SENATE BILL 6732
State of Washington 59th Legislature 2006 Regular Session
By Senators Franklin and Rasmussen
Read first time 01/19/2006. Referred to Committee on Health & Long-Term Care.
AN ACT Relating to exposure to depleted uranium and other hazardous materials by members and veterans of the national guard; creating new sections; and providing an expiration date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The definitions in this section apply throughout this act unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Depleted uranium" means uranium containing less uranium-235 than the naturally occurring distribution of uranium isotopes.
(2) "Eligible member" means a member of the Washington national guard who served in the Persian Gulf war, as provided in RCW 41.04.005, or in an area designated as a combat zone by the president of the United States during Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(3) "Military physician" includes a physician who is under contract with the United States department of defense to provide physician services to members of the armed forces.
(4) "Veteran" means a veteran, as defined in RCW 41.04.007, who served as an eligible member.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1)(a) Beginning October 1, 2006, the adjutant general must assist any eligible member or veteran in obtaining federal treatment services, including the services under (b) of this subsection, who:
(i) Has been assigned a risk level I, II, or III for depleted uranium exposure by his or her branch of service;
(ii) Is referred by a military physician; or
(iii) Has reason to believe that he or she was exposed to depleted uranium during such service.
(b) Federal treatment services for eligible members or veterans include a best practice health screening test for exposure to depleted uranium using a bioassay procedure involving sensitive methods capable of detecting depleted uranium at low levels and the use of equipment with the capacity to discriminate between different radioisotopes in naturally occurring levels of uranium and the characteristic ratio and marker for depleted uranium. No state funds may be used to pay for these tests or other federal treatment services.
(2) By October 1, 2006, the adjutant general must submit a report to the joint veterans and military affairs committee on the scope and adequacy of training received by members of the Washington national guard on detecting whether their service as eligible members is likely to entail, or to have entailed, exposure to depleted uranium. The report must include an assessment of the feasibility and cost of adding predeployment training concerning potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended under combat and noncombat conditions while in a combat zone.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) A task force that studies the health effects of hazardous materials exposure including, but not limited to, depleted uranium, as they relate to military service is created. The task force must:
(a) Initiate a health registry for veterans and military personnel returning from Afghanistan, Iraq, or other countries in which depleted uranium or other hazardous materials may be found;
(b) Develop a plan for outreach to and follow-up of military personnel;
(c) Prepare a report for service members concerning potential exposure to depleted uranium and other toxic chemical substances and the precautions recommended under combat and noncombat conditions while in a combat zone; and
(d) Make other recommendations the task force considers appropriate.
(2) The task force consists of the following members or their designees:
(a) The adjutant general;
(b) The director of the department of veterans affairs;
(c) The secretary of the department of health;
(d) Six members who are members of the legislature, appointed, one each, by the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the majority leader of the senate, the minority leader of the senate, the majority leader of the house of representatives, and the minority leader of the house of representatives;
(e) Two members who are veterans with knowledge of or experience with exposure to hazardous materials, appointed, one each, by the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives; and
(f) Four members who are physicians or scientists with knowledge of or experience in the detection or health effects of exposure to depleted uranium or other hazardous materials, appointed, one each, by the majority leader of the senate, the minority leader of the senate, the majority leader of the house of representatives, and the minority leader of the house of representatives.
(3) All appointments to the task force must be made within thirty days of the effective date of this act. Vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority.
(4) Task force members must select as cochairs one senator and one representative from among the members appointed under subsection (2)(d) of this section. The cochairs must schedule the first meeting of the task force within sixty days of the effective date of this act.
(5) Staff support for the task force shall be provided by the staff of the joint veterans and military affairs committee.
(6) Legislative members of the task force must be reimbursed for travel expenses under RCW 44.04.120. Nonlegislative members, except those representing an employer or organization, are entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses under RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.
(7) The expenses of the task force shall be paid jointly by the senate and the house of representatives. Task force expenditures are subject to approval by the senate facilities and operations committee and the house of representatives executive rules committee, or their successor committees.
(8) By January 31, 2007, the task force must submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature.
11 NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. This act expires January 31, 2007.
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