Advocacy Update: 2018 Victories for Kids

Jennifer Donahue
Communications Manager, WCAAP

This week is the last week of the 2018 legislative session, and we’ve achieved some big wins for Washington kids this year:

  • Ensuring Medicaid payment for primary and specialty pediatric care is at least 75% of Medicare, with the aim of reaching 100% of Medicare in the next session.
  • Passage of SB 6452 to create a single referral line to make it easier for kids on Apple Health to find timely mental health care.
  • Passage of HB 2779, which continues the work of the Children’s Mental Health Group and allows the state to draw down additional federal funds to increase home visiting services, allow intensive outpatient treatment for kids on Apple Health, and fund an additional child and adolescent psychiatry residency slot starting in 2020.

This year we saw firearm safety legislation and Tobacco 21 achieve more support and advance even farther than in previous years. We will build on the momentum and support we achieved on these policy proposals in 2018 in the interim and next year.  Thanks to masterful leadership by Senator Frockt, SB 6620, which would provide enhanced background checks on assault weapons, raise the age to 21 purchase assault rifles, and implement school safety measures was introduced after policy cut off and advanced through the Senate Ways and Means committee but was not brought to the floor for a vote. HB 1054 to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 passed in the House but was not brought up for a vote in the Senate.  

We will continue to raise our voices now and in the interim. On March 24 we will join students at Seattle’s March for Our Lives – one of more than 540 events worldwide. If you are in the Seattle area, we encourage you to join us. There are sister marches throughout the state of Washington – you can find a full list here.

Lotte Scharfman, president of the League of Women Voters, once said “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” This session reminds us that engaged advocates can have a strong effect on policymaking. WCAAP members sent 892 messages to legislators, testified before the legislature 20 times, and showed up in force on Advocacy Day. Thank you! Each time we connect with legislators we can educate them on the impact of their work on our state’s children – enabling them to make Washington a better place for kids through legislation.

Our work is not done! If you would like to get more involved with legislative advocacy, contact committee co-chairs Beth Ebel and Lelach Rave. The committee will meet monthly by phone now that the legislative session is coming to an end and will spend the interim working to develop our agenda for 2019, informed in large part by the member survey we sent out in September.


Be an advocate!
Save the date for our 2019 Advocacy Day: February 15, 2019!

Why spend a day in Olympia at WCAAP Advocacy Day? Here’s what your colleagues have said:

  • “Loved the inspiration and collaboration opportunities! I felt like I was part of democracy in action. It was so inspirational to hear from our leaders in Olympia and to know how much they seek to collaborate on these important topics.”
  • “We all need to step outside our own day to day patient care to advocate for the good of all patients.”
  • “It is a great experience and gets you excited about being a pediatrician again!”

Keep an eye out for registration information coming soon.