Legislative Update: Town Hall and Bills Alive

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last week was the ‘House of Origin’ cutoff and the end of our first full time floor action. Bills that have not passed the chamber they were introduced in will be held until the 2024 session. After ten long days and late nights, we have returned to our committees to consider bills that passed the Senate. This has been a historically productive time for the House, we passed a record 331 bills and resolutions, with 196 being voted out unanimously and 257 getting 80 or more votes. The vast majority of the legislation we pass in Olympia is bipartisan.

Town Hall

We want to hear from you! Please join Rep. Mari Leavitt and me for a 28th District Town Hall this Saturday at Clover Park Technical College. The event will take place from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. We hope to see you there!

Town Hall Graphic (info below)

What: 28th District Town Hall

When: Saturday, March 18th from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.

Where: Clover Park Technical College, Building 3, The Rotunda

4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW Lakewood, WA 98499

Bills Alive!

Rep. Bronoske speaks on the House floor.

HB 1068: Protecting injured workers rights during compelled medical examinations

When a worker is injured on the job they receive workers’ compensation either through the State Fund or a self-insured employer. During that time the state or employer can compel the worker to get an independent medical exam to verify their injury. Unfortunately, we have had reports of doctors who do not have injured workers best interests in mind. This bill simply allows the worker to either record their compelled examination or bring one person of their choosing with them. In this way we can be sure that injured workers are getting the compensation they have earned and deserve. KING 5 recently did a segment on this bill, Injured workers push for recording exams they say are stacked against them.

HB 1542: Requiring AEDs for lineworkers

Lineworkers do the hard and dangerous work of keeping our power-grid operational. They work on high-voltage lines, often in inclement weather. Touching a high voltage line can cause cardiac arrest, and during cardiac arrest access to an Automatic External Defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death. There are numerous examples of AEDs being used on a lineworker, allowing that worker to go home to their family. Most major companies already provide and maintain AEDs for their workers. This bill would simply ensure this best practice is adopted by all employers and no one gets left behind.

HB 1626: Providing coverage for non-invasive colorectal cancer screening tests

There are two types of screening for colon cancer, one is non-invasive and the other is a colonoscopy. Unfortunately, only the more invasive option is covered by our medical assistance programs. This bill makes sure that non-invasive screenings are also covered, which will allow more people to get screened for colon cancer. This bill will help people detect and treat colon cancer early, saving lives.

HB 1753: Speeding the removal of dangerous derelict vessels

When a boat is abandoned or comes loose from its moorings, it can quickly become dangerous to our environment and a hazard to navigation. That is why Washington has a Derelict Vessels Removal Program run by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). HB 1753, simply speeds up the timeline for removal of a derelict vessel, still ensuring that owners have due process, but also allowing DNR to more quickly remove these hazards from our waterways.

HB 1323: Training requirements for applying fire-resistant materials

Many buildings now require the application of fire resistant material. As a firefighter I have seen the effects of when this material is not properly installed or applied. This bill simply requires that those workers that apply fire resistant materials  be certified by the Department of Labor and Industries and to receive training from an approved trainer. This will help keep us safe in the event of a fire.

HB 1521: Ensuring injured workers get the care they deserve

Injured workers whose employers are self-insured often have their care managed by third party administrators (TPAs). TPAs are incentivized to keep costs low leading to the denial of legitimate claims and delayed care for injured workers. This bill establishes a duty of “good faith and fair dealing” as well as penalties for violating that standard. This will help make sure injured workers get the care and treatment they deserve without delay.

HB 1008: Expanding healthcare options for Plan 2 retirees

This bill allows state and local employees who receive medical benefits through the Public Employee Benefit Board to keep receiving state health insurance coverage after they separate from the state even if they don’t retire and start receiving benefits. Currently only those employees with Plan 3 are able to do this. This bill simply expands that option to Plan 2 members as well.

HB 1197: Adding psychologists as attending providers for mental health claims and clarifying definitions for workers’ compensation

This bill allows state licensed psychologists to work as attending providers for mental health claims under the workers’ compensation system. It also clarifies definitions in statute and ensures that any attending provider who works on a case may be required to testify. This will help injured workers get the care they need.

HB 1435: Working to increase funding for long-term in-home care

Washington has been a leader in long term care, but sustaining our investment requires ensuring adequate funding. There are federal Medicaid dollars that are available that Washington is not taking advantage of. This bill sets up a work group to figure out the best way to tap into those dollars and requires in-home services agencies to provide the requisite data to the Department of Health. This will save Washington taxpayers money in the long run and help us maintain our long-term care system.

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