The 2024 state legislative session is a “short” 60-day session during which legislators will consider new state policy and pass supplemental updates to the 2023-2025 state budgets focused largely on incremental funding changes to state programs.
Life Science Washington is in a strong position to advocate on behalf of Washington’s life sciences community after spending the summer and fall strengthening relationships with key legislators. These efforts include a tour of Absci with Vancouver-area legislators who all hold key positions on health care committees, a tour of Seagen’s Bothell facility with one of that area’s legislators, and a tour of Adaptive Biotechnologies with several Seattle area legislators.
State Budget Priorities
- $5 million in capital budget design funding for the new Chemical Sciences building at the University of Washington Seattle. A new Chemical Sciences Building will make the UW a destination for top chemists and promising students while solving critical issues facing the department, including safety, security, and research constraints. It will also help foster interdisciplinary collaboration that is not possible in the 100-year-old Bagley Hall.
- In 2023, we worked to make an historic investment in the CARE Fund and make funding available to Washington companies for the first time. Since then, the program has been collecting slightly more than the expected $20 million per biennium. In 2024, we will urge legislators to continue fully funding the CARE Fund.
- $2.7 million increase in career connected learning grant pool and $6.25 million for Career Launch programs at community and technical colleges to help match the pace of current student enrollment and forecasted demand growth. Additionally, we will advocate to ensure that taxes paid by LSW members under the Workforce Education Investment Act are prioritized for employer-driven workforce programs.
Policy Bills We Are Monitoring
Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB)
HB 1269 — Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane)
LSW will work to maintain the coalition we formed in 2023 to successfully oppose the Health Care Authority’s proposed expansion of the PDAB’s authority. HCA’s bill would allow an upper payment limit on more drugs, lower the price threshold for qualification, eliminate the seven-year exclusivity provision, remove the exemption for rare disease drugs, and prohibit industry experts from serving on advisory panels. OPPOSE.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
FDA and other federal agencies already regulate AI and the use of data, and additional rules and regulations are being developed. To avoid a patchwork of state policies, the legislature should defer to federal regulations, just like they did in 2023 with personal health care data privacy (My Health My Data Act). LSW will work to ensure that future regulations support the technology’s role as a scientific tool with the potential to dramatically reduce the time and cost of developing new drug candidates. MONITOR.
Right to Repair
We successfully included a medical device exemption in all consumer products Right to Repairs bills previously considered by the legislature and will work with AdvaMed to make sure medical devices are not covered in any additional legislation introduced. MONITOR.
Biomarker Testing Coverage
In 2023, the American Cancer Society (ACS) led a coalition in support of legislation to guarantee coverage for biomarker testing. The bill’s scope was narrowed to apply only to biomarker testing for cancer, but it did not pass. We will work with ACS to restore the bill to its original disease-agnostic status. SUPPORT with amendment.
Rare Disease Advisory Council
A proposal by local parent advocates to elevate the needs of families impacted by rare disease was reintroduced in 2023 to advise state government on policies to improve health care access, early diagnosis, and medical education programs. The bill remains under consideration in 2024, and we will continue supporting the rare disease advocate community’s efforts to pass a bill establishing a Rare Disease Advisory Council in Washington state. SUPPORT.