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In this week’s update: 

  • 2017 Budget Priorities
  • 2017 Policy Priorities 
  • 2017 Other Bills of Interest

WSNA’s 2017 Legisla­tive Prior­i­ties and issue-based one-pagers can be found here.

The legis­la­ture adjourned Sine Die yesterday, April 23, the last day of the 2017 regular session. As expected, the legis­la­ture adjourned without passing a 2017 – 19 budget. The Governor called the legis­la­ture back into a 30-day special session begin­ning today, April 24. We are still hearing that a final budget is unlikely until after the June 20 revenue forecast, meaning that there will very likely be multiple special sessions this Spring.

2017 Budget Priorities #

While the legis­la­ture still has much work to do in order to negotiate a final 2017 – 19 budget, here’s where WSNA’s budget prior­i­ties landed during the regular session: 

Public Health Funding – WSNA is contin­uing to work with partners to advocate for the $40 million in new public health funding included in the House budget. 

Gover­nor’s Budget
$20 Million

Senate Budget

House Budget
$40 Million

Health Profes­sion Loan Repay­ment – The House budget provided mainte­nance level funding. The Senate budget cut $3 million from the program. 

Gover­nor’s Budget
Senate Budget
-$3 Million
House Budget

The bill that adds health profes­sion advance degree programs (with service oblig­a­tion”) to the Washington State Oppor­tu­nity Schol­ar­ship, HB 2143, was passed out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee on April 20, and was reintro­duced in present status for the first special session. 

2017 Policy Priorities #

Nurse Staffing – PASSED

The Staffing bill, HB 1714, was deliv­ered to the Governor on April 23. The Governor has 20 days (not including Sundays) to sign the bill into law. 

A full summary of the Staffing bill can be found on WSNA’s website. The bill as passed the legis­la­ture can be found here.

School Nurse Super­vi­sion – PASSED

The School Nurse Super­vi­sion bill, HB 1346, was signed into law by the Governor on April 20, with WSNA and SNOW members in atten­dance. The new law takes effect in 90 days. 


Using HB 2114 as passed the House as the base, the Office of the Insur­ance Commis­sioner, legis­la­tors and stake­holders are contin­uing to work on this bill’s content to see if an agree­ment is reachable. 

Rest Breaks – DEAD*

Rest breaks remains a top priority for WSNA, and this year the rest breaks bill moved further through the legisla­tive process than it has before. HB 1715 passed the House 55 – 42, and had a lively hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee. The bill and hearing both received exten­sive coverage in The Seattle Times – you can view the article here.

Secure Medicine Return – DEAD*

While a strong coali­tion of partners worked hard on the Secure Medicine Return bill, HB 1047, this year, it ultimately was not brought to the House floor for a vote. A number of local Boards of Health have passed local legis­la­tion creating secure medicine return programs – King County’s being the first in Washington state to be passed and implemented. 

Prescrip­tion Monitoring Program – PASSED

HB 1427 addresses our state’s opioid epidemic. It requires disci­plining author­i­ties, including the Nursing Care Quality Assur­ance Commis­sion, to adopt rules estab­lishing require­ments for prescribing opioid drugs by January 1, 2019. It also expands access to data in the state’s Prescrip­tion Monitoring Program, allowing health care facil­i­ties to receive infor­ma­tion on provider prescribing. The bill also makes it easier for opioid treat­ment facil­i­ties to be located in local commu­ni­ties. This bill was signed into law by Governor Inslee on May 16

*While all bills that died during regular session were reintro­duced and retained in current status for the special session, we do not expect the legis­la­ture to take up bills marked dead during the special session.

2017 Other Bills of Interest #

Founda­tional Public Health Services – DEAD*

HB 1432 defined core public health services and put into statute the Founda­tional Public Health Services frame­work – these bills also set in statute a struc­ture for Shared Services which would formalize smaller health depart­ments contracting of some services (such as epidemi­ology) from larger health depart­ments, making the system more effec­tive and efficient. The bill passed the House 86 – 12, and was passed out of the Senate Health Care Committee with a do pass” recom­men­da­tion, but was never voted out of Senate Ways & Means. 


While a number of paid family leave bills were intro­duced during the regular session, none of these bills made it through the process – stalling in committee. However, this is one of the issues that legis­la­tors may continue to negotiate during the special session. Legis­la­tors are report­edly working toward a compro­mise that would land somewhere between HB 1116, which offered up to 26 weeks paid family or parental leave starting in 2019, and SB 5194, which offered up to eight weeks paid leave starting in 2020 and up to 12 weeks starting in 2023. 

Student Loan Trans­parency & Account­ability – PASSED / DEAD*

A number of student loan trans­parency and account­ability bills were intro­duced this session, and many did gain traction. While most of these bills did not pass the legis­la­ture this session, SB 5022 was signed into law by the Governor. 

SB 5022, the Washington Student Loan Trans­parency Act, was request legis­la­tion from Washington’s Attorney General. It was signed into law by the Governor on April 27. This bill says that, subject to appro­pri­a­tions, student borrowers are entitled to receive notifi­ca­tion about their loans from their post secondary insti­tu­tion each time a new finan­cial aid package is certi­fied that includes student loans – this means that students will receive infor­ma­tion on the total amount of educa­tional loans, the range of payoff amounts including principal and interest, and additional details. This will begin on July 1, 2018. Addition­ally, annual compli­ance reports to the legis­la­ture are required in 2019 – 2025. 

HB 1169, included provi­sions to estab­lish a student loan debt hotline/​website, and required insti­tu­tions touching the student loan process to notify students of these resources; it repealed provi­sions allowing suspen­sion of a profes­sional license due to student loan debt (including for nurses); and other consumer protec­tions. This bill passed the House 76 – 22, and received a do pass” recom­men­da­tion from the Senate Higher Educa­tion Committee, but was never voted out of Senate Ways & Means. 

HB 1440, request legis­la­tion from Washington’s Attorney General, created the Student Educa­tion Loan Ombuds to provide assis­tance to student educa­tion loan borrowers who file complaints. It also required educa­tion loan services to obtain a license from the state Depart­ment of Finan­cial Insti­tu­tions in order to operate in Washington state, and put in place a regula­tory struc­ture. This bill passed the House 71 – 27, but did not receive a hearing in the Senate. 


On Dec. 22, 2016 the Washington Supreme Court issued a 6 – 3 decision in Volk v. DeMeer­leer that will have profound and detri­mental impacts on health care providers and patients. The decision is a troubling depar­ture from the standard for duty to warn” previ­ously estab­lished in Washington and nation­ally. The Court held that, in the outpa­tient context, the duty of health care providers to warn poten­tial victims of violence extends to all individ­uals who may foresee­ably” be endan­gered by a patient who has made a threat, even if no specific target was identi­fied. This leaves providers with unprece­dented respon­si­bility to inter­pret who to warn. 

SB 5800 was intro­duced in the Senate as a fix” to Volk. It was voted out of the Senate 33 – 16, but died in the House Judiciary Committee. When this bill died, a new study approach was created, and included organi­za­tions that would be part of a study group which would provide a report to the legis­la­ture by December 1, 2017. AAPPN will be able to partic­i­pate in the study process should this move forward.