Throughout the 2020 Washington State Legislative Session, thousands of SEIU 775 caregivers from across the state called, emailed, and traveled to Olympia to meet with their legislators to let them know what we’re fighting for and why it’s important – and it worked!
We have a lot to celebrate. We’re ending the legislative session with BIG WINS for caregivers, which were only possible because of the work and leadership of our members!
Our 2020 priorities:
- Landmark legislation that addresses the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers passed out of the legislature: Everyone deserves to feel safe while giving and receiving care. Senate Bill 6205, an important part of our HADit campaign, is headed to the Governor’s office to be signed into law! The bill makes the care environment safer for both caregivers and the people we care for by creating safety, prevention, and reporting standards.
- A 5-cent increase to the in-home care agency administrative rate passed out of the legislature: This will help stabilize funding for agencies and help ensure access to home care for Washingtonians who need it!
- Improved funding for home care agencies passed out of the legislature: House Bill 2380 clarifies the Parity law, so agency caregivers are paid equivalent wages and benefits for doing the same work that State-paid Individual Providers do!
- Nursing home funding: We won more than $50 million total in funding for nursing homes. As many of you know, we’ve been working on increasing this funding for years, and it feels great to say we’ve made progress.
- Insulin: House Bill 2662 will reduce the total cost of insulin, and Senate Bill 6087 will create cost-sharing requirements for the coverage of insulin products!
More legislative wins:
Adult day health: A rate increase of 6 percent was funded in the budget.
Healthcare affordability: Senate Bill 6088 will establish a prescription drug affordability board (SB 6088), and House Bill 2457 will establish a health care cost transparency board.
Housing: The legislature also passed bills that give authority to city and county councils to increase local sales, and use taxes by one tenth of one percent to dedicate to affordable housing (HB 1590), allow apartment move-in fees to be paid in installments (HB 1694), and create new residential tenant protections (SB 6378).
Equity, racial justice, and immigrant justice:
- HB 1783 establishes a state racial equity office within the Governor’s office.
- HB 2602 establishes hair styles as a protected civil right, especially in workplaces.
- HB 2277 bans the use of solitary confinement in our juvenile justice system.
- The Courts Open to All Act (HB 2567) prohibits federal immigration agents from communicating with and arresting people at and around county courthouses.
- HB 2576 authorizes the Department of Health to study the effects of private detention in our state agencies.
- HB 2632 designates the false reporting of crimes or emergencies as a felony offense to combat the use of “swatting” to intimidate members of the community.
- HB 2793 automatically vacates criminal records for eligible people.
- SB 6442 prohibits the Department of Corrections from using private contractors for incarceration unless it is a Governor-declared emergency.
- HB 2231 reforms our current bail system to create more racial, economic, and legal equity by allowing judges the right to determine consequences for missed court hearings, rather than prosecutors.
This wouldn’t have been possible without caregivers like you reaching out to legislators and telling your story. Together, we are stronger.