Legislative Update: National Guard Day, Making Epinephrine Accessible, and Working Families Tax Credit

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The legislative session continues to fly by. We have now had several weeks worth of committee hearings and passed the first bills off of the House floor. Read on to learn more about what we have been working on, legislation I have introduced, and the Working Families Tax Credit, a new tax credit the Legislature passed in 2021 that will put money directly into the pocket of households who need it most.

National Guard Day

Reps. Bronoske and Orwall and members of the National Guard behind the dias.

This Wednesday I spoke on the House floor in celebration of National Guard Day. Our National Guard members stand ready to serve our state in the event of a natural disaster or a public health emergency. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were vital in keeping our state running and ensuring that residents could get tested and later vaccinated. But National Guard members can also be called up by the federal government to serve abroad, where they are often put in harm’s way.

They do this without complaint, all while balancing the needs of their day to day lives such as families and occupation. When they are called to serve, it means time away from their family and profession. So it is our job to keep our promises to them and ensure they have all of the tools they need to succeed on behalf of all of us. Watch my speech below.

Making Epinephrine More Accessible for Schools

Shot and vial

Last week I introduced legislation to increase the availability of epinephrine for schools. Epinephrine is used for emergency treatment of a severe allergic reaction or to treat anaphylaxis. Most associated with epinephrine auto-injectors, it can also be administered by a medical professional with a regular syringe. Currently, schools are allowed to have an auto-injector on hand but are prohibited from having a nurse administer epinephrine from a vial. HB 1608 would allow schools to purchase a vial of epinephrine, resulting in substantial savings.

The idea for this bill came from a call that I went on at my other job as a firefighter. We were called to a local high school to monitor a student who was stung by a bee and may have had a severe allergic reaction. We were required on the scene because the school did not have an auto-injector available as they are cost-prohibitive to always have in stock. With the skyrocketing costs of auto-injectors, it is time that we allow registered nurses to administer epinephrine from a vial.

The cost of a name-brand auto-injectors has increased drastically in the past few years to around $700 for a kit that contains two. Meanwhile, a vial of epinephrine costs roughly $20 to $30. Due to the instability of epinephrine, it generally expires around one year after manufacture.

When someone needs an auto-injector, calling emergency services might not be quick enough. Schools need to have epinephrine readily available to protect their students, but high prices for auto-injectors combined with tight budgets have prevented some schools from keeping it on hand. This commonsense measure will allow a registered nurse to dispense epinephrine from a vial, saving schools hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars and ensuring that students have quick access in an emergency. This is especially important in rural areas where emergency services can take longer to arrive.

Working Families Tax Credit

Working Families Tax Credit

The application for the Working Families Tax Credit is now open! The Working Families Tax Credit is a new program that will provide payments of up to $1,200 to low-to-moderate income individuals and families. The amounts are based on income level and the number of qualifying children (if any).

This program will help us stimulate local economies, promote racial equity, and provide the financial stability Washington families need right now. To find more information in several available languages or see if you qualify, visit WorkingFamiliesCredit.wa.gov.

For more information, visit the page program’s website by clicking here.

If you have comments, questions, or ideas, please contact my office. I hope to hear from you soon!