2020-2021 Legislative Session Updates

See summary at 2021 Washington Recovery Alliance Legislative Priorities Wrap Up

HB 1477: Implementing the national 988 system to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services. This bill passed and became law as of July 25, 2021. It is known as the “Line-for-Life” bill. It provides additional funding for crisis response services and prepares Washington state to implement a national 988 Crisis Line for behavioral health services that begins in July 2022.

2SSB 5195: Concerning Prescribing Opioid Overdose Reversal Medication. It passed and became law on July 25, 2021. It is known as the “Naloxone bill.” It ensures that providers prescribe and immediately provide naloxone, in addition to referral services to people presenting at an emergency department for opioid overdose.

ESB 5476: Responding to the State v. Blake decision by addressing justice system responses and behavioral health prevention, treatment, and related services. This bill passed and became law July 25, 2021. It has multiple provisions. Most importantly, it mandates that persons detained for possessing drugs be given diversion to treatment at least two times before any criminal drug possession charges can be filed. Drug possession became a misdemeanor (whereas it was a felony in Washington State before 2021). Another key provision creates a Recovery Navigator system, and the new law received its own funding.

Important bills that did not pass in 2021:

HB 1349: Concerning Peer Specialists. This bill would have codified substance use disorder peers as a profession with clear regulations as to training, levels of expertise, supervision and licensing.

Another bill would have created a dedicated revenue source for behavioral health services by imposing new taxes on liquor licenses, opioid manufacturers, pharmaceutical warehouses and microbreweries.

See Washington Recovery Alliance for additional information.

2019-2020 Legislative Session Updates

HB2642 (No Wrong Door)

  • Passed both the House and the Senate UNANIMOUSLY!
  • This bill will save lives by decreasing wait times and allowing people to access treatment during their window of willingness.

HB2734 (Closing the Opioid Distributors Tax Break)

  • Sadly, 2734 did not pass this year. It is especially challenging to pass bills related to revenue and tax code during non-budget years in Olympia. But, we're not giving up!
  • We received very positive feedback from lawmakers about 2734 and the possibility of closing this tax break during next budget-year legislative session in 2021.
  • We learned from your meetings with lawmakers that there is confusion among some of them about the tax break this bill aims to close. We will be working with you between now and the 2021 session to address those misunderstandings so we can WIN this fight next year.

HB2793 (Clean Slate)

  • Clean Slate was scaled down to a study with a single-county pilot which will take place in 2021, and then passed both the House and the Senate!
  • The Administrative Office of the Courts will produce a report on how to implement a statewide system based on the pilot.
  • Without this groundwork, it would take several years to figure out how to automatically vacate records statewide.
  • We'll be working with the Public Defender's Association on a "Clean Slate 2.0" bill for the 2021 session to take what we learn from the one-county pilot and bring greater access to housing and employment to people in all counties in WA State.

2018-2019 Legislative Session Updates