House passes Holy bill helping health-care workers during pandemic

A bill from 6th District Sen. Jeff Holy that aims to help health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was approved last night by the House of Representatives. If the Senate agrees with changes made by the House, the measure will advance to the governor’s desk.

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5190 would extend unemployment-insurance eligibility to health-care workers who must leave work to quarantine during a public-health emergency. The bipartisan proposal, passed 84-14 by the House, also would provide presumptive workers’ compensation coverage for health-care workers who contract the disease that is the subject of a public-health emergency.

“I’m glad the House showed strong bipartisan support in amending and passing this common-sense bill that tries to solve a problem for health-care workers during this and any future pandemic,” said Holy, R-Cheney. “Health-care workers face a serious, immediate threat when they have to treat patients with infectious diseases. When we have a health-care crisis of this magnitude here in Washington and throughout the nation, we need to take care of the people who are being asked to help take care of the public.”

The bill returns to the Senate, which must decide whether to concur, or agree, with the House’s changes to the proposal. The 2021 legislative session is scheduled to end April 25.