Staffing mandate bill introduced in Olympia

January 19, 2023

The nursing unions and their allies in the state Legislature have introduced SB 5236, which implements staffing mandates, namely nurse-to-patients ratios. The bill received its first hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce Tuesday, Jan. 17.

SB 5236 is very similar to legislation introduced in 2022 (E2SHB 1868), though this bill differs in that it doesn’t specify what the ratios should be. Rather, it directs the Department of Labor & Industries to set ratios through rulemaking. The ratios would be developed by Jan. 1, 2027, and hospitals would be required to follow them by July 1, 2027. It also changes the mandatory prescheduled on-call cap from 24 hours per week to 60 hours per month.

WSHA maintains that ratios are not the right approach to addressing the staffing crisis, as it would result in fewer patients having access to care in our state. WSHA is proposing an alternative package of legislation that will help address the workforce shortage in Washington State. We will keep you informed of hearings on our proactive legislation.

Our team would like to extend our gratitude to all who testified and signed in against SB 5236 this week. You support is instrumental to protecting patient care. If you would like to get involved in this advocacy work but have not yet, you can join our advocacy network, which will keep you informed of upcoming opportunities to make your voice heard.


Chelene Whiteaker
WSHA Senior VP of Government Affairs


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