LGBTQ bills advance in the Senate

By Taylor McAvoy

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

OLYMPIA — Two LGBTQ rights bills have passed the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee.

The bills passed the committee Tuesday.

Senate Bill 5722 bans the practice of any form of therapy that intends to change a person’s sexual orientation, commonly known as conversion therapy.

“This is a critical policy,” said Committee Chair Senator Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver. “It’s critically important to better ensure that we prevent any pain and suffering particularly for children in our state.”

Co-sponsor Senator Ann Rivers, R-Lewisville said she originally signed on to the bill to allow it a chance for conversation and research. However, she advised a no vote on the bill saying child abuse statutes were already in place to protect children from bad practice and that parents should have a right to seek multiple options of therapy.

“I have a grave concern that we will have a chilling effect in our psychiatric community,” Rivers told lawmakers.

The bill passed out of committee and moves to the rules committee next.

Another bill, SB 5700, requires long term health care providers and workers to undergo one hour of training on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning, or LGBTQ, residents and patients.

The bill’s substitute adds onto the bill a mandate for owners and administration for assisted living homes to undergo two hours of training on their next license renewal date.

The department of health and social services is in charge of developing a training curriculum.

Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, is the bill’s prime sponsor.

“No one wants to be discriminatory but some folks don’t have the understanding and training they need,” he said at the bill’s hearing on Jan. 11.

Patricia Mcintyre, a trainer for Tacoma Older LGBT and Generations Aging with Pride, said that older LGBTQ adults sometimes receive a lower quality of care, are afraid to disclose their sexual orientation, or delay treatment based on fear of discrimination.

John Ficker, executive director of the Adult Family Home Council said he supports the bill but has some concerns. He urged lawmakers to consider the way the training is phased into existing training to ensure a smooth transition.

He also expressed concerns about how employees will be compensated for training, who pays for the training, and allowing the assisted living homes enough time to put a curriculum in place.

Rivers urged the committee to vote no on this bill. She expressed concern over specializing certain groups of patients over others and said that health care professionals already receive non-discriminatory training.

“I think it’s critical to ensure that training specific to the needs of the LGBTQ patients are met,” Cleveland said urging the committee to vote yes.

The majority voted to advance the bill to the rules committee.

________

This story is part of a series of news reports from the Washington State Legislature provided through a reporting internship sponsored by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

More in Politics

Republican Jaime Herrera Beutler, left, and Democrats Patrick DePoe, center, and Kevin Van De Wege, all candidates for state Commissioner of Public Lands, met before the Port Angeles Business Association on Tuesday to discuss their priorities for leading the Department of Natural Resources. (Peter Segall/Peninsula Daily News)
Fires are top priority for Commissioner of Public Lands hopefuls

Candidates want to increase state harvests

League of Women Voters sets candidate forum schedule

Hopefuls for state seats, county commissioner position invited to debate

From left to right, State Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, state Sen. Drew MacEwen, R-Union, Port Angeles attorney Graham Ralston and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, all candidates for Washington’s 6th Congressional District, appear before the Port Angeles Business Association on Tuesday to answer questions about their priorities for serving in Congress. (Peter Segall/Peninsula Daily News)
Congress hopefuls meet for a forum

Candidates to focus on bipartisanship

Clallam PUD candidates cite costs as top priority

Three hopefuls line up for six-year board position

More candidates join local races

Third declares for state Senate seat

Packed races begin to emerge

Political hopefuls file intent to run

Heather Dudley-Nollette.
Bayside director to run for Jefferson County commissioner

Heather Dudley-Nollette seeks District 1 seat

Port Angeles City Council hopefuls Kate Dexter and Travis Berglund answer questions during a Port Angeles Business Association forum Tuesday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles mayor to run for county commission

Dexter has supported climate action plan, affordable housing

Emily Randall, left, and Hilary Franz.
Stalwarts take sides in race for Kilmer’s seat

A growing constellation of Democratic Party influencers are choosing sides in the… Continue reading

Online learning keeps rising among state’s K-12 students

Online learning for Washington’s public school kids is here to stay. That’s… Continue reading

Jefferson County turnout tops in state

More than half registered voters handed in ballots

Battle narrows to Biden and Trump

Tuesday’s primaries give each the delegates needed for a November contest