March 2, 2018 Policy Brief

A summary for those closely following the debate.

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • Friday, March 2: Opposite House Cutoff
  • Thursday, March 8: Last Day of Session per the state constitution
  • Wednesday, March 14: Stand for Children Legislative Wrap-up Conference Call

Policy 

In relation to our High School Success policy priorities, Senator Mark Mullet introduced an amendment during yesterday’s floor debate to HB 2748, a bill modifying the Learning Assistance Program (LAP). The amendment creates more flexibility for schools to use LAP funding to provide interventions for students who show early warning signs of dropping out. It would also allow schools to develop an Early Warning Data & Intervention System that would identify those students in need of support.  The bill was successfully passed off the floor but because it was changed significantly in other ways by the Senate Education Committee, it will need to go to conference with the House before being passed along for the Governor’s signature. We’re watching its progress closely.

Also on our radar this week:

  • SB 6362, Senator Wellman’s proposed McCleary trailer bill. Negotiations continue as the Senate and House reconcile their budget proposals and will come to a head next week.
  • Both chambers have prioritized increasing funding for the State Need Grant in their respective supplemental budget proposals along with establishing a timeline for full funding; but the chambers differ on how long that timeline should be. We are supportive of making this investment using the supplemental budget and hopeful that a compromise on process will be reached before session ends.
  • HB 1488, Representative Hansen’s bill that expands access to the College Bound Scholarship program to Dreamers in Washington state passed the Senate yesterday and is likely to be signed into law next week. The bill would also preserve Dreamers’ eligibility for this scholarship and the State Need Grant regardless of what action the Federal Government takes on DACA. We supported this bill when it was first heard in the house and are excited to see it make such significant progress this year.

Key Numbers 

  • 6 days left in the regularly-scheduled 2018 legislative session
  • 463 bills made it past the opposite house fiscal cutoff as of 2/26

Social Media Chatter

 

What We're Reading

First-Generation College Students Face Extra Challenges in High School, Too – Education Week

Released Thursday, the brief from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that students whose parents didn't go to college—"first-generation" college students—are less likely to enroll in challenging high school courses than their peers whose parents had earned bachelor's degrees.

Washington lawmakers split on clearing financial aid waiting list for low-income students – The News Tribune

Budget plans released by Democrats in the state House and Senate this month proposed starkly different amounts of money for the underfunded State Need Grant, a program that provides financial aid to low-income students. The difference reflects varying commitments in the Legislature to provide financial aid to tens of thousands of students who were eligible but did not receive money under the grant in recent years.

New LEV Podcast: Bipartisanship in Washington State

League of Education Voters Communications Director Arik Korman sat down with Senator Andy Billig (D-Spokane) and Senator Ann Rivers (R-La Center) to discuss bipartisan accomplishments, the effect of national politics on bipartisanship here in the ‘other Washington,’ and opportunities to work across the aisle moving forward.

 

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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