2019 session bill round-up!

The 2019 legislative session has come to a close, and I am proud to share it was an exceptionally successful one.

Every year, I work directly with constituents and stakeholders to propose bills that will improve the quality of life for Spokane and our entire state. Still, the legislative process is designed to ensure only the best bills become law. This year, a whopping 7 bills that I sponsored made it to the finish line, including one I had been working on for several years. Read on for more information about which of my bills have been signed by the governor into law:

House Bill 1155: Giving nurses a break

Without uninterrupted breaks, both the nurses coping with burnout and fatigue and the patients relying on their care suffer. By guaranteeing uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, and prohibiting the use of prescheduled on-call time to fill foreseeable staff shortages, HB 1155 will give nurses the breaks they need to do the critical, life-saving work they do.

Similar worker protections have long been established for pilots and other traditionally male-dominated professions. It poses the question: why has offering a reprieve from burnout taken so long in a life-or-death field that just so happens to be traditionally female-dominated? Going into effect in 2020, this law gives nurses overtime protections, while allowing them to work 12-hour shifts with the ability to go back to work refreshed after having the necessary meal and rest breaks.

House Bill 1196: #DitchTheSwitch

Switching our clocks twice a year for daylight saving time is more than a small annoyance; a health impact review tied it to a spike in strokes, traffic collisions and heart attacks each year. My bill aims to do away with the switch altogether and stay on daylight saving time year-round. Staying on daylight saving time would allow for more light in the evenings, which encourages after-school activities for our youth. We are already on daylight saving time for eight months of the year.

HB 1196 was signed by Governor Inslee on May 8. Unlike most bills, which are set to become law sometime after the governor signs them, HB 1196 still requires an act of Congress to take effect. With strong support from Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell at the federal level, we can look forward to watching #DitchTheSwitch make its journey through Congress.

House Bill 1197: Gold Star families

This idea for this bill began when constituents, Matt and Keirsten Lyons came to me with a problem. Renewing their gold star license plate had not gone as planned. Gold star license plates are special plates given to the families of those lost in combat. For the Lyons family, the loved one they lost was Marine Sgt. Jacob Michael Hess, who died serving our country in Afghanistan. When an online glitch resulted in having to go to the Department of Licensing in person and re-verify their gold star status, it created further trauma.

The state should be compassionate in its processes, and that’s why I sponsored HB 1197. It makes gold star license plates permanent, never requiring a renewal process and without any fees. I am proud to have ushered this constituent-driven bill across the finish line and honor our gold star families.

House Bill 1584: Giving tribes a seat at the table

Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs) identify transportation issues and make decisions within the regions they cover, including tribal land. Still, tribes have not been guaranteed a seat at the RTPO table.

Governor Inslee signed HB 1584 on April 24. Under this new law, RTPOs are required to invite tribes falling within their jurisdiction to participate in the decision-making if they are to receive any state funding. Bringing equal representation to our tribal communities is imperative if we are to have a fair planning process in our region.

House Bill 1587: Fruit & veggie incentives

With an obesity epidemic and our most vulnerable families living in “food deserts” where accessible food is lacking in nutrition and high in calories, getting fresh fruits and vegetables to Washington families has never been more vital. By expanding upon the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, health providers will be able to write “prescriptions” for fruit and vegetables when they see a need. Families will receive extra dollars for fruit and vegetable at farmers markets and increased fruit and vegetable allowances for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) recipients.

HB 1587 goes into effect on July 28, 2019.

House Bill 1753: Ending hidden fees on our health care providers

This legislation is all about offering an extra public notice and comment period when a board or commission seeks to raise licensure fees on healthcare professionals. An additional notice and comment period to the public allows for discussion with impacted parties, and supports the work and findings of the state auditor’s office report. By promoting thorough discussion and notification of licensure fees, we protect health care workers and create a more transparent process for the public.

Governor Inslee signed HB 1753 into session law on May 8. It will take effect on July 28, 2019.

House Bill 1726: Interdisciplinary education for health care professional students

This student-driven bill, enabling health professional students to receive interdisciplinary training, received unanimous support before being signed into law. Health professional students, ranging from pharmacy to nursing students, often participate in community health fairs. At these health fairs, students receive boots-on-the-ground training while providing medical services to people who may not otherwise be able to afford them.

However, the medical professionals overseeing these students have been limited to being certified in the same field of study as the students. Despite overseeing tasks that are common to all health professionals, such as taking blood pressure, students have had a limited ability to perform these community services when only a nurse or pharmacist preceptor is available.

Effective July 28, 2019, HB 1726 will allow any qualified preceptor to oversee a health professional student, in turn promoting access to affordable health services and better education for students.


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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