AIHC Legislative Updates

AIHC Legislative Updates

AIHC's Tribal Health Legislative Priorities 2021

Together we can educate, influence, and help the legislature partner with us to strengthen and redesign our Indian Health system of care into one that reflects our indigenous values.

American Indian Health Commission Legislative Priorities 2021

All Documents in a Google folder

AIHC Legislative Priorities One-pager

Testifying During 2021 Session – Accessing the Legislature Remotely

Add Tribal Representation on the Emergency Management Council:

SB5101 Sponsored by Sens. Stanford, Conway, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Hunt, Nguyen, Randall, Saldaña, Wagoner, Wilson, C.

BACKGROUND: Washington State has a government-to-government relationship with Tribal Governments and has designated Tribal Governments as one of the four parts of the Public Health System. To honor these relationships, tribal representation should be added to the Washington State Emergency Management Council. This amendment is budget neutral. Washington State Legislature

ASK: Please consider supporting amendment language to create a Tribal Advisory Workgroup for the EMC that recommends Tribal Representatives and issues for the representatives to bring to the Council.


Tribal Involuntary Treatment Provisions:

BACKGROUND: A budget neutral bill. This legislation cleans up language in the Indian Behavioral Health Act from 2020; adds Tribes and Indian health care providers among entities able to petition courts for Involuntary Treatment Admissions of a minor under Joel’s Law. Removes jurisdictional language that was confusing.

ASK: Please consider co-sponsoring and supporting this bill.


Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women:

Supported by Sen. Dhingra and Rep. Lekanoff in coordination with the Office of the Attorney General

BACKGROUND: The rate for missing American Indian and Alaska Native women in Washington State is 4.2 times higher than that for white women. Tribal and urban Indian communities have called for the formation of a community-led statewide taskforce to continue Washington State’s work to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A statewide taskforce would take the next step to determine legislative versus administrative fixes to address challenges in data collection and reporting practices, tribal-state jurisdiction, and direct prevention and response services for American Indian and Alaska Native people impacted by gender-based violence.

ASKSupport this $500,000 budget proviso for the Office of the Attorney General to convene a MMIWG Statewide Task Force.

Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention:

BACKGROUND: DOH funding request for an additional $400k to build Tribal specific community tools for helping community members help other community members and family when they are suicidal. Also includes funding for the AIHC Annual Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Summit.

ASK: Support this DOH funding in the budget.

Fund Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS) Budget Request:

BACKGROUND: A strong governmental public health system is essential to keep Washington healthy and safe. We support full funding of FPHS. The Governor’s budget has $143 million, this is a good start. Sustainable funding to ramp up to full funding of $450 million over the next few years.

ASK:Fund FPHS at the level in the Governor’s Office based on sustainable funding.

Dental Therapist:

SB 5142 Sponsored by Frockt, Das, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Lovelett, Randall, Rivers, Robinson, Saldaña, Stanford, Wilson, C.

BACKGROUND: This bill will expand the ability of dental therapists (including DHATs) to provide services across the state focusing on providing access to Medicaid clients. This bill has two significant changes to meet lawmaker concerns. Private practice dental clinics are no longer eligible practice settings for dental therapists, and preceptorship hours have been extended. These changes allow for incremental expansion of the profession with additional oversight.

ASK: Please support this bill as it moves to through Senate and then the House.

Attachment 1

Attachment 2

Health Equity Zones:

SB 5052 Sponsored by Sens. Keiser, Randall, Cleveland, Conway, Das, Frockt, Hasegawa, Kuderer, Lovelett, Nguyen, Nobles, Robinson, Saldaña, Salomon, Wilson, C.

BACKGROUND: Health equity zones are specifically identified geographic areas that have the goal of achieving health equity by eliminating health disparities. Subject to funding, DOH, in coordination with the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities, local health jurisdictions, and accountable communities of health, must review relevant health and population data to identify, or allow communities to self-identify, potential health equity zones in the state and develop projects to meet the unique needs of each zone. Tribes and Urban Indian communities are specifically called out in the bill as communities that must be worked with.

ASK: Please support this bill as it moves to through Senate and then the House.

Other Legislation/Budgets AIHC supports:

Universal SB 5399– Need to ensure AI/AN population is exempt with ability to opt-in and there is limited or zero cost-sharing.

Medicaid Postpartum extension SB 5068- Improving maternal-infant health outcomes by extending Medicaid postpartum coverage for up to twelve months after the last day of pregnancy.

Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits Preservation

Questions can be directed to:

Vicki Lowe, Executive Director, AIHC or 360-460-3580

Maria Gardipee Ness, Legislative Liaison, AIHC or 360-742-2532


To view 2020’s Legislative Priorities and Results, click here.

To view 2019’s Legislative Priorities and Results, click here.

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