment the budget (NTIB) must be voted out of their original legisla­tive chamber or they would no longer be viable. Bills that were voted out prior to cutoff will have hearings in the opposite chambers until the next policy cutoff on Friday, Feb. 28.

Read more on WSNA’s 2020 Legisla­tive Prior­i­ties.


Revenue Forecast & Upcoming Budgets

On Wednesday the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released their latest evalu­a­tion of state revenue for the 19 – 20 biennium and the 21 – 22 biennium. The forecast showed state revenues increased by $606 million more than expected through the middle of the current two-year budget cycle. Total revenues top out at $52.3 billion. The state is expected to have $4.1 billion in total reserves during that time frame. Legis­la­tors will use this forecast to inform the 2020 supple­mental budget. We expect both the House and the Senate to release their budgets on Monday.


Legislative Town Halls

This weekend many of you can join your legis­la­tors as they meet with constituents in district. Please attend if you can. To find the town hall in your Legisla­tive District, view this list.


Health System Financial Transparency

On Monday, HB 2036 increasing health system trans­parency, was voted out of the House, 56 – 42. The bill that passed the House reflected changes negoti­ated with the Washington State Hospital Associ­a­tion (WSHA). The bill requires hospi­tals to provide more detailed reporting on their revenue and expenses and to account for how they spend their Commu­nity Benefit dollars. After negoti­a­tions with the sponsor and WSHA, the bill was amended to reduce the reporting burdens for Critical Access Hospi­tals and sole commu­nity hospi­tals. The amend­ment also raised the amount that trigger reporting for individual line items to $1 million or one percent or more of the total expenses or revenues, whichever is greater.

Watch the footage of the floor debate.


Sexual Assault Bill Moves Forward

SB 6158, which convenes a task force to develop sexual assault protocol for hospi­tals and clinics, had a hearing on Thursday, February 20, in the House Committee on Public Safety. WSNA testi­fied in the support of the bill providing comments informed by Stephanie Wahlgren, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and forensic nurse, who is a member of WSNA’s Legisla­tive and Health Policy Committee.

This bill estab­lishes the Sexual Assault Coordi­nated Commu­nity Response Task Force within the Office of the Attorney General. This Task Force will develop model proto­cols ensuring that adult or minor sexual assault victims receive a coordi­nated commu­nity response when presenting for care at any hospital or clinic following a sexual assault.

In our testi­mony, we empha­sized the need for the standard­iza­tion of care. It protects survivors. It protects nurses and it helps to hold offenders account­able for their actions. Standard­ized proto­cols also increase the integrity of evidence collec­tion. Many states have standard­ized proto­cols, including Oregon and California. When working in a smaller commu­nity or in a critical access hospital, standard­ized proto­cols give autonomy to staff caring for those who have been affected by sexual violence. We look forward to seeing this bill move through the House.


Nurse Licensure Compact

A bill that would have Washington join the Nurse Licen­sure Compact was not brought to the Senate floor before the House of Origin cutoff on Wednesday evening. WSNA joins other states that are leaders in health care in opposing the Nurse Licen­sure Compact – eight of the top ten health care states have chosen not to join the Compact. There are some major flaws with the Compact that need to be resolved at the national level – read more in WSNA’s state­ment on the Compact.


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