Roll Call #4: Gratitude and Graduation

Legislation, Policy Brief | 02/05/2021

Virginia Barry
Policy & Government Affairs Manager, Stand for Children Washington

Thank you to everyone who has joined our 2021 Week of Action! Together, you sent over 2,000 messages in support of students and families. I especially enjoyed seeing some of you at our Take Action Tuesday.

Now, before you finish reading this week's Roll Call, I encourage you to take one more action with us to finish out the the week and ensure that critical education legislation keeps moving. Click here to send a quick THANK YOU message to the Senators who are championing school counselors in honor of National School Counseling Week.

SEND YOUR THANKS NOW

We are now ten days from the first milestone of the 2021 legislative session: policy cut off. By February 15, all bills that have been introduced must be reviewed and voted out of their respective policy committees so that fiscal committees (House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means) can vote on them by February 22. Some are ahead of the game, including SB 5030, Stand’s priority bill to improve school counseling services, which is awaiting a floor vote after passing out of committee, and SB 5184, which just passed off the Senate floor with a unanimous vote. That bill, sponsored by new Senator T’wina Nobles (D-28), would establish points of contact for students in foster care all school buildings. It moves to the House next, where we hope SB 5030 will soon join it. You can watch Senator Nobles' emotional speech following the passage of 5184 here:

Elsewhere around the (virtual) capitol, we saw votes on two important bills pertaining to high school graduation requirements. The House Education committee moved an amended version of HB 1162 forward to House Rules. Stand testified in opposition to this bill in public hearing; in particular, we have concerns about adding a locally determined performance exhibition pathway that may not align to entry requirements for colleges and employers. On the Senate side, the Early Learning & K-12 Education committee met this morning and moved SB 5249 to Ways & Means. SB 5249 would continue the Mastery Based Learning and allow the State Board to make recommendations related to graduation requirements based on its findings. While we had testified with concerns about the bill’s initial lack of legislative oversight, we were happy that the version today requires that the Education committees in both chambers approve any changes to graduation pathways. 

We are grateful to all of you who have written or called your Senator asking for a floor vote on SB 5030. If you want to help push this bill over the finish line in the Senate, click here to send a quick thank you to the bill sponsors. Sixty of you also took action on HB 1297, which would provide cash assistance through the Working Families Tax Credit. The Recovery Rebate would provide a payment of $500 per individual, plus $150 for up to three kids, targeted to households with low incomes. Thank you all!

If you haven't signed up yet, I encourage you to register for our next Take Action Tuesday on February 9th. We've got a regular group of advocates that attend and who would be happy to help answer questions about what it's like to testify, meet with your legislator, or even make a phone call to urge your support.

Until next week,

Virginia 

P.S. If you prefer a video version of this Roll Call, you're invited to join my colleague Katie and I on our Roll Call Live via Facebook every Friday at lunchtime. Today's video features Devony Audet, our dedicated Stand fellow, who shared about her experience meeting with a legislator this week!

 

 

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