WCAAP & the 2018 Legislative Session

Sarah Rafton
Executive Director, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The first day of the 2018 state legislative session began yesterday and we are excited to be supporting child health with WCAAP’s 2018 priorities. Thanks to your dedication and involvement, our voice is strong in the Capitol. This session, we continue to fight for kids’ timely access to health care – including primary care, specialty care and behavioral health care. We are also working to prevent disease and injury, to raise the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 and to increase safe firearm storage.

Legislators are expressing their commitment to end this legislative session in 60 days, the time scheduled every-other-year to adopt a supplemental operating budget. This session, our state policy makers face significant financial challenges; legislators are considering whether or how to increase funding to the K-12 public education system per the Washington Supreme Court’s McCleary Decision and are grappling to ensure funding for the adult mental health system and Western State Hospital. The democrats currently hold a majority in the Senate by just one seat and in the House by a two-seat margin. WCAAP is fortunate to have strong bipartisan relationships and has experienced dedicated leadership from both sides of the aisle on kids’ health.

Our lobbyist is Amber Ulvenes and WCAAP’s legislative committee meets weekly during the legislative session, under the leadership of doctors Beth Ebel and Lelach Rave. WCAAP’s communications manager, Jennifer Donahue, works doggedly to send you timely action alerts to move our priorities forward during session and to garner strategic media placements on our issues. This year, advocating will be even easier with our new app, which will give you instant access to action alerts as well as information about bills and legislators. Click here for instructions to download the app. With this structure and most importantly, your collective voices, we hope to accomplish even more for kids this year! This session we expect 75 WCAAP members at our Advocacy Day on February 2nd.

Thank you in advance for the action alerts you will complete and the time you will spend with us making Washington State a better place for kids.