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!