Legislative Updates & Delegate Council 2023
The WA Legislative session ended with the Sine Die gavel dropping at 10:04 pm on Sunday, April 23. Hours earlier, legislators approved a $69.3 billion two-year budget for public schools, prisons, and other state services. KCMS worked tirelessly to advance legislation to improve the practice of medicine. We brought physicians' voices on essential bills to Olympia.
Focused efforts included gun violence prevention, reproductive care, end-of-life care, housing and homelessness, and workforce issues. Legislators voted to invest more than $1 billion to strengthen our behavioral health system and provide more services for our most vulnerable community members. Legislators also took key steps to address our workforce needs, especially in the healthcare industry, and permanently capped the cost of insulin at $35 per month.
I. Firearms: Lawmakers approved a ban on the sale of assault weapons with the passage of HB 1240.
Another bill signed into law by Inslee allows citizens to sue firearm manufacturers or retailers for irresponsible conduct, something four other states have enacted.
II. Reproductive Rights: HB 1469, the “Shield Law,” was passed this year, which will prohibit the issuance of out-of-state subpoenas seeking information on reproductive health care services, prohibit out-of-state criminal investigations & arrests seeking communication and other evidence related to reproductive health care service, and prohibit the Governor from extraditing any person for out-of-state reproductive health care services charges.
It would also provide a cause of action to recoup damages and other legal costs for out-of-state lawsuits related to reproductive health care services and protect health care service professionals from harassment for providing protected health care services.
The “Shield Law” is part of a priority package of bills that would regulate health data (HB 1155), eliminate co-pays and deductible requirements for abortion (SB 5242), and block out-of-state disciplinary action against professionals providing reproductive care (HB 1340).
III. End of Life Care: Gov. Inslee has also signed an expansion of the Death with Dignity Act into law. SB 5179 cuts down on the wait time between when patients first ask for life-ending medication and when they can receive it and allows more types of healthcare professionals to sign off on requests for a medically assisted death.
IV. Housing: In March, the WA State Department of Commerce released housing needs projections, which show the state will need to add 1.1 million homes over the next 20 years, and more than half of them must be affordable for residents at the lowest income levels. The “Middle housing” bill aims to describe housing that is neither a single family nor an apartment building - rather duplexes, triplexes, 4, 5, and 6-plexes, and backyard ADUs. The bill overrides local zoning laws limiting most cities to single-family homes.
Join the Delegate Council and help KCMS prepare for the 2024 legislative session.