Senate approves Dufault’s Astria Toppenish hospital bill, purple heart license plates measure; sends bills to governor

Two of State Rep. Jeremie Dufault’s bills are on their way to the governor after unanimous passage Thursday in the Senate.

House Bill 1534 would allow the Astria Toppenish Hospital to operate their newly-opened psychiatric care facility without losing money.

The hospital opened the mental health facility at the beginning of this year. However, the default state-reimbursement rate made it so the Astria Toppenish Hospital would be operating at a loss for up to two years until the rate could be adjusted to match the actual cost of maintaining the facility. Dufault’s bill would immediately increase the current reimbursement rate to the median rate being paid to other rural hospitals.

“This bill is an important investment in improving mental health care in rural Washington,” said Dufault, R-Selah. “There is nothing more I would like to see than mental health clients receive care in their community and close to their support networks.”

Also approved in the Senate Thursday was a measure Dufault co-sponsored with Rep. Lisa Callan, D-Issaquah, that would benefit Purple Heart Veterans.

House Bill 2058 would eliminate the annual renewal fees on Purple Heart license plates and make the license a permanent plate, which would never have to be renewed.

“This is the least we can do for our Purple Heart Veterans who have sacrificed tremendously for us so that we can live in a free nation,” said Dufault, a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

In Washington, 2,484 Purple Heart license plates have been issued. To qualify for a Purple Heart license plate, a registered owner must:

  • be a resident of Washington;
  • have been wounded during one of the United States’ wars or conflicts;
  • have received an honorable discharge from the United States Armed Forces;
  • provide a copy of the Armed Forces document showing the recipient was awarded the Purple Heart medal;
  • be recorded as the registered owner of the motor vehicle on which the Purple Heart license plate will be displayed; and
  • pay all fees and taxes required by law for registering the motor vehicle.

Both measures now head to the governor for his consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications