2021 Legislative Sessions
During the Legislative Session, Legal Voice advocates for policies that improve the lives of women and LGBTQ people, and defends against bills that will roll back the progress we've made. There are many bills that we monitor each year, but the ones listed below are our designated priorities for the 2021 sessions in Washington and Idaho—meaning Legal Voice plays a leading and active role.
Supporting Policies with a racial justice focus
• Eliminating credit scores in determining insurance rates. Consumer credit scores are used to make decisions that have a huge impact on social and economic opportunities. The use of credit-based insurance scores has historically and disproportionately penalized communities of color and low-income communities through inequities embedded in our credit system. This bill bans some insurers from using credit scoring to determine the availability and rates for life, car, homeowner, and renter’s insurance.
• Health Equity Continuing Education for Health Care Professionals. Beginning in 2023, health care professionals will be required to receive training once every 4 years to help health care professional more effectively care for patients from diverse communities. Topics could include implicit bias, how to work with an interpreter, strategies for recognizing patterns of health care disparities and eliminating factors that influence them, and addressing the emotional well-being of children from diverse backgrounds.
Advancing Trans Equality in Healthcare
• Trans Healthcare Bill. We have long known that discriminatory laws and policies against the trans community impact the health and well-being of trans people. This bill prohibits insurers from denying medically necessary coverage to an individual for gender-affirming care.
Ensuring All Washingtonians have access to the full range of reproductive and maternal healthcare.
• Expanding Healthcare Coverage from 60 Days to 12 Months Postpartum. Across the state and across the country, maternal mortality rates are unacceptably high, and specifically in BIPOC communities. Extending Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months postpartum is an important step in improving improve maternal health outcomes.
• Protecting Pregnant Patient’s Act. Requires medical providers to provide appropriate medical treatment when a patient’s health or life is at serious risk, including miscarriage management.
• Providing Oversight Over Hospital Mergers. Over the years, Washington state has seen a number of health system consolidations, which have an increasingly significant impact on consumers, particularly those in rural and low-income communities. This bill would require governmental approval of all transactions in which a hospital, hospital association or group of five or more provider organizations seek to merge with or acquire a hospital or provider group and would limit the ability of hospitals to merge if the merger would result in a decrease of services for patients.
Standing with workers, especially those in low wage industries, by expanding critical safety net programs and addressing sexual harassment.
• Creating a Temporary Unemployment Insurance Program for Undocumented and Other Ineligible Workers. Approximately 143,000 workers in Washington State are undocumented, and they contribute to the economy, pay taxes, and support their communities. They are excluded from accessing both federal relief (CARES Act stimulus funding) as well as state based safety net programs including unemployment insurance. As COVID-19 continues to exacerbate racial inequities, WA has the opportunity to join with other states in ensuring that immigrant workers have access to wage replacement as part of the state’s COVID-19 response and recovery.
• Preventing Sexual Harassment and Building Community Power. Legal Voice supports a budget proviso to help advance the farmworker sexual harassment training effort that is led by the Washington Coalition to Eliminate Farmworker Sexual Harassment (WCEFSH). WCEFSH would use the funding to implement a peer training program and build the leadership capacity of farmworker women by establishing a collective/group focused on sexual harassment prevention and education.
Harmful policies we are fighting
Supporting policies that advance rights for women and LGBTQ+ communities in Idaho.