Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Thursday, February 24, I will be hosting a virtual town hall meeting my fellow 25th District lawmakers, Sen. Chris Gildon and Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen. During the one-hour town hall, which will begin at 6:30 p.m., we'll be sharing our thoughts on this year's legislative session and then taking your questions. If you would like to join us, please make sure to pre-register in advance on this Zoom registration page. I look forward to seeing you on the 24th!
House of origin cutoff
Tuesday marked house of origin cutoff, meaning that all bills that did not advance out of the chamber in which they were introduced are now considered “dead” for the year. The exception are bills deemed NTIB, or necessary to implement the budget. On Wednesday, I recorded a video update to discuss this critical deadline, some key pieces of legislation, and how House Republicans are continuing to fighting for tax relief, safer communities, and emergency powers reform.
An update on my bills
Two of the bills I sponsored this year were unanimously approved before house of origin cutoff.
House Bill 1286 would make Washington the 29th state in the nation to adopt the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT). PSYPACT is an interstate compact designed to facilitate the practice of telepsychology and the temporary in-person, face-to-face practice of psychology across state boundaries. Under my bill, qualified psychologists in Washington would be authorized to practice telepsychology, as well as 30 days of in-person psychology, in the 28 other states that are part of PSYPACT.
It is critical, now more than ever, that we do everything we can as lawmakers to ensure those struggling with mental health and addiction issues receive adequate and timely care. Telepsychology has been a godsend for so many of these individuals, but barriers still exist for those who travel often or are forced to relocate to another state. By entering Washington into PSYPACT, we can remove a significant barrier to access and ensure continuity of care exists for thousands of Washingtonians. On Wednesday, the Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee to the Health and Long Term Care Committee voted to advance my bill to the next stage in the legislative process.
The other bill of mine that was approved by the House seeks to address our caregiver shortage. Right now, this shortage is creating problems throughout the long-term care continuum, even impacting the ability of hospitals to discharge patients. Under House Bill 1877, a home care aide license that has been expired for five years or less may be recertified if the person holding it completes an abbreviated application form, pays any necessary fees, and provides written declarations regarding any disqualifying or disciplinary actions taken against them in the past. My bill would not change the requirement that all certified home care aides complete 12 hours of annual continuing education, which provides relevant and practical training.
Current law requires home care aides that have not renewed their licenses for three years or more to repeat the training and examination required for initial certification, in addition to the other steps listed above. I think that's overly burdensome. The reality is we don't need these individuals to repeat the training and examination that initially qualified them to work in this field. I am confident the other steps they will be required to take are sufficient. These are highly competent and highly motivated individuals who have taken their jobs seriously in the past and will do so again once recertified. But we must get them recertified, and quickly. House Bill 1877 is currently in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, where it awaits further action.
Staying connected and contacting me
I encourage you to stay engaged throughout the legislative session by:
- Following House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook.
- Signing up for House Republican text alerts.
- Visiting The Ledger, our legislative news aggregator.
- Utilizing the resources listed in this document.
- Watching TVW's “Legislative Review,” which airs nightly during session.
- Bookmarking my legislative website, where you can find my latest communications.
I also encourage you to continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions and concerns. My email address is Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 746-3670.
It is an honor to serve you.