Governor Inslee to Sign Bill Regulating E-Cig Products

With the new emergence of e-cigarette devices, we have seen children poisoned by the liquids used for e-cigs, and use of the devices on the rise among youth. 

Senate Bill 6328 brings statewide regulation and enforcement to a nearly unregulated e-cigarette market, strengthening protections against the sale of these harmful products to youth. 

ESSB 6328 will also: 

  • Mandate child resistant packaging and prohibit the sale of e-cig products from open display cases where kids can grab them. We know that these liquids are very dangerous to children, even a drop or two can poison a young child!
  • Double the fines for selling tobacco products to minors, the first increase in 23 years and it pays for enforcement, prevention and education.
  • Prohibit vaping in child care centers, elevators, playgrounds, school buses, schools and 500 feet from schools.
  • Healthy Gen is proud to have provided support and coordination to the many advocates working on this issue!

We're absolutely honored to announce that this historic bill was signed by Governor Jay Inslee on 4/19 at the Science of HOPE.

HOPE Happens March 31

In this edition of HOPE Happens we highlight the amazing work of Dr. Maxine Hayes and Senator Rosa Franklin, to be honored on April 20th at our annual conference, The Science of HOPE. 

(Read The Full Newsletter)

Special Edition Health Policy News You Can Use: Health Equity in Washington State

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Dear Friends,
Welcome to a special edition of Health Policy News. This year is a milestone anniversary for our state. We mark the 10 year anniversary of the passage of a package of bills in the Washington State Legislature to impact health disparities. One of these bills created the Washington State Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities. The Council is charged with identifying priorities and creating recommendations to the Legislature and Governor to eliminate health disparities by race/ethnicity and gender.
But how did this happen? All legislation has a backstory. I was privileged to hear the story from the prime sponsor, Senator Rosa Franklin. Vazaskia Crockwell, member of the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities arranged a meeting with Senator Franklin for members and staff last year. Also invited were Board of Health and Health Care Authority staff.
In her remarks, Senator Franklin noted the importance of The Heckler Report, named for US Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler. This report, released in 1985 was the first convening of a group of health experts by the U.S. government to conduct a comprehensive study of racial and ethnic minority health. The report elevated minority health to a national stage. The Heckler Report celebrated its 30 year anniversary in 2015 and influences awareness of the importance health equity today. Trained as a nurse, Senator Franklin had been acutely aware of the importance of health care access and health inequities throughout her career.
In 1994, the Washington State Legislature created the Joint Select Committee on Health Disparities. The committee was co-chaired by Senator Rosa Franklin and Representative Dawn Morrell. The committee held a series of meetings and hearings on health disparities. The Joint Committee produced a final report found here, and as a result of the report, Don Sloma, Senate Health Care Staff Director drafted an omnibus bill. The omnibus bill was later divided into five bills. The larger of the five created the Governor's Interagency Council on Health Disparities. Senator Franklin insisted the agency remain in the executive branch of government. The Council creates an action plan for eliminating health disparities by race, ethnicity, and gender in Washington, convenes advisory committees, and has developed many recommendations to support language assistance.
The Legislature authorized the Washington State Board of Health to conduct Health Impact Reviews (HIRs) in collaboration with the Council. A Health Impact Review (HIR) is an analysis of how a proposed legislative or budgetary change will likely impact health and health disparities. HIRs, an evidence based practice, can only be requested by the Governor or a state legislator. To receive additional information about HIRs, including how to request a review, copies of past reviews, or to be added to the HIR email distribution list, please visit the Washington State Board of Health website.
On April 20th, Healthy Gen will honor Senator Rosa Franklin for her contributions to creating enduring healthy equity through public policy in Washington State with the presentation of an eponymous award. Dr. Maxine Hayes, will also be honored for her contributions to creating enduring health equity through public health practice. The award will be followed by a panel discussion, "The Frontiers Of Health Equity: Past, Present & Future." For more information about the Science of Hope Conference, click here.
As always, if you have a bill or policy questions, please feel free to direct them to me at or @healthygenjulie.
Ever forward!


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Special Edition Health Policy News You Can Use Health Equity.pdf

Health Policy News - April 4, 2016

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Welcome to our wrap up edition of Health Policy News for the 2016 Legislative Session!

The Legislature adjourned Sine Die shortly before 11:00pm on March 29th on the 20th day of the special session. The House passed the supplemental operating budget on Tuesday afternoon with a vote of 78- 17. The Senate then voted on the budget Tuesday evening with a vote of 27-17. The supplemental operating budget will increase the $38.2 billion biennial budget by $191 million. The costs of last year's wildfires were covered by using $190 million from the state's "Rainy Day Fund." An additional $7 million was included to retain more teachers, $15 million for youth homelessness programs that pair with housing programs and $28 million to improve safety at Western State Hospital and other psychiatric hospitals. Access budget details here

Prior to the Legislature adjourning Sine Die, both chambers overrode the 27 bills Governor Inslee had vetoed. As you will recall, the governor vetoed the bills to encourage the Legislature to come to agreement on a supplemental operating budget prior to the end of the regular 60 day session. After long negotiations, the Senate passed ESSB 6328, 'Concerning vapor products in respect to youth substance use prevention' on Monday, March 28th, followed by the House on Tuesday, March 29th. Advocates worked very hard to negotiate the best compromise to protect the public's health. The hard rule about the legislative process is we never get everything we want. When you are up against the powerful tobacco industry, it is very difficult. I call your attention to two articles in the "What we are reading section" about how the tobacco industry is deeply involved in safeguarding the ecigarette industry. Access an overview of ESSB 6328 here. Congratulation to the negotiators and advocates who have worked tirelessly on this issue!

