Legislative Success in the State of Washington

April 25, 2014 by Todd Christman
By Craig Bennett, MA, ATC, Washington State Athletic Trainers' Association President 

On April 3, it was my profound pleasure to inform the membership of the Washington State Athletic Trainers’ Association that we had made history!  The day before, a few of us had traveled to Olympia to watch Governor Jay Inslee sign HB 2430 into law.
Briefly, when the new law goes into effect on June 12, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries will make changes to the workers’ compensation rules that will eventually allow ATs to treat injured workers.
Anyone involved in their state association and particularly in the legislative process knows it’s not easy to push this type of issue forward, much less get it to the Governor’s desk. Simply stated, this would not have happened without WSATA members.
In the past two years many of our members have answered every call. They’ve contacted colleagues, urging them to get involved. They communicated with legislators. They forwarded emails to educate and inform. They came to meetings. And every bit of it served a purpose.  
I am proud of the urgency and the volume of communication from our members following our many calls to action. This effort was made possible only by the commitment of members. In the process, a very positive image of our profession has been generated. There are more legislators, staffers and others that have become familiar with athletic training and our role as health care professionals that provide exceptional medical services.
We knew when we began that the outcome might benefit only a tiny fraction of workers with access to an AT and a portion of athletic trainers. But we also knew that the effort would ultimately be for the greater good and help to advance the profession. Athletic trainers in Washington, across all settings, participated in this process and proved to be a very effective voice.
Obviously, we could not have done this without support from our bill sponsors and legislators who voted for the bill. In some way, shape or form these legislators allowed us to meet and/or communicate the value of our bill (and ultimately our profession). Without their willingness to listen, the bill would have fallen by the wayside like so many others.
Even members can’t do this alone, and I would be remiss not to give a special nod to our lobbyist Charlie Brown for his experience and leadership. He was amazing and has positioned us very well with the help of GA Chair Dana Gunter, Past-President Marty Matney, and our WSATA BOD. Last but certainly not least, we are grateful to the NATA for its financial support. Congratulations all on a job well done!