January 5, 2018 Policy Brief

A summary for those closely following the debate.

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • January 8: First day of 2018 Legislative Session
  • February 2: Policy Committee Bill Cut-Off
  • February 6: Fiscal Committee Bill Cut-Off
  • February 14: House of Origin Cut-Off


  • Stuart Elway’s most recent Elway Poll listed priorities of Washington voters by party. Elway notes that both parties and Independents cite three issues in their “top 5” priorities – education, economy and taxes:
    • Democrats:  Education (39%); Health care (24%); Economy (24%); Taxes (23%); Homeless (20%)
    • Republicans:  Taxes (31%); Education (27%); Economy (25%); Transportation (19%); State spending (16%)
    • Independents:  Education (29%); Economy (29%); Taxes (29%); Transportation (21%); Homeless (20%)
  • In early December, Senate Democrats provided a preview of some of their priorities:
    • Voting Rights Act. to create more civic engagement and better access to the democratic process.
    • SB 5991: The DISCLOSE Act, to improve transparency in elections
    • SB 5992: on bump stocks
    • SB 5995: on prescription generic drug pricing
    • SB 5996: on the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace
    • SB 6003: Breakfast After the Bell, aimed at reducing childhood hunger 

Key Numbers 

  • As of January 4th, there have been 205 bills pre-filed for the 2018 legislative session.
  • 70 awards and counting – Martin Sortun Elementary in Kent has been awarded for its achievements, in 2017, it was honored as a National Title I Distinguished School, one of the top 100 schools in the country for student achievement. Title I schools have at least 40% of their students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.

Social Media Chatter

What We're Reading

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in new plan to fully fund education, but Washington carbon policy should invest in landscapes, rural communities, state lands chief says. – Seattle Times

School funding still a top priority for new Legislature – Yakima Herald
“Here are a few things to watch in the next 60 days of the session, along with a few predictions from several Eastern Washington lawmakers.”

Why Education Matters to Your Health – Chronicle of Higher Education
“A recent report, by the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, made the stakes clear: Men and women who haven’t been to college live shorter, less healthy lives, and are losing ground compared with college graduates…This is about more than money — the findings suggest that pain, stress, and social dysfunction may all play a role.”

The League of Education Voters interviewed Lisa Wellman, Chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, on her priorities for 2018, among other subjects.  

Thank you for reading our summary. Please share any questions or feedback you may have with Katie Gustainis, kgustainis@stand.org.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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