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Washington Legislative Session Update

We’re halfway through legislative session! Here’s an update on our priority legislation.

The Budget

We are anxiously awaiting the revenue forecast so we know how much money the legislature has available to craft the biennial budget and how much money can be invested in the abortion care safety net. As a reminder, we are asking for funding for abortion providers to: 

  • Hire top-notch staff: Maintaining a high-quality of care requires hiring high-quality staff. But nonprofit providers like Planned Parenthood don’t have unlimited funds to attract and retain providers the way large hospital systems do. State investments would level the playing field and help abortion providers to hire the teams they need.
  • Help patients in dire need: All those patients whose states have blocked abortion rights? They’ve gotta go somewhere, and a lot are coming here to Washington state. Planned Parenthood has seen patients from Texas, Alabama and Louisiana, and it’s invested in patient navigation and support. 
  • Make care affordable: Abortion providers are proud to welcome all who come through health center doors. Washington’s partnership is key to making sure they can always provide the care they need in a sustainable, timely manner.  

Policy Bills

  • SB 5242 (No Cost Sharing for Abortion): Passed out of the Senate and has a public hearing scheduled for March 17, 8 a.m., in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.
    • This bill would end cost-sharing for abortion services in private insurance.
  • HB 1155 (Washington’s My Health, My Data Act): Passed out of the House and has a public hearing scheduled for March 14, 10:30 a.m., in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
    • This bill would make it illegal to sell health data without affirmative consent. It would prevent apps and websites from collecting and sharing health data without users’ consent, and it would ban location-based data collection at health care facilities. 
    • Advocate for the My Health, My Data Act
  • HB 1469 (Shield Law): Passed out of the House, with bipartisan support, and has a hearing scheduled for March 16, 8 a.m., in the Senate Law & Justice Committee. 
    • This bill would “shield” individuals who provide, obtain, or support abortion and gender-affirming care. It prevents the state from cooperating if other states attempt to investigate or prosecute Washington providers, helpers, and patients.
  • HB 1340 (Protecting Provider Licenses): Passed out of the House and has a public hearing scheduled for March 9, 10:30 a.m., in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. (Tune in live here!)
    • ​​This bill would prohibit medical licensure boards from taking certain disciplinary action against providers of abortion or gender affirming care.
  • SB 5241 (Keep Our Care Act): Unfortunately, this bill that would have increased oversight of health system mergers did not get voted out of the Senate by the house of origin cutoff. This means that it will no longer be moving this year, but it can come back next year! This year was the furthest this bill has moved since it was first introduced, so the motivation to pass this bill is growing. We’ll try again next year!

As a reminder, the next policy cutoff is March 29. We will need your help to continue to urge our legislators to move these bills out of committee by this deadline.

Act II of the legislative session also means that it is town hall season! 

Town halls are a great way to connect with legislators about the issues we care about. Legislators hold town halls to get feedback on policy and inform their decisions — so we want to make sure they hear from Washingtonians who support reproductive rights and health care!

If you sign up to attend with us, we will connect you with other Planned Parenthood supporters who are attending and your local organizer will connect with your group to ensure you feel comfortable and confident to share your support on priority bills and funding requests.