Feb 5, 2009: The National MS Society Day of Activism was held. Nearly 100 MS activists from throughout Washington state came to the capitol in Olympia for legislative issue training and skills development. Wearing bright orange scarves, volunteers met with each member of the Washington State Legislature. Chapter Board members and MS activists met with the chairs of the Washington State House Health Care & Wellness Committee and the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee to discuss the need for Congress to repeal the 24-month Medicare disability waiting period. Senator Karen Keiser, Chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, agreed to sponsor the Senate Joint Memorial.
Feb 13: Senate Joint Memorial (SJM) 8013 was introduced by Sen. Karen Keiser with an additional nine cosponsors.
Feb 16: A hearing was held before the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee and four Society volunteers provided testimony in support of SJM 8013.
Feb 17: SJM 8013 unanimously passed the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee.
March 9: SJM 8013 passed the Washington State Senate unanimously by a vote of 46-0 (three members absent). Senator Keiser's floor speech referenced people living with chronic illness and disability and spoke specifically of people living with MS.
March 20: The House Health Care & Wellness Committee held a hearing on SJM 8013 with Chapter volunteer leaders again testifying in support.
March 26: SJM 8013 passed the House Health Care & Wellness Committee by a vote of 10-3.
April 9: SJM 8013 passed the Washington State House unanimously 98-0. Representative Eileen Cody, Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, spoke of her professional experience as an MS Rehabilitative Nurse. She made note of the fact that only 26% of state residents have private insurance during the 24-month Medicare disability waiting period and that thousands of lives are affected by lack of health insurance after they have qualified for SSDI. Representative Cody also cited the high incidence rate of MS in Washington state.
April 18: SJM 8013 was filed with the Washington State Secretary of State's Office. Following this, SJM 8013 was sent to President Barak Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Washington State Congressional delegation of nine US House members and two US Senators.
Washington is the third state to pass such a memorial to Congress.