Update on the progress of the legislative session

Jan. 20, 2023

After two weeks of past-paced legislative action, with nearly 1,000 bills introduced between the state House and Senate, early activity on workers' compensation and workplace safety bills is progressing. Here are some quick updates:

  • Presumptive PTSD for nurses. A new workers’ compensation bill was introduced which should be of substantial alarm to our health care sector. SB 5454 was introduced in the Senate and would create a presumption of occupational disease for PTSD for direct care registered nurses. It has not yet been scheduled for public hearing. It has all the typical features of a modern occupational disease presumption, including fee shifting at the BIIA.
  • Separate self-insurance pension reserve and second injury fund interest: SB 5084 was voted out of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on Tuesday, and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for further consideration.
  • IME recording. HB 1068 to redefine 51.32.110/51.36.070 examinations as “compelled medical examinations” and allow for their fairly unrestricted audio/video recording, is scheduled for a committee vote in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. The Senate companion bill, SB 5212, was originally set for public hearing in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee Thursday morning but was later pulled from the public hearing calendar.
  • Ergonomics regulation. SB 5217 authorizing a limited form of ergonomics regulation to address work-related musculoskeletal disorders, is now set for public hearing in the Senate Labor Committee Tuesday morning.
  • Psychologists/attending providers. The House version of this bill to tidy up the AP statute and allow PhD psychologists act as AP in mental health-only claims, HB 1197, is set for a committee vote Friday morning. The Senate version of the bill is set for public hearing in committee Thursday morning.
  • Stay at work/volunteer placement. The Washington Retail Association’s bill to allow volunteer light duty placement at non-profits for employees of small business is still sitting in the House committee, HB 1137, and the Senate version, SB 5368, is set for public hearing next Thursday morning.