Four Liias bills signed into law

OLYMPIA – Four bills sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett) were signed into law by Governor Inslee on Wednesday. In total, Liias had seven bills approved by the Legislature during the 2021 legislative session.

SB 5313 – Gender Affirming Treatment Act

The Gender Affirming Treatment Act will prohibit health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for gender affirming treatment that is consistent with a protected gender expression or identity, is medically necessary, and is prescribed in accordance with accepted standards of care. Many health plans in Washington state classify gender confirmation treatment as cosmetic and therefore such treatment is often not included in health insurance plans. This bill ensures that trans and gender fluid Washingtonians can get access to essential care.

Liias quote:

“Gender confirmation treatment is medically necessary for many in our transgender community, but they are not able to access this treatment because it is considered cosmetic by many health plans. The goal is to ensure every Washingtonian has access to medically necessary care that allows them to lead healthy, productive lives. And to achieve the health equity and health outcomes we wish for every single Washingtonian.”

SB 5194, also known as the Our Colleges Our Future Act

This bill requires that all community and technical colleges prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion of all students by funding programs that are proven to benefit those most vulnerable in our higher education institutions. It also modifies current statutes that hinder vulnerable students to create more equal access to these institutions of learning.

SB 5195 – Opioid medication

SB 5195 requires hospital emergency rooms and certain community behavior health agencies to dispense opioid overdose reversal medication to a patient with symptoms of an opioid overdose, opioid use disorder, or another adverse event related to opioid use upon discharge. More than 81,000 people died from a drug overdose in America between June 2019 and May 2020 according to the CDC and NCHS. More than 45,000 of those deaths were related to opioid use. SB 5195 is part of the ongoing effort to address the opioid epidemic and aims to save more lives.

SB 5253 – Boosting the state’s bee population

Washington farmers produced over $3 billion in agriculture that require pollination from bees. However, bee populations in Washington state are on the decline, putting these crops and others at serious risk. SB 5253 reestablishes the Pollinator Health Task Force to assist with implementation of the prior task force’s recommendations and the pollinator health strategy.