On Thursday, February 8th, we hosted a public conference call led by our Government Affairs Director, Dave Powell. Mid-way through session and with an approaching House-of-Origin Cutoff on February 14th, Dave gave participants an overview of where we are with our legislative priorities and the status of bills we've been watching.
If you’d like listen to the call, which lasted about 1 hour, you can listen to the recording here:
The slide deck that served as a visual guide during the call is also available here.
If you prefer to read, instead of listen, here’s a brief recap of what Dave covered during the first part of the call:
Things are moving at a breakneck speed in Olympia. With one-party control over the State House, we’re seeing the results a lot of pent up energy from Democratic legislators.
We are continuing to work closely with key lawmakers and our priority bill sponsors, Senator Mullet and Representative Pettigrew, on moving the Early Warning System and Academic Acceleration proposals forward this session. Last week’s successful hearing on these policies set a strong foundation for this policy with the Senate Education Committee. Although the initial bill (SB 6209) did not move out of committee, we are working towards including the proposals with another bill that passes off the Senate floor before the House-of-Origin cut-off on Wednesday, February 14th.
These are the bills we’ve been watching closely and where they stand:
- SB 6362 – Senator Wellman’s bill that came at the request of OSPI to adjust last year’s school finance “McCleary” bill specifically around categorical programs, special education, and regionalization. We have been actively watching this bill and provided feedback on the original draft in our testimony in the Senate Education Committee. It passed through the Ways & Means Committee this week and has been sent to Rules.
- HB 2927 – Representative Vick’s bill to increase equity in the highly capable program by requiring universal screening of students. We are supportive of this bill and are glad it moved out of the Education Committee, but it hasn’t had any movement since being referred to House Appropriations.
- HB 1508 – Representative Stonier’s Breakfast after the Bell proposal has seen quick success in both chambers of the State House. Stand is supportive of this bill and glad to see it move so quickly after many repeated introductions and little movement in the past. It has passed both the House and the Senate and is on its way to Governor Inslee.
- SB 5074 / HB 1488 – Senator Frockt’s and Representative Hansen’s legislation would expand the eligibility requirements of the state need grant and college bound scholarship to include more undocumented students who have been DACA recipients. We are very supportive of this bill and its goals. SB 5074 has already passed out of the Senate and HB 1488 is currently in the Rules Committee.
- SB 6260 – Senator Ranker’s bill to cover costs for low-income running start students received our support during its hearing in the Senate Education Committee but hasn’t had forward movement since then.
- SB 6144 & HB 1046 – Senator Wellman’s and Representative MacEwen’s bills are not companion bills, but do both propose de-linking the current state assessment from graduation requirements for students. Stand opposes both bills and believes that removing the assessment passing requirement for graduation would result in students graduating ill-prepared for college and career after high school. Neither have had much forward movement are currently in their respective Rules Committees.
As the house-of-origin cut-off approaches on Wednesday, we expect to see a flurry of activity continue on the floor of both chambers. Once the dust settles, we’ll see where things stand
After Dave gave his overview, he took several great questions from participants. If you’d like to hear the question and answer portion of the call, you can listen to that part of the call starting at about the 31-minute mark.
If you couldn’t make it to the call, but would like to know more about how to support the priorities that Stand is focused on in 2018, sign up here and we’ll be in touch about how you can help support an equitable education for every Washington student.