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Policy Matters

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Washington State

2015 State Public Policy Priorities   

On December 11, 2014, the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association’s Board of Directors approved WBBA’s 2015 State Public Policy Priorities. The priorities call upon legislators to preserve a favorable business climate by:

  • Renewing R&D tax credits and sales/use tax deferral incentives
  • Maintaining the state’s funding commitment to the Life Sciences Discovery Fund, a proven asset and smart investment
  • Ensuring access to necessary medicines for patients by updating state codes to include a definition for biologics and biosimilars, a safe substitution process and appropriate patient safeguards
  • Investing in STEM education, the key to growing innovation and maintaining competitiveness 


Help Raise WBBA’s Voice in Olympia

BIOPAC is WBBA’s nonpartisan political action committee. It is funded by WBBA members, Board contributions and proceeds from our Annual Golf Invitational.  It’s a fact of life that it takes money to run a political campaign. During the most recent election cycle, the BIOPAC made $70,300 in contributions to 39 legislative races and all four political caucuses. One hundred percent of the candidates the BIOPAC contributed to were elected.


Contributions to BIOPAC help increase the life science sector’s voice in Washington State government through education, information and support for candidates who promote policies that grow and strengthen the life science sector.  A contribution to the BIOPAC is an investment in the life sciences in Washington. Please make a BIOPAC investment today. For more information, please contact Patti Tenney ( or at 206-456-9566.  

Telling Our Story to Legislators

During the legislative interim, we have been busy working to help legislators learn more about the life sciences and the importance of supportive public policy including R&D tax credits and sales/use tax deferral incentives. The current incentives that have been in place since 1994 were renewed in 2004. The State Legislature failed to renew the credits during the 2014 legislative session so the credits expire at the end of 2014.  Those incentives have helped keep doors open, supported expanding and building facilities and encouraged job creation.


Special thanks to the folks at MicronicsPhilips Ultrasound and NanoString Technologies for hosting the meetings. Thank you to WBBA members that represented their companies at those meetings including CMC BiologicsPhysio-ControlSpacelabs HealthcareSyntrix BiosystemsEKOS CorporationSeattle GeneticsSonoSite, and ZymoGenetics: Bristol Myers Squibb.


Thank you to the following legislators for attending the meetings:  Senators Steve HobbsJoe FainDavid Frockt,  Andy Hill, and Mark Mullet and Representatives Judy ClibbornHans DunsheeJoe FitzgibbonRoger GoodmanLuis MoscosoMarcus RiccelliJune RobinsonMike SellsTana SennLarry SpringerPat Sullivan, and Brady Walkinshaw


Expert Volunteers Leading Policy

WBBA’s strong Government Affairs Council (GAC) works diligently to ensure a vibrant, vigorous life science industry. A favorable business climate depends on supportive public policy. WBBA engages with public officials at the city, county, state and federal levels to create and ensure an ecosystem that enables entrepreneurial people and companies to convert innovative ideas into marketable new products, services and jobs.  If you are interested in participating on our GAC, please contact Patti Tenney or 206-456-9566.  



Call for Dedicated Health Official at USTR

Members of Congress Call recently called for a dedicated health official to be assigned to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).  Special thanks to Representatives Suzan DelBeneDerek KilmerJim McDermottAdam Smith and Dave Reichert for signing the letter indicating their bi-partisan support for creation of a dedicated health official at USTR. 

Medical Device Excise Tax Repeal’s Time May Have Come

There’s a lot of buzz in the medical technology world about the possibility of finally repealing the medical device excise tax.  With a new majority in the Senate and an expanded majority in the House, the industry seems well poised to get to the finish line with a repeal.  Both incoming Senate Majority Leaders Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have cited device tax repeal as a priority. Our partners at the national level AdvaMed and MDMA continue to lead the effort. 


Calling on the Lame Duck Congress to Restore NIH Funding


We are fortunate to have members of Congresswoman who understand the importance of the life sciences and work to support it.  Thank you to Congresswoman Suzan DelBene who spearheaded a "Dear Colleague" letter calling for the restoration of NIH funding during the lame duck Congress. Thank you to Congressmen Denny HeckDerek KilmerRick LarsenJim McDermott, and Adam Smith.  Check out more information about the impact of NIH Funding. 

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson Came to Town

We Work for Health, of which Chris Rivera is a co-chair, partnered with the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease to host a luncheon discussion on the topic of Obesity in America – What It Means for Our Economy.  Held in Seattle on Oct 2, the panel featured Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and Tommy G. Thompson, Former Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. The panel also featured local physicians and researchers who are on the front lines of research and patient care.  Dr. Lenna Liu, Seattle Children’s Research Institute; Dr. Ellen Schur, UW Nutrition and Obesity Research Center and Dr. Emily Cooper, Founder and Medical Director, Diabesity Research Foundation. The panel discussed work that is being done on a local level as well as national trends and the role of government in this arena. For example, there is a challenge that insurers (including Medicare and Medicaid) will pay for bariatric surgery, but will not cover effective weight loss medication.  According to the panelists, changing that policy alone has the potential to improve patient wellness and reduce healthcare spending.   



Add Your Voice

Advocacy is a powerful tool. Grassroots action can make all the difference on certain policy issues at every level of government. During the 2014 state session, we will be working to renew the R&D B&O Tax Credits as well as the Sales/Use Deferral Credits.  Grassroots efforts will be a critical part of our effort to renew the credits. If you are willing to participate in grassroots initiatives, please contact Patti Tenney (or at 206-456-9566).

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