Roll Call #6: credit waivers, driver licenses

Current Events & News, Legislation, Policy Brief | 02/19/2021

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

LEGISLATIVE ROLL CALL

Session Week #6

A summary of the bills impacting schools, students, and families this week.

Happy Friday! Earlier this week, we got the exciting news that Senator Claire Wilson pulled SB 5030 from the Senate Rules committee, which means we should expect to see floor debate soon, and hopefully a vote that would move the bill over to the House. Now it’s your turn to take action and protect student access to counselors: click here to send your Senator an email about SB 5030.

SEND NOW

We’ve had to wait for a vote on SB 5030 in part because of the legislature’s focus on moving pandemic-related legislation as quickly as possible. One example is HB 1121, a State Board of Education request bill, which grants the Board permanent authority to set up emergency waiver processes for graduation requirements. You may recall that last spring, districts could apply to waive credits for members of the class of 2020 who were unable to complete the necessary coursework to graduate. Once Governor Inslee signs HB 1121, the State Board can begin working on a plan to ensure that the class of 2021 graduates on time as well. Last spring we co-produced a comic strip graphic about credit waivers to help students and families better understand the possible consequences of a credit waiver. If your student is in the Class of 2021, this now applies to you too. Check it out here.

Meanwhile, virtual session is moving along; policy committees wrapped up this past Monday, which means the funnel of bills introduced at the start of session has begun to taper down based on what committees have moved forward. We were excited to see a vote in Senate Law & Justice committee to move SB 5226, which would eliminate drivers’ license suspensions based on accumulation of fines or minor traffic infractions, over to Senate Rules before the deadline. If you’d like to urge your Senator’s support of 5226, please send them a letter here.

SUPPORT SB 5226 NOW

This week, we’re turned our focus to the fiscal committees, specifically House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means. In these public hearings, testimony focuses less on how the bill would work if it’s made into law, and more on how the state would pay for it. Any bill with a price tag goes through these committees before reaching the floor, We’ve had our eye on SSB 5321 to expand eligibility for the College Bound Scholarship, and SB 5249 focused on mastery based learning, both of which received public hearings in Senate Ways & Means this week. In Appropriations, members heard HB 1208 to improve the learning assistance program (LAP), HB 1295 that provides educational supports and opportunities for youth who are incarcerated, and HB 1297, which would provide a tax credit for working families. All three bills should have received a vote in this afternoon’s Appropriations meeting. 

Fiscal committees wrap next Monday, February 22, after which bills have about two weeks to get a vote on either the Senate or House floor. We’ll keep you updated on all the happenings as we await a vote on SB 5030 and other key bills. Until then, we hope to see you at our next weekly “Take Action Tuesday”.

Until next week,

Virginia

P.S. I covered the bills included above in a fast and furious Roll Call Live earlier today on Roll Call Live via Facebook. Click here to watch today's video! We go live every Friday around 12:15 if you want to bring your lunch and join us.

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