Weekly Advocacy Update 02.07.22

This update is coming to you on a Monday because last Friday was Advocacy Day, so we were busy! It was a great day, with appearances by Congresswoman Kim Schrier, Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, Representatives Monica Jurado Stonier and Lisa Callan, and Senator David Frockt, who was on hand to receive our inaugural “David Frockt Child Advocate Award.” Senator Frockt is retiring from his seat after this session, so it was particularly meaningful to hear some words of encouragement from him.

Meanwhile, the business of the legislature continues! Friday was the cutoff for bills to pass out of their policy committees, and today is the cutoff for fiscal committees. Our priorities appear to have mixed success: we are sorely disappointed to see the vape tax and flavor ban bills stall, we anticipate success for our behavioral health priorities in the budget process. Details below:

Behavioral Health

Dr. Lelach Rave, behavioral health care coordinator Alex Rhodes, and Dr. Tumaini Coker all testified in support of SSB 5894, to advance community health workers for kids in primary care, to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on Saturday, February 5. You can check them out here starting at 2 hours, 33 mins, 14 seconds. Many thanks to those of you who signed in in support of the bill! As you know, a couple of weeks ago Dr. Shaquita Bell, Alex Rhodes, Dr. Doreen Kiss and WCAAP executive director Sarah Rafton also testified in support of the bill to the Senate Subcommittee on Behavioral Health.

There is strong support in the Senate for SSB 5894. However, because the content of the bill is well-suited to be a budget item, the Ways & Means Committee leadership decided that moving the bill along is not necessary. Senators Frockt and Robinson will champion a budget proviso to accomplish our goal: Community Health Workers for kids on Medicaid.

Senator Frockt assures us that the policy bill not progressing further is NOT indicative of the desire, intent and hope to implement CHWs for kids this session, and having it pass as a budget item will be equally effective as passing the bill.

Lastly, at WCAAP’s Advocacy Day on Friday, we were able to garner some support on the Senate side for BH integration start-up funds in primary care. We already have strong support from Representatives Leavitt and Callan for a start-up funds proviso on the House side.

We are feeling hopeful about support garnered so far and are grateful for all of your voices getting us to this point. We will keep you updated on future opportunities to contribute to the success of our priorities.

Vaping Reduction

SB 5129 Commercial Tobacco Enforcement Reform: we are still waiting for expected movement out of Senate Rules Committee. Once it does move out of Rules, the bill must receive a floor vote before the Feb. 15th House of Origin cutoff deadline.

HB 1676 Vapor Product Tax Reform: House Finance Committee Chair Noel Frame said that HB 1676 qualifies as NTIB or Necessary To Implement the Budget. NTIB bills avoid most cutoff deadlines.

SB 5768 Improving Vapor Product Regulation (Flavors & Nicotine Content): The bill did not advance and is done for this session.

Important Dates:

February 7 – House of Origin Fiscal Cutoff

February 15 – House of Origin Floor Cutoff

February 24 – Opposite House Policy Cutoff

February 28 – Opposite House Fiscal Cutoff

March 4 – Opposite House Floor Cutoff

March 10 – Sine Die

Get Involved
Let us know if you are interested in getting more involved – you can testify, write a guest opinion for your local news, join our legislative committee, or just respond to Action Alerts. We are still seeking providers to testify on bills so if you have any weekday availability and would like to learn more, get in touch!

Top Priorities

Fund CHW for BH & SDoH SB 5894Frockt, Conway, Hasegawa, Nguyen, Nobles, Robinson, Wilson C.Bill stalled in Ways & Means committee, but we will pursue as a budget proviso.
Startup funding to establish collaborative care in primary care (Budget)Leavitt, CallanBudget proviso has been submitted.
SSB 5129 Prevent law enforcement from detaining/fining youth for purchasing, using or possessing tobacco/vape products  Saldaña, Darneille, Nguyen, Nobles, Stanford, Wilson C.Needs to be pulled from Rules for a floor vote before the Feb. 15th cross-over cutoff deadline.  
HB 1676 Vape tax increase commensurate to cigarette tax & increase funding for commercial tobacco control    Harris, Pollet, Leavitt, Ryu, Chopp, Senn, Duerr, Valdez, Callan, Cody, Macri, Wylie, Ramel, Bergquist, Gregerson, Riccelli, BronoskeDid not pass House finance committee today, but Rep. Frame has said it is considered “Necessary to Implement the Budget” (NITB) so it is not subject to normal bill cutoff deadlines.
SB 5768 Authorize the State Board of Health to ban vape/tobacco flavors  Kuderer, Dhingra, Robinson, Saldaña, Stanford, Wilson C.Bill died in Senate Health & Long Term Care committee

Hearings last week:

  • SB 5883 Homeless youth health care consent – Cora Breuner
  • SB 5768 Flavor ban on tobacco/vape products – Crystal Shen
  • HB 1890 Strategic plan for kids behavioral health – Mary Ann Woodruff
  • SB 5894 Community health workers in primary care – Lelach Rave, Alex Rhodes, Tumaini Coker

Support bills that passed through the committee process and that we hope to see votes for on the House and Senate floors include:

  • HB 1890 Strategic Plan for Children’s Mental Health
  • HB 1664/SB 5595 Prototypical school formulas for physical, emotional, social support in schools
  • SB 5912 Well-child visits for children on Apple Health to match Bright Futures
  • SB 5883 Health care consent for homeless youth
  • SB 5589 Statewide spending on primary care
  • HB 2048 TANF time limit extensions
  • SB 5649 Fixes to Paid Family & Medical Leave
  • SB 5702 Donor human milk
  • HB 1878 Meals in schools
  • SB 5838 Diaper subsidies
  • ESSB 5122 Raise the Age
  • HB 1630 Restricting weapons in certain settings
  • HB 1705 Ghost guns
  • HB 1759 Information about safe storage of firearms
  • HB 1770 Energy codes
  • HB 1767 Targeted electrification
  • HB 1099 Growth Management Act update
  • HB 1663 Reducing methane emissions from landfills
  • HB 1684 Drinking water fluoridation
  • SB 5814 Medical evaluations of suspected victims of child abuse

Budget provisos that we will support, in addition to our top priorities (not necessarily a complete list):

  • Expanding infant mental health consultation
  • Expanding the perinatal support line

Thank you for staying engaged and working together to make Washington a better place for kids and families. We are so grateful for your passion and dedication!