Caldier pre-files bills for 2019 legislative session

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Caldier pre-files bills for 2019 legislative session

With the 2019 legislative session convening in less than a month in Olympia, Rep. Michelle Caldier is ready to get to work and has already pre-filed legislation.

“It will be a busy session and I think it's important to get an early start on some very important bills,” said Caldier, R-Port Orchard.

Starting Dec. 3, bills may be pre-filed in the House of Representatives for introduction on the first day of the session, Jan. 14. Earlier this month, Caldier pre-filed three bills. They include:

House Bill 1016 – Concerning hospital notification of availability of sexual assault evidence kit collection. This measure would require hospitals to notify a rape victim within two hours of their arrival that they don't have rape kits or a provider trained in sexual assault examinations on the premises.

“Sexual assault victims are re-victimized when they wait in a hospital for hours without being told that facility doesn't have the means to take evidence from a rape. In these cases, either the evidence becomes no longer valid after such a long wait, or the frustrated victim may give up entirely, leaving the perpetrator to continue to victimize others,” said Caldier. “When a person has a heart attack or stroke, the attending hospital either acts immediately or transfers that patient to a facility that could provide immediate care. It should be no different with rape victims.”

House Bill 1017 – Concerning salaries of nonprofit health carriers. The bill would allow a randomized panel of at least 10 enrollees to set compensation and benefit levels of board members and the top five highest-paid executives of nonprofit insurance companies.

“Currently, the board of nonprofit health carriers can set the CEO's salary, and the CEO can set the board's salary. Both can be at exorbitant levels as they scratch each other's back, and they pay for those salaries by jacking up insurance rates against consumers who have no input. Since these carriers are nonprofit, they don't even pay taxes. All of this is just wrong,” said Caldier. “This bill would let the consumer enrollees decide the appropriate salaries of the companies' top executives.”

House Bill 1018 – Concerning fair dental insurance practices. This measure would extend Washington's health insurance “Patient Bill of Rights” to dental insurance coverage. The bill of rights establishes fair health insurance practices by requiring insurers to have a utilization review program, prohibiting denial of coverage for care that was previously authorized, providing a grievance process, and requiring independent review for resolving disputes.

“There have been far too many abuses in which dentists who submit their costs for patient services to the dental insurance companies are denied, even though those services had been previously authorized. Dentists who appeal those denials sometimes face retaliation,” noted Caldier. “This bill is meant to stop that abuse and make coverage fair for patients and their dentists.”

Caldier also added lawmakers must create a new biennial operating budget during the 2019 session.

“I'm very concerned the governor wants to impose an additional $9 billion in new taxes over the next four years on capital gains income and most businesses that provide services. This, despite the fact the state will collect more than $4 billion in taxes for the coming 2019-21 budget cycle,” said Caldier. “As a small business owner for 16 years, I know how egregious business taxes can be to employers and consumers. With signs pointing toward a possible dip in the economy, now is not the time to be talking about enormous new spending and tax increases.”

Caldier serves on the House Appropriations Committee, which considers spending in the budget.

“The governor's budget proposal is the beginning of budget talks in the Legislature, but certainly not the end. We have plenty of work to do during the scheduled 105-day session to create a sustainable, workable budget,” she added. “I'm confident we can do it within existing revenues and without taxpayers taking an additional hit.”

The 2019 regular session is scheduled to end April 28.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov