LEGISLATIVE ROLL CALL
Session Week #8
A summary of the bills impacting schools, students, and families this week.
We’re almost there: the halfway point. Lawmakers have just a few more days before the March 9 deadline to vote bills out of their houses of origin. Starting March 10, it’s back to policy committees to hear bills that have made it through. That means that bills which have passed the Senate will be heard in the House, and House bills brought to committees in the Senate. If you want a more context for where we are in session, I explained it in this 2-minute video clip from today's Roll Call Live.
We just got the committee schedules for next week on Wednesday but already have some great news: our top priority bill, SB 5030 will be heard in House Education on March 11th! SB 5030 would establish a comprehensive school counseling program in every school and protect counselors' time with students. We’re grateful to the Senate for voting the bill off the floor with a 48-1 vote last week and are excited to hear it presented in committee on the House side.
If you want to help move SB 5030 forward, send an email right now to the House Education Committee about why you support student access to counselors.
Crosscut published an article this week highlighting the looming mental health crisis that students across Washington are facing. As one counselor explained, “We can't have kids coming back and not identifying what's going on with them. There's going to be a huge spectrum when they come back, and we need to get ready and have the resources for that.” It's clear that the need for school counselors is more urgent than ever. You can send your email to legislators urging their support of SB 5030 here.
We’re also looking forward to hearing two other important bills during the same hearing: SB 5044 and SB 5184. SB 5044 passed the Senate early in session; it would add antiracism standards into existing cultural competency standards. SB 5184, a bill championed by our High School Success Coalition partner Treehouse, would establish a point of contact for youth experiencing foster care in all K-12 school buildings.
For most of this past week we’ve been watching the House and Senate floors and have lots of progress to report. In the House, members passed HB 1302 to expand access for college in the high school programs, HB 1295 to improve educational supports and opportunities for youth who have been incarcerated, and HB 1113 to connect students with more comprehensive supports after being absent from school. Outside of the education world, we were excited to see a vote to pass HB 1078, which automatically restores voting rights for persons who have been convicted of a felony after their release. Over on the Senate side, members passed SB 5321 to expand eligibility for the College Bound scholarship.
We hope you’ll join us next week as we advocate for comprehensive school counseling. If you’d like to learn more about how you can advocate, please join us at our weekly “Take Action Tuesday” event, online at 6pm.
Until next week,
P.S. I touched on all of these bills in today's Roll Call Live on Facebook, which you can watch here.
Next Friday at noon I'll be joined by our Executive Director, Kia Franklin, for our Roll Call Live event. RVSP here to get a reminder when we go live with Kia next week!