Welcome to the 2020 legislative session! Below is our weekly Roll Call newsletter that we publish every Friday throughout session to give you the latest updates on what’s happening in education policy in Olympia.
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I’m delighted to begin this weekly roll call with the news that SB 6480 passed out of the Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 43-3!
This bill, sponsored by Senator Mullet, would implement a comprehensive school counseling program in every district, and ensure that school counselors spend at least 80% of their work time working with and on behalf of students. A big THANK YOU to everyone who helped SB 6480 reach this major milestone, including the Washington School Counselors’ Association, the High School Success Coalition, and many educators, parents, and students.
We were also excited to see an op-ed published this week in support of SB 6480 from high school Principal Brad Wilson in Chelan. "In the four years where they are under our roof," writes Brad, "we believe an “all hands on deck” approach to what each kid needs to succeed, requires access to school counselors and the specialized services they provide." You can read the rest of his editorial here.
We’ve passed the fiscal cut off now, which means that bills need to have been voted out of either House Appropriations or Senate Ways & Means to be considered for a floor vote. Both houses are not wasting any time; in addition to SB 6480, a number of education bills have already moved off the floors of their houses of origin:
- SB 6132, Senator Wellman’s bill that would allow LAP funding to be used for behavioral health supports including social workers, counselors, instructional aides, and school-based health professionals, passed 28-18 in the Senate. Stand testified in support of this bill.
- SSB 6191, which Stand supported, would add questions about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to the Healthy Youth Survey. It passed the Senate 43-3.
- ESSB 5908, which we signed in to support, passed 29-17. It would incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion training into professional development for district staff and board members.
- SB 6066 would require OSPI and an advisory committee to identify ethnic studies materials for grades K-6, and encourages schools to incorporate those resources. It passed 36-10.
- SB 6101 was passed unanimously in the Senate, and would require school districts to collect data on the usage of dyslexia screening tools and interventions.
- SB 6138 would modify the Beginning Educator Support Team program to encourage more districts to provide program participants from underrepresented populations with mentors with connections to participants’ backgrounds. It passed 30-16.SHB 2711 received a unanimous vote on the House floor and will now move onto the Senate. It directs OSPI to convene a workgroup focused on improving educational outcomes for students in foster care and experiencing homelessness. Stand supported this bill and its companion, SSB 6511, which has also made it out of Ways & Means to Senate Rules.
- SHB 2864 would create a pilot, subject to state funding, for summer Running Start programs at three higher education campuses selected by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. It passed on the House floor 78-19.
- ESHB 2455 passed the House 66-32. It would allow low income parents working toward their high school diploma to access Working Connections Child Care funding. We supported this bill and its Senate companion, 2SSB 6255.
- SHB 2865 passed unanimously in the House. It directs OSPI to develop a guide for families on how they can prepare their children for kindergarten.
We’re still watching two key bills that relate to our 2020 legislative priorities. They are: SB 6505, which would cover the costs of dual credit programs, and SB 6117, a bill that would increase the special education multiplier. Both bills, which we have supported, are in Senate rules awaiting a floor vote.
After the House of Origin cut off on February 19, we get to do this all over again. Bills that have passed a floor vote will go to the opposite house – so Senate bills that pass go to the House, and House bills go to the Senate. I’ll be back next week with a preview of what to expect as we approach the second half of session. Until then, thank you for your advocacy!
Want to read more about one of the bills mentioned above? Click here and type in the bill number: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/