Week 7 Legislative Update

Today marks the “fiscal cutoff,” the deadline for bills with budgetary or transportation impacts to emerge from the appropriation or transportation committees of the House and Senate. Only a few bills we’re tracking were run through a fiscal committee and had action this week:

  • HB 1395, L&I’s bill authorizing the use of funds for self-insurance program projects without prior legislative appropriation. This bill cleared the fiscal committee and is sitting in the House Rules committee, awaiting a possible pull to the floor for a vote.
  • HB 1496, L&I’s bill expanding the (primarily) state fund Preferred Worker Program as well as making permanent changes to the Voc Rehab statute, related to expanding Option 2, capping tuition inflation, and so on. This bill cleared the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, and is moving closer to a floor vote in the House.
  • HB 1194, the bill allowing lifetime pension benefits for surviving spouses of law enforcement/firefighter personnel despite remarriage. This bill was amended to make the fiscal impact come out of the employee’s public retirement system, as opposed to the workers’ compensation system. It was heard in the House Appropriations Committee yesterday but has not been scheduled for a committee vote. If that doesn’t occur today, the bill will probably not be considered further this session.

On the Senate side, although all of our bills have already cleared their committee cutoff and are in the Rules committee awaiting movement toward a floor vote, two bills did get a “pull” from the Rules committee, moving them closer to consideration by the full body:

  • SB 5507, requiring L&I to pay back a penalty amount, along with costs and attorney’s fees, to an employer who successfully appeals a workers’ comp penalty order to the Board.
  • SB 5418, requiring L&I to conduct a 3-year pilot project contracting out certain claims management functions for complex/catastrophic injury claims.

WSIA’s top priorities like wage simplification, occupational disease, and settlement agreements, remain in the Senate Rules committee. We’re working behind the scenes this week and next with legislators to position them for a floor vote.