Abbarno’s 988 suicide prevention legislation added to another bill, passes House

A bill introduced by Rep. Peter Abbarno that would have required the new 988 suicide prevention hotline number be posted at new public works projects, such as buildings, bridges, ferries or parks constructed after July 1, 2024, failed to advance on time from the House Capital Budget Committee. However, Abbarno's House Bill 1600 was revived Tuesday in the form of an amendment to House Bill 1181, which passed the House unanimously on Tuesday.

House Bill 1181, sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, would establish programs aimed at preventing suicide among Washington's veterans and military members.

“There are several ways good ideas and real solutions move through the process to enact good policy; bills, amendments to bills, and budget language. This session, I teamed up with Representative Orwall in a bipartisan process to amend portions of House Bill 1181 on the House floor to add the language of my bill and improve an already very good measure. I'm very appreciative of her efforts to bring my legislation to the floor for a vote,” said Abbarno. “Amendment 1019 would require any public works project constructed after July 1, 2024, display the 988 National Behavioral Health Crisis and Suicide Prevention hotline. The amendment passed with overwhelming support.”

The new 988 Suicide Prevention line is scheduled to begin this summer in Washington state.

“Since 2008, suicide has ranked at the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In Washington state, the suicide rate is 11 percent higher than the national average. As many as three Washingtonians die by suicide every day, and in an average week, there are 65 hospitalizations from self-inflicted injury,” noted Abbarno. “Since the pandemic and mandates, focus on suicide prevention and behavioral health needs have magnified.”

Abbarno said the bill is about saving lives.

“We want to make sure that people in crisis and at risk of suicide know and understand they have better options available to them,” Abbarno added. “If a sign with a 988 number posted in an area known to be prone for suicidal attempts can save even one life, it will be well worth this legislation.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications