NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

Senate sends My Health, My Data Act back to WA House with strong private right of action

Moments ago, leg­is­la­tion request­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son that would pro­vide strong new pro­tec­tions for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ pri­vate health data was approved by the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, bring­ing a cru­cial NPI leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ty one step clos­er to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk for signature.

By a vote of 27–21, the Sen­ate vot­ed to pass an amend­ed ver­sion of House Bill 1155, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Van­dana Slat­ter (D‑48th Dis­trict: Belle­vue, Red­mond, Kirk­land, Med­i­na, the Points com­mu­ni­ties) that has the sup­port of Slat­ter, Sen­ate prime spon­sor Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Duvall), Fer­gu­son, and advo­cates like NPI.

In its cur­rent incar­na­tion (a strik­ing amend­ment offered by Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra that was devel­oped with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Slat­ter), House Bill 1155 restores the bill to its orig­i­nal­ly con­tem­plat­ed scope, with a strong pri­vate right of action.

What that means is that if peo­ple find the pri­va­cy of their health data has been infringed upon, they can go to the courts to seek jus­tice them­selves, rather than hav­ing to rely on the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office as the sole enforcer of their rights.

That’s huge­ly impor­tant because it means that HB 1155 will have teeth. It will be a law that will offer real and mean­ing­ful pro­tec­tion to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans in an era when many states are try­ing to crim­i­nal­ize repro­duc­tive healthcare.

That includes Wash­ing­ton’s neigh­bor Ida­ho, where Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle just today — today! — signed an extreme right wing bill that attempts to restrict young Ida­hoans from trav­el­ing into neigh­bor­ing states to access legal abor­tion care. The bill out­ra­geous­ly attempts to crim­i­nal­ize the act of help­ing a young per­son get repro­duc­tive health­care, includ­ing in anoth­er state.

Accord­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood, it “remains unclear how the state intends to enforce the law, pos­ing seri­ous risks for indi­vid­u­als’ med­ical privacy.”

Leave it to extreme Repub­li­cans in Ida­ho to demon­strate why we need HB 1155.

New research released yes­ter­day by the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute at an event with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Slat­ter, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son shows that HB 1155 is mas­sive­ly pop­u­lar. 76% sup­port the leg­is­la­tion’s pro­vi­sions, with sev­en out of ten vot­ers strong­ly sup­port­ive overall.

My Health, My Data is one of the most pop­u­lar ideas we have ever researched.

At our press con­fer­ence and here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, I urged the Sen­ate to take up this bill and keep it strong. Today, the Sen­ate did just that, reject­ing a slew of amend­ments from Repub­li­cans and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Mark Mul­let that would have weak­ened it. Well done, Wash­ing­ton State Senate!

The roll call on the bill was as follows:

Roll Call
HB 1155
Con­sumer health data
3rd Read­ing & Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Senate

Yeas: 27; Nays: 21; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Cleve­land, Con­way, Dhin­gra, Frame, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kauff­man, Keis­er, Kud­er­er, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Nguyen, Nobles, Ped­er­sen, Ran­dall, Robin­son, Rolfes, Sal­daña, Salomon, Shew­make, Stan­ford, Trudeau, Valdez, Well­man, Wil­son (Claire)

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Boehnke, Braun, Dozi­er, For­tu­na­to, Gildon, Hawkins, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Mul­let, Muz­za­ll, Pad­den, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Tor­res, Wag­oner, War­nick, Wil­son (Jeff), Wil­son (Lyn­da)

Excused: Sen­a­tor Van De Wege

After Mul­let’s amend­ments failed, he joined Repub­li­cans in oppos­ing the bill. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Kevin Van De Wege was excused. All oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors vot­ed yea to pass the bill. All Repub­li­cans vot­ed nay against it.

The bill now returns to the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for con­cur­rence. If the House accepts the Sen­ate’s good amend­ments, then the leg­is­la­tion can go to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee for bill action and no con­fer­ence will be nec­es­sary. We are close to hav­ing the My Health, My Data Act on the books! NPI will con­tin­ue its advo­ca­cy for this crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant bill until the job gets done.

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