Monthly Archives: December 2019

Keiser bills take on high prescription drug prices

December 26th, 2019|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) has filed a suite of bills to rein in sharply rising prescription drug prices.

“This is a crisis,” said Keiser. “My colleagues and I hear every day from constituents who can’t afford their medication anymore, people who have to choose between prescriptions and rent.

“We have a responsibility to curb excessive costs of critical prescription drugs that are vital for people’s health. I’m working together with stakeholders to take several steps to make crucial, life-sustaining medications more affordable.”

Keiser has pre-filed five bills to tackle the problem from multiple angles. The bills will be considered during the 2020 session, which begins on Jan. 13.

  • SB 6087 would cap the out-of-pocket cost to patients for insulin at $100 per month.
  • SB 6088 would establish a prescription drug affordability board that would review prices to see if maximum price caps are needed.
  • SB 6110 would provide a mechanism for the state to import prescription drugs from Canada under a federal waiver.
  • SB 6111 would allow the state to contract with Canadian pharmacies that state employees could use for their needed high-cost medications.
  • SB 6113 would create a centralized purchasing process for insulin, based on the approached used by the state to purchase childhood vaccines.

Keiser is also continuing work to update a bill passed last year, HB 1224, that was supposed to provide drug price transparency, but has yet to be fully implemented.

“I expect lots of pushback from lobbyists and the companies that are profiting from high prescription drug prices,” said Keiser. “But this is too important to wait.”

Keiser applauds expanded overtime protections

December 11th, 2019|

OLYMPIA — Upon the announcement by the state Department of Labor & Industries of a new rule expanding overtime protections for salaried workers in Washington state, Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, released the following statement:

“Why have wages remained flat ever since the Great Recession? Here’s one reason: Millions of salaried workers have gone unpaid for the overtime they have worked.

“Despite federal inaction, Washington state is taking the lead. I strongly support the Department of Labor & Industries’ new rule expanding overtime protections to cover a quarter million more Washingtonians.

“This rule is the result of extensive data collection and public feedback. L&I has clear statutory authority for this rulemaking, and their process has been thorough and transparent.

“In response to feedback from the business community, the new rule provides a lengthy seven-year, phase-in period for all businesses and allows small businesses to start the phase-in at a lower threshold.

“Time is precious. Recognizing the value of workers’ time is good for them and their families. It’s also good for employers and our communities.

“We are all better off when businesses have lower turnover and workers have more money to spend close to home.”