It was a flurry of activity the first few weeks and there are a number of bills moving forward of interest to WSALPHO.  Of particular note are issues relating to on-site sewage systems (OSS), Tobacco 21, and opiates – all priorities for WSALPHO. 

HB 1476: on-site sewage systems

This bill was voted off the House floor on Thursday and assigned to Senate Local Government.  Interestingly, the bill received 11 more “nays” than last year, gaining more Republicans in opposition than Democrats.  WSALPHO and WSAC continue to be opposed to this bill as it mandates several new activities and services regarding on-site sewage systems without providing a funding source for these mandates.  The bill has been assigned to Local Government in the Senate and both WSALPHO and WSAC will work with the committee chair in addressing our specific concerns. 

HB 2420: concerning state board of health rules on on-site sewage systems

In some respects, this bill is in direct conflict with HB 1476 (2420 aims at deregulating OSS monitoring, and HB 1476 increase OSS monitoring activity). A substitute bill to HB 2420 was passed by House Environment this past week.

HB 2639: mobile food units

WSALPHO testified on Tuesday in support of this bill despite having a couple of concerns. After working with Rep. Cody and Rep. Buys, we submitted a substitute to the bill that satisfied our concern about regulating authority and assurance of food safety. The substitute bill was passed and voted out of House Health and Wellness. WSALPHO will continue to watch this bill and looks forward to working with key stakeholders on the mobile food unit rulemaking process when it opens in July 2018. 

HB 2436: community health workers (med. priority)

Substitute to this bill moved out of House Health and Wellness committee and will be heard in Appropriations on Saturday. The substitute bills adds language regarding background checks and removes responsibilities that require certain training or certification requirements. WSALPHO testified in support of this bill and will continue to support its bill. 

 SB 6580: HIV testing

This was heard and passed out of Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee on Thursday and placed in Rules. The bill would eliminate special circumstance testing for HIV and making it readily available to the public as a way to increase testing. Evidence shows earlier detection and treatment can have dramatic positive impacts on treatment and length/quality of life and reducing transmission. WSALPHO signed in support of this bill as it is a high priority for the department of health. 

Tobacco 21

Both the House and Senate versions of Tobacco 21 (T21) are moving. HB 1054 was passed out of House Finance and placed into Rules. It is not yet scheduled for a hearing. HB 6048 was passed out of Senate Health and Long-Term Care and placed into Ways and Means. WSALPHO signed in support of both of these bills.  Additionally, HB 2165, relating to taxation of vapor products also passed out of Finance with a substitute and was placed in Appropriations. It is not yet scheduled for a hearing.

Opiates

It appears the Governor’s bills will be moving this session rather than the AG bills. HB 2489 and SB 6150 both passed out of their respective committees. WSALPHO signed in support of these bills. HB 1047, regarding safe medication disposal, appears to be up for a House floor vote next week.  Most likely, this bill will be passed and move to the Senate.  WSALPHO signed in support of the Governor’s bills and plans to support and testify on HB 1047. 

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Jaime Bodden

Jaime Bodden is the Managing Director for WSALPHO. Previously, Jaime managed and oversaw the operations of a small health department as Health Officer/Director. Additionally, Jaime has experience in community engagement, health promotion, global health, and health policy. She holds Master degrees in Social Work and Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis.
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