Speakers at April 4th, 2023 My Health, My Data press conference
My Health, My Data Act press conference speakers: On April 4th, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Representative Vandana Slatter, Alicia Hupprich, Courtney Normand of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, NPI's Andrew Villeneuve, and Senator Manka Dhingra urged the Legislature to pass a strong reproductive health privacy bill, which it did in the following days. (Photo: Kenneth Fockele for the Northwest Progressive Institute)

Less than an hour ago, leg­is­la­tion request­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son that would pro­vide strong new pro­tec­tions for Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ pri­vate health data won final pas­sage in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, putting it a guber­na­to­r­i­al sig­na­ture away from becom­ing the law of the land in the Ever­green State.

By a vote of 57–40, the House vot­ed to con­cur in the Sen­ate amend­ments to House Bill 1155, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Van­dana Slat­ter (D‑48th Dis­trict: Belle­vue, Red­mond, Kirk­land, Med­i­na, the Points communities.)

Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra (D‑45th Dis­trict: Red­mond, Kirk­land, Sam­mamish, Duvall), a North­west Pro­gres­sive Foun­da­tion board­mem­ber, had the com­pan­ion bill in the Sen­ate and over­saw the draft­ing of the amendments.

Those amend­ments strength­ened the bill — as opposed to weak­en­ing it, which is the more com­mon sce­nario when a bill is changed by the oppo­site cham­ber — set­ting the stage for a sim­ple and straight­for­ward con­cur­rence vote in the House.

The Sen­ate’s changes, pro­posed by Dhin­gra’s com­mit­tee, restored 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.

“This law pro­vides Wash­ing­to­ni­ans con­trol over their per­son­al health data,” Fer­gu­son said in a state­ment. “Wash­ing­to­ni­ans deserve the right to decide who shares and sells their health data, and the free­dom to demand that cor­po­ra­tions delete their sen­si­tive health data — and will now have these protections.”

“Web­sites, apps and health track­ing devices lack the basic pro­tec­tions we’ve come to expect when shar­ing our per­son­al health data,” Slat­ter said.

“There is no way to con­sent or even know about it. We must pro­tect the data of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans and all who trav­el here. With­out a fed­er­al pol­i­cy, this is where we are and the first in the nation bill we need. I’m glad my col­leagues and the attor­ney gen­er­al are choos­ing to rise to the occa­sion in pro­tect­ing people’s right to pri­va­cy, per­son­al agency and safe med­ical care.”

“Peo­ple have a right to keep pri­vate health data pri­vate,” Dhin­gra said. “With the My Health My Data Act, Wash­ing­ton becomes the nation­al leader in inform­ing and obtain­ing con­sent from con­sumers when com­pa­nies col­lect, share and sell their health care data. It is cru­cial that peo­ple have the abil­i­ty to request that their pri­vate data be delet­ed once col­lect­ed, and this bill allows them to do so.”

New research released on April 4th 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.

The House and Sen­ate are to be com­mend­ed for send­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee a strong bill that will be a mod­el for states through­out the coun­try. This is what real lead­er­ship looks like — and it comes at a crit­i­cal time for repro­duc­tive rights.

The roll call on final pas­sage in the House was as follows:

Roll Call
HB 1155
Con­sumer health data
Final Pas­sage as Amend­ed by the Senate

Yeas: 57; Nays: 40; Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Alvara­do, Bate­man, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chap­man, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Don­aghy, Duerr, Enten­man, Fari­var, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Fos­se, Good­man, Gregerson, Hack­ney, Hansen, Klo­ba, Leav­itt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Mor­gan, Orms­by, Orwall, Paul, Peter­son, Pol­let, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Rule, Ryu, San­tos, Senn, Shavers, Sim­mons, Slat­ter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Tay­lor, Thai, Tharinger, Tim­mons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Cham­bers, Chan­dler, Cheney, Chris­t­ian, Con­nors, Cor­ry, Cou­ture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehn­er, Gra­ham, Grif­fey, Har­ris, Hutchins, Jacob­sen, Klick­er, Kretz, Low, May­cum­ber, McClin­tock, McEn­tire, Mos­bruck­er, Orcutt, Robert­son, Rude, San­dlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Steele, Stokes­bary, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ortiz-Self

The vote on final pas­sage of HB 1155 was a par­ty-line vote, with Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tives sup­port­ive and Repub­li­cans opposed.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lil­lian Ortiz-Self was excused.

The final ver­sion of HB 1155 would, if signed by Inslee:

  • Estab­lish con­sumer rights of access, with­draw con­sent, and dele­tion regard­ing con­sumer health data.
  • Require reg­u­lat­ed enti­ties and small busi­ness­es to obtain con­sent in order to col­lect, share, or sell con­sumer health data.
  • Spec­i­fy reg­u­lat­ed enti­ty and small busi­ness oblig­a­tions regard­ing con­sumer health data pri­va­cy notice, access, and secu­ri­ty requirements.
  • Pro­hib­it imple­ment­ing a geofence around an enti­ty that pro­vides in-per­son health care ser­vices to col­lect or track data from con­sumers or to send adver­tise­ments relat­ed to con­sumer health data.
  • Exempt gov­ern­ment agen­cies, trib­al nations, and per­son­al infor­ma­tion gov­erned by cer­tain fed­er­al or state laws.
  • Make vio­la­tions enforce­able under the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act.

Our thanks to Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Slat­ter, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al Fer­gu­son for their lead­er­ship. With­out them, we would­n’t have got­ten a strong My Health, My Data Act this ses­sion. This is a great vic­to­ry for Washingtonians.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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