Today marks the end of week #2 in this short legislative session. Lawmakers have kept up the pace of committee meetings to hear as many bills as possible before the first cutoff on February 3. We’d like to invite you to reach out to your representatives next week during our 2022 Week of Action. Every day we’ll highlight key bills to support as they progress through the legislature. To receive emailed opportunities to take action with us next week, sign up here.
We finish this week with a great report on legislation to end “parent pay,” the current practice of charging parents a portion of their gross income when their child is confined in juvenile detention. This forty-five year old law often keeps families in debt long after their child has left the legal system. I’m excited to report that SB 5535 passed out of the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation committee this week with a unanimous vote. In addition, Senator Gildon provided an amendment to include county detention costs in the bill, greatly increasing the impact it will have on families with young people moving through the legal system.
This bill was covered in the Yakima Herald-Republic today by reporter Vanessa Ontiveros. We were proud to be quoted alongside our partners at the Center for Children and Youth Justice as advocates for this legislation. You can read the full article here.
On Wednesday, the House Children, Youth, and Families Committee heard HB 1897, the House companion to SB 5535 sponsored by Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley. Stand and other advocates provided testimony in support of the bill as we did in the Senate. We are excited that Rep. Harris-Talley has introduced a second bill, HB 2050, which also incorporates county detention costs into the original bill language. This new bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Monday and a vote in executive session on Thursday. Want to learn more about how to advocate for this legislation? Join us on Monday evening for a one-hour meeting on how to take action.
We have more good news about two bills to ensure students have better access to support staff such as nurses, school counselors, psychologists, and social workers. Over on the Senate side, SB 5595 was voted out of Early Learning & K-12 and referred to Ways & Means. This bill adds additional funding for school nurses and ensures that funding allocated for support staff – nurses, school counselors, psychologists, and social workers – is spent on employees who can provide those critical services to students.
Earlier this morning, House Education also voted to pass its companion, HB 1664, out of committee with a few notable changes, including added funding for other support staff positions, and a requirement that all schools employ at least one nurse and one counselor. It will likely be referred to Appropriations next week.
Looking ahead to next week, we have a few bills we’ll be watching related to college and career readiness. In the House, the Education committee will hear two bills related to dual credit access and equity, HB 1760 and HB 1867. In the Senate, we’re paying close attention to the debate on SB 5902, which would create flexibility in Washington’s high school graduation requirements.
Thanks for tuning in! Hope to see you on Monday evening at 6pm at our next Monday Action Meeting to kick off the 2022 Week of Action together.