Update from Olympia: Telephone town hall and health care bills

Another successful telephone town hall in the 3rd LD


On Tuesday evening, over 2200 residents from the 3rd legislative district took part in a telephone town hall with Rep. Ormsby, Sen. Billig and me. Thank you to all who participated. We got a lot of great questions on topics like education funding, clean energy, long-term care, taxes, and even a question about splitting Washington into two states (note: the three of us believe strongly in One Washington!). If you missed the town hall but would still like to listen in, a link to the audio from the event can be found by clicking here. (Audio from previous telephone town halls can also be found at the same link.)

A student-driven bill to allow interprofessional health training

Health sciences students study many types of health care practices, from physical therapy to nursing. While these disciplines vary in the type of care they provide, some fundamentals apply across the board. Certain aspects of patient care, like taking someone’s blood pressure, are not unique to one field but are cornerstones of many health disciplines.

Under current law, when a pharmacy student takes a patient’s blood pressure, only a licensed pharmacist may oversee them, even though a medical doctor or a registered nurse would be quite capable of supervising as well. This is a roadblock to the education of health professionals since a supervisor (known as a “preceptor”) within their specific field may not always be available. Moreover, this decreases accessibility to health services for patients, particularly those struggling financially.

House Bill 1726 aims to remove these barriers to education and basic health services by allowing for interdisciplinary preceptors during these routine health services. Last month, students from WSU Health Sciences came to Olympia and were there when the bill was first “dropped.” HB 1726 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Health Care & Wellness committee next week.

Guaranteeing Meal and Rest Breaks for Nurses

Too often, the nurses we depend on to keep our families healthy are working long hours without meal and rest breaks. That is why I have introduced House Bill 1155, to ensure nurses receive the necessary breaks to eat and recharge, without being “on-duty”. Nursing is a high-intensity profession, with a high burnout risk. Prohibiting the use of break time to supplement staffing shortages keeps both nurses and patients safe.

HB 1155 passed out of the House Labor and Workplace Standards committee on January 31. You can read more about this legislation and track its progress here.

Preventing our kids from becoming addicted to tobacco

If you’re an adult who smokes, vapes, or chews, that’s your choice and your right. But we don’t want young kids–some as young as middle school–getting addicted to tobacco. The younger someone is when they start using tobacco, the greater the impact on brain development and the harder it is to quit.

House Bill 1074 would change the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. We have long known that 95 percent of tobacco-addicted individuals began smoking between the ages of eighteen and twenty. The likelihood of tobacco addiction decreases drastically after 21, and that is why I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation.

The bill was heard on January 15th in the Health Care & Wellness committee. You can follow its progress here.

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It’s an honor to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.

Best regards,

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