WSNA in Olympia: 2020 Legislative Session
In this week’s update:
- Week 4 Recap
- Supporting New Ideas for Public Health Funding
- Nurse Licensure Survey Data
- WSNA Represented at Washington State Labor Council Reception
- WSNA Lobby Day
- Labor Rallies for Public Employee Protections
Week 4 Recap
What a week! WSNA nurses were at the Capitol this week – advocating for nursing priorities and working families. On Thursday, nurses from around the state joined WSNA’s Lobby Day and spoke with their legislators on our priority issues.
This week we continued to meet with legislators about the School Nurse Corps funding request and legislators in both the House and Senate are signing letters of support for a $2.75 million investment. A huge shout out to all the school nurses who attended WSNA’s Lobby Day – thank you for joining us and speaking out for kids’ health!
For more on WSNA’s 2020 Legislative Priorities click here.
Supporting New Ideas for Public Health Funding
On January 29, WSNA Legislative & Health Policy Council Chair, Justin Gill, testified in support of HB 2679. This bill deals with excess surpluses held by non-profit health insurers – together, the top few in Washington have $4.4 billion in surpluses. This bill requires non-profit health carriers with an excess surplus greater to give a tiny percentage above a certain level to a fund that would be invested in state and local public health, as well as provide health insurance subsidies for Washington residents who currently do not quality. Justin did a great job of emphasizing how outside forces, such as public health, impact the work that nurses do.
One of WSNA’s lobbyists, Amy Brackenbury, was also quoted on this issue in a report for NW News Network. In the story, Amy is quoted as saying that “[the large quantities of surplus capital that carriers hold] just screams like, maybe it’s time to take a look at this.” To read the full report click here.
Nurse Licensure Survey Data
On Monday Feb. 3, the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee heard SB 6538, prohibiting survey data in nursing licensure. WSNA testified in opposition to this bill along with the Nursing Commission and the Washington Center for Nursing. The data collected through these surveys provides the state with critical information for workforce planning. To see us testify in opposition click here.
WSNA Represented at Washington State Labor Council Reception
On Wednesday night, three members of WSNA’s Legislative & Health Policy Council attended the Washington State Labor Council’s 2020 Legislative Reception. At the reception they spoke with legislators about their experiences as nurses and networked with other members of the labor community.
WSNA Lobby Day
Nurses from all over the state were in Olympia for WSNA Lobby Day on Thursday. During the morning sessions, members were briefed on the political and policy context in Olympia this session. WSNA also presented eight legislators with Nursing Champion awards for their advocacy for nurses and patient safety in the 2019 session on issue like workplace violence prevention, nurse educator funding, and breaks and overtime protections.
During their afternoon meetings with their Legislators, members talked about the importance of School Nurse Corps funding, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, ARNP reimbursement parity, and health system financial transparency. In between meetings, WSNA members explored the Capitol and attended committee hearings in the House and Senate.
Labor Rallies for Public Employee Protections
On Thursday morning, Ingrid Anderson represented WSNA at a rally on the State Capitol steps in support of HB 1888, which would update the Public Records Act to exempt public employees’ birth dates from public disclosure – an important safety protection. Rally speakers said HB 1888 is necessary to protect public employees and their families from identity theft, stalkers, and others who may want to target them at home. You can email your lawmakers on this issue here.
Please look for regular emails on our progress in Olympia this session!