Rep. Harris legislation to aide behavioral health care workers unanimously passed by the Senate

A bill that would help behavioral health care workers renew their credentials during a state of emergency, unanimously passed out of the Senate, Tuesday.

House Bill 1063, sponsored by Rep. Paul Harris, would give the Secretary of Health the authority to grant a waiver for additional credential renewals due to barriers created from governor-declared emergencies. The legislation would also give more time to individuals looking to complete their licensure hours during times of a pandemic or state emergency.

“This bill would provide some assistance to the health care workers who need it. I wish it would have moved a little quicker, but I'm happy to see it passed by the Senate,” said Harris, R-Vancouver.

The legislation would apply to substance use disorder professional trainees' certifications and associate licenses for social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists.

“Behavioral health care workers play a very important role in the overall health and well-being of our communities,” noted Harris. “This piece of legislation will allow them to do their jobs and help people suffering from mental illness and other behavioral disorders.”

The bill contains an emergency clause, meaning it would take effect immediately. It now heads to the governor's desk to be signed into law.

The 105-day 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.


Washington State House Republican Communications