Gov. Jay Inslee has finished signing bills following the 2023 Washington State Legislative Session as lawmakers representing North Clark County saw a number of successes on what they authored this year.
Senators see almost a dozen signatures
State Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, had four bills signed into law this session.
Wilson’s Senate Bill 5396 prevents carriers from imposing cost sharing on supplemental and diagnostic breast examinations if a health plan covers them.
Senate Bill 5278 makes a number of changes to home care aide certification to reduce delays and barriers to the process. Some of those changes include requiring the Washington State Department of Health to explore easier access to testing sites like remote testing, and it allows contractors who provide training to also administer tests, according to the final bill report.
Wilson’s Senate Bill 5295 was a request from the state Office of Financial Management to eliminate a variety of specific spending accounts for state budgeting. The bill is a regular housekeeping item that takes place every odd-numbered year when the state treasurer provides the office a list of accounts believed to be obsolete, the final bill report stated.
Her last bill that was signed, Senate Bill 5497, deals with the state Health Care Authority’s oversight of Medicaid expenditures. Alongside a number of stipulations for the authority to oversee, the bill also creates the Medicaid Expenditure Forecast Work Group, which will develop budget estimates for the Office of Financial Management and the Legislature, according to the final bill report.
State Sen. John Braun also had four bills receive Inslee’s signature this year.
Braun’s Senate Bill 5079 requires the Office of Financial Management to calculate and send the maximum annual increase of tuition fees for resident undergraduate students to higher education institutions by Oct. 1 for the following academic year.
Braun’s Senate Bill 5084 creates a self-insurance reserve fund. Bill supporters said the legislation will reduce volatility and increase transparency on assessments paid by self-insured employers, according to a Senate bill report.
Braun’s Senate Bill 5261 shifts the date of expiration for licenses, endorsements, certificates and permits for cemeteries, prearrangement certificates, and burial or scattering of human remains from Jan. 31 to March 31 of each year. The bill puts the state expiration date in line with when the federal qualifications expire, according to a House bill report.
His last bill to be signed, Senate Bill 5381, allows legislators to send letters of recommendation and congratulatory letters “for noteworthily infrequent awards or honors” for constituents at any time, and other types of congratulatory letters outside of an election year communication freeze.
Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, had three bills signed this session.
Rivers’ Senate Bill 5569 allows for temporary exemptions on limits for the number of dialysis stations a center can provide during an emergency situation, like natural disasters or utility outages.
Senate Bill 5163 removes the expiration date of a prior law allowing private parties to file Medicaid fraud complaints in civil court.
Rivers’ third bill, Senate Bill 5069, allows for the governor to enter into agreements with other states regarding interstate cannabis commerce. The bill anticipates the potential for federal cannabis legalization.
House members see success with bills
Rivers’ counterparts representing the 18th Legislative District saw their first bills passed as freshmen state lawmakers.
State Rep. Stephanie McClintock, R-Vancouver, had House Bill 1301 pass. The bill directs the state Department of Licensing to audit one-tenth of professional licenses it oversees every year.
State Rep. Greg Cheney, R-Battle Ground, saw House Bill 1797 receive Inslee’s signature. The bill allows state licensed or certified appraisers to perform evaluations for financial institutions, something they currently cannot do. The law is contingent on the Department of Licensing, which needs to adopt rules for appraisers on nondiscrimination and education criteria, according to the bill text.
Seventeenth Legislative District representatives saw five bills signed between the two lawmakers.
State Rep. Kevin Waters, R-Stevenson, had three bills signed in his freshman session.
Waters’ House Bill 1772 makes it illegal in Washington to manufacture, import, offer or sell a consumable product that contains cannabis or any form of THC in combination with beer, wine, spirits, or any other type of liquor in the same product.
Waters’ House Bill 1731 creates an annual $75 permit which will be issued by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board for individuals who rent properties through Airbnb so they are able to offer wine to guests.
House Bill 1730 allows workers as young as 18 years old to take on jobs as a dishwasher, cook, chef, sanitation specialist or other kitchen staff, lowering the age from 21. Those employees can’t work in the bar, lounge or dining area of a business, can’t interact with patrons and must have a supervisor who is over 21 years of age at all times, among other restrictions.
The district’s senior House seatholder, Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, had two bills signed this year.
Harris’ House Bill 1112 allows judges to impose criminal penalties for negligent driving cases if a vulnerable victim dies. The bill also creates the offense of negligent driving with a vulnerable victim in the first-degree as a gross misdemeanor.
House Bill 1073 makes several health care-related changes. They include extending the expiration of a medical assistant-certified interim permit to the issuance of a medical assistant-certified certification. It also allows someone who has applied for a medical assistant-phlebotomist credential and has completed a training program to work under the level of supervision required for the training up to 180 days after filing their application. The bill also allows medical assistants with certain credentials to perform a greater range of duties.
Representing the northernmost portions of Clark County, the 20th Legislative District’s House delegation got four bills signed in 2023.
Rep. Ed Orcutt, K-Kalama, had his House Bill 1491 signed. The bill prohibits employers from searching an employee’s personally-owned vehicle and ensures employees are allowed to possess legally-owned property in their vehicle.
Abbarno’s House Bill 1004, also known as “Zack’s Law,” requires state government agencies and local governments to erect signs that warn of drowning hazards when they replace or erect signs near dangerous water hazards. The bill is named after Zachary Lee Rager, who drowned in the Chehalis River in 2021.
Abbarno’s House Bill 1259 adds the chief of staff for Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State to the list of individuals allowed to perform acts and duties relating to the office, which includes signing authority.
His third bill to be signed this year, House Bill 1361, makes a handful of changes to state employment statutes at the request of the Office of Financial Management. Among those changes include the elimination of obsolete language and unnecessary reports, as well as changing payments for employees hired after July 1 to electronic transfer.
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