This week’s cutoff marked the deaths of several bills indicating the top priorities of the legislature and what the policy focus will be for the remainder of session. While public health has had a quieter session than other affiliates, and indeed not the tumultuous session of 2021, several smaller bills have continued to move forward.
HB 1074 was heard in Senate’s Behavioral Health subcommittee. WSALPHO testified in support of the bill, which included a couple of great questions from committee members. The bill passed swiftly out of committee and is now in Senate Rules where it waits for a floor vote. This is where the bill ended the last session, so we will be working to make sure it passes this final hurdle.
HB 1684 passed out of the House with both parties on either side of the issue. The bill is scheduled for a hearing next week in Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee and will likely have an uphill battle to continue to move through the Senate.
HB 1739 was voted unanimously out of the House well before the cutoff and assigned to Senate Health and Long-Term Care, where it waits for a hearing date. This bill compliments several past budget provisos around healthcare-acquired infections and provides a good connection between preventative public health measures and healthcare safety. It needs a hearing and executive session before the 24th to stay alive.
HB 1893 is scheduled for a hearing early next week in Senate Health and Long-Term Care. A minor amendment was made in committee and then passed with broad bipartisan support. A DOH-sponsored bill could help increase access to healthcare during public health emergencies or at the request of public health agencies.
A few public health bills that did not make cut-off:
HB 1258, a leftover from the last session, failed to come up for a House floor vote and died at cutoff. This was a high-priority bill for local health jurisdictions the previous year, and we had worked hard to make sure our concerns and opposition to essential parts of the bill were addressed.
HB 1688 would have amended the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to include delta-8 THC into the definitions of “marijuana”. It would also prohibit the sale of certain cannabinoid products except when sold by licensed cannabis producers, processors, and retailers, and added new age restrictions to the purchase of certain cannabinoid products. This bill was supported by several public health coalitions and organizations but ultimately died in Rules. In preparation for a potential floor vote, 30 amendments were submitted, likely sealing the fate of this bill to die in the House.