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2019 State Policy Priorities
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2019 State Policy Priorities | Download a PDF version of our priorities here

Historical investments in the life science industry helped Washington become a nationally recognized leader in life science discovery and innovation and led to job growth that was three times the rate of other private sector jobs for over a decade. Importantly, during the two previous recessions, Washington’s life science industry added jobs while most other industries suffered significant losses.

In recent years, the elimination of key state programs (such as the R&D tax credit, Life Science Discovery Fund, and the Biotech & Medical Device Manufacturing Tax Credit) has raised questions about the state’s commitment to the industry.

Washington continues to have a strong biomedical research base, but we must actively work to create a supportive environment that enables our entrepreneurs and companies to stay and grow in Washington.

Our 2019 legislative agenda is focused on developing a sufficient workforce to allow local companies to expand without leaving the state and helping researchers and entrepreneurs persevere through the long, expensive and highly regulated process of transforming medical research into new products and therapies that improve people’s lives!

Develop a sufficient workforce to sustain Washington’s life science sector

Critical Workforce Budget Requests:
  1. $35 million in capital funding for a new STEM education facility at UW-Bothell in partnership with Cascadia College.
  2. $1.5 million in the 2019-21 biennium for UW-Bothell to add degree capacity to support the rapidly growing life science cluster and Biomedical Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ).
  3. $14.4 million in the operating budget for WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.
  4. Sufficient funding for Career Connect Washington to provide system-wide integration for career connected learning including regional STEM networks and employer involvement in career pathway programs.

Grow the life science ecosystem across Washington and sustain the commercialization and start-up mentoring programs supported by the Life Science Discovery Fund (LSDF), now that it has been sunset.


  1. Support legislation to transfer the responsibility to collect and reinvest the funds owed to the Life Science Discovery Fund to the Commerce Department so that the funds can continue to be used for their original purpose—to support growing the life science ecosystem in Washington State. Last session, this legislation (SHB 2833) passed the House and but died on the Senate calendar.
  2. Reauthorize the Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA), which is a model program that supports the growth of a nationally competitive health sciences cluster in Spokane.
  3. Continue to fully fund the Life Science Sector Lead position at the Commerce Department.

Invest in the research and educational facilities that fuel life science innovation and prepare Washingtonians for careers in life science related fields.

  1. Support the following capital budget investments throughout the state:
    • UW STEM education facility in partnership with Cascadia College (Bothell) — $35 million
    • UW Health Sciences Education Building — $70 Million
    • WSU Global Animal Health II — $36.4 million
    • WSU Biomedical and Health Sciences (Spokane) — $500,000 for predesign
    • WSU Life Sciences Building (Vancouver) — $4 million design
    • WSU Academic Building, including Life Science disciplines (Tri-Cities) — $27 million
  2. Maintain funding for the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment (CARE) Fund as specified by the CARE Fund authorizing legislation (RCW 43.348.080).

Build transportation infrastructure that allows people in our life science clusters to get to work and collaborate.

Collaboration is critical for life science organizations. That is why many companies are located in clusters near each other and relevant research partners. It is important to have sufficient transportation infrastructure to get employees to these clusters. Right now, there is a critical need to address transportation to and from the cluster in Bothell / Canyon Park.

Prescription drug price transparency & cost disclosure legislation

Recently, legislation has been introduced in several states that would require biotechnology companies and in some cases their research partners to track and disclose costs associated with the research, development and manufacturing of innovative drugs and therapies. Additionally, legislation often requires biotechnology companies to report drug pricing information that is divorced from the actual costs accrued throughout the prescription drug supply chain. This type of legislation does not give the consumer an accurate view of the cost of drugs.


  1. We oppose non-comprehensive price transparency and/or price disclosure legislation that would burden local companies, hurt investment, and not provide transparency to the entire prescription drug supply chain or address patients’ out-of-pocket costs concerns. A more complete description of LSW’s position on Drug Price Transparency & Cost Disclosure Legislation can be found on our website

For more information please contact:

Marc Cummings, Vice President, Public Policy, 206-321-4679 or

Becky Bogard, Life Science Washington (LSW) Lobbyist, 206-979-0326 or

Tim Boyd, LSW Lobbyist, 360-791-6100 or

Melissa Johnson, LSW Lobbyist (healthcare), 360-280-6429

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