So what comes next? Well, we will be sending out special issues of Health Policy News in the future. Watch for them this spring! Of course, we will also resume weekly issues of Healthy Policy News next January when the legislature convenes for the 2017 session.

For the rest of the bills we were watching for prevention this #waleg session, take a look at the full Health Policy News for the 2016 Legislative Session here

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Health Policy News You Can Use April 4 2016.pdf

Health Policy News - March 7, 2016

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Welcome to the ninth week of the legislative session! We are in the waning days of the 60 day legislative session. Sine Die is Thursday, March 10th. The question is will the House and Senate conclude negotiations on the supplemental operating budget in time for Sine Die? House Appropriations Committee chair and lead budget writer Rep. Hans Dunshee offered his viewpoint to TVW Inside Olympia Host Austin Jenkins regarding where the budget negotiations stood. Differences in philosophy and spending was also highlighted by Senator Bruce Dammeier, Vice Chair, Senate Ways and Means Committee in his thoughts on the negotiations and differences in the versions of the budget. The differences between the House and Senate transportation and capital budgets seem to be smaller and less contentious.

Stay tuned. It will be an interesting week as the members, staff and lobbyists wrap up business.

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Health Policy News You Can Use March 7 2016.pdf

Health Policy News - February 29. 2016

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Welcome to the eighth week of the legislative session! As you will recall from last week, today is another cut-off. Bills (which would cost the state money) have to be voted out of the opposite house fiscal committees by 5:00 p.m., unless they have the coveted designation of NTIB (by now, you knew I was going to say that!).

Last week, the House and Senate released their respective supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. On Monday, the House released their budgets. "This is not a year to sit on our hands and do nothing. We have some significant issues, some significant crisis and we intend to do something about them with this budget," said House lead budget writer Rep. Hans Dunshee at a press conference Monday. The supplemental budget spends $467 million, including $99 million to address the state's teacher shortage. The proposal would raise starting teacher salaries from $35,000 to $40,000 a year, and offer teachers a $650 yearly bonus for continuing professional certification. The budget also calls for tapping the state's emergency "rainy day fund" to pay for $190 million in fire suppression efforts during the devastating 2015 wildfire season, as well as nearly $38 million in homeless programs, and $47 million for mental health programs including Western State Hospital. The supplemental budget can be found here.

On Wednesday, the Senate released their budgets. "Not only does it make investments where we need it, but we also have policy and reforms to go along with those investments," said lead budget writer Sen. Andy Hill at a briefing with reporters. The Senate supplemental operating budget spends $54 million on mental health, including salary increases and extra staffing at Western State Hospital. $6.6 million is included for Charter Schools from the Washington Opportunity Pathways Account, as well as $173 million for wildfire costs from last summer. Watch the media briefing by Majority Coalition Caucus and House Republican Leadership about the House budget. Senate budget documents can be found here


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Health Policy News You Can Use February 29 2016.pdf

Health Policy News - January 11, 2016

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Health Policy News for the 2016 Session of the Washington State Legislature! We will come to you each week with updates about legislative action impacting community health.

Expectations are low for many policy bills to pass this session. It is a "short session" in an election year. Legislators will want to conclude business in their scheduled time and hit the campaign trail. As they return to Olympia, lawmakers face a budget deficit caused by increased caseloads and enrollments, and the McCleary state Supreme Court case on education. In August, the state Supreme Court delivered a unanimous order and began fining the legislature $100,000 a day for failure to develop a plan to fully fund K-12 public education as directed by its 2012 McCleary decision. The McCleary case directs legislators to boost education by billions of dollars by the 2017-18 school year. Thursday, during a briefing with reporters, legislators reviewed a plan to fund McCleary, but acknowledged finding the funding will take a year.

The Legislature will also face funding of charter schools, which were ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court, the Friday before the Labor Day weekend. Initiative 1366, passed by Washington voters in November puts in the Legislature in a position where it must either send a constitutional amendment to the people requiring a two thirds vote in the legislature or a public vote for all tax increases or the state sales tax is lowered by 1% from 6.5% to 5.5% on April 15, 2016. This one percent reduction in the state sales tax would result in about a $1 billion loss in tax revenue.
Here, you can find helpful links to help you navigate during the legislative session, as well as the full text for this week's Health Policy News You Can Use!


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Health Policy News You Can Use January 11 2016.pdf
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