Well, that’s a wrap. We made it through the unprecedented, all virtual 2021 legislative session in Washington. And what a session it was. We are so excited to share this final update with you!
Signed by the Governor:
SB 5068, Extending Postpartum Care
We are so thrilled that Governor Inslee has already signed one of our priority bills. SB 5068 will extend healthcare coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum, a critical step to improving maternal health care for Black, Native American, and Alaska Native communities.
Headed to the Governor’s Desk:
SB 5313, the Gender Affirming Treatment Act (GATA)
As you’ll remember, this bill will prevent insurance carriers in WA state from automatically denying medically necessary gender affirming care as cosmetic which would limit access to often life-saving healthcare for trans and nonbinary people. On April 19th, the Senate concurred in the House amendments, and the bill is now headed to Governor Inslee! We could not be more grateful to have been part of this cross-movement building effort that was led by and for trans leaders across the state.
SB 5140, the Protecting Pregnant Patient’s Act
Another bill that is now awaiting the Governor’s signature! This bill will make sure that no matter where a pregnant person lives, they will be able to get the care they need. SB 5140 requires health care providers to provide appropriate medical treatment related to pregnancy complications, including abortion, regardless of a hospital’s policies or religious affiliation.
SB 5229, the Health Equity Continuing Education Bill
The legislature also took a critical step in addressing racial health disparities by passing SB 5229, a bill that will require health care professionals to engage in continuous training related to bias, racism, and cultural sensitivity and better understand how to respond more appropriately. This bill will lead to better health outcomes for BIPOC communities, and it’s now on its way to Governor Inslee for his signature!
Funding Provisos in the State Budget!
We were thrilled to see that three provisos were included in the final Washington State 2021-2023 biennial operating budget that directly impact immigrant communities:
First, $340 million to expand financial support and wage replacement for the more than 143,000 workers in WA state who are undocumented and excluded from state safety net programs and federal stimulus funding.
Second, $150,000 to help advance farmworker sexual harassment training efforts led by the Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment.
And finally, $250,000 for a work group to explore eliminating a longstanding and outdated exclusion of certain category of workers from receiving workers’ compensation for on the job injuries, a legacy of racism in our labor laws and that we are working in partnership with groups like Casa Latina to undo. Our advocacy continues to ensure that domestic workers are part of this conversation and solution.
As you see, it was an incredible session, with a number of bills aimed at supporting BIPOC, immigrant, and marginalized communities gaining bipartisan support. These 105 days were a true reflection of the power of community, organizing across silos, and centering voices of those directly impacted. We are so honored to be able to engage with so many community leaders and though partners.
Want to learn more about the behind the scenes action of the session? Then please join us this Thursday, April 29th at 5pm PT for a Facebook Live discussion. Grab your drink of choice and tune in with your questions as our staff dives into the details! It will be a great space to celebrate, share lessons learned, hear about our advocacy in Idaho, and begin to think about continued base building for the year ahead.
Legal Voice Lobbyist