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.
If you'd like to receive the Roll Call in your inbox every Friday, sign up here.
This week, we had our eyes glued to the House and Senate floors as legislators made their final push to get bills out of their houses of origin before Wednesday’s deadline. While we didn’t see the same flurry of education bills that the first week of floor votes brought, a few important ones reached the finish line in time to move over to the opposite house. Here’s a rundown:
- 2SSB 6117, which Stand has supported, would add $9.8 million to next year’s budget for special education, and an additional $26.1 million in the 2021-23 biennium. The funding would go toward increasing the multiplier for special education students who spend at least 80% of their time in a general education setting. It received a unanimous vote on the Senate floor.
- 2SSB 5607 seeks to support English language learners by establishing grant programs for dual language learning in early childhood and K-12 education. It would also direct OSPI to adopt grade-level expectations for biliteracy development. Stand supported this bill in the Senate, where it received a 34-14 vote.
- 2SHB 1182 makes several changes to the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), including the requirements that districts align interventions to the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol and expand Extended Learning Opportunities to ninth and tenth graders. It received a 97-1 vote on the House floor.
- 2SHB 2864 would establish a running start summer pilot program at three campuses beginning in 2021. It passed 78-19 and now moves to the Senate.
- SHB 2865 received a unanimous vote in the House. This bill requires OSPI to develop a guide for families on how they can help their children be ready for kindergarten. It also specifies that the guide be available in ten languages. Stand supported this bill in committee.
- ESSB 6282 passed the Senate with a 39-9 vote. Stand testified in committee with our concerns about the bill, which would require schools to develop individualized highly capable learning plans for all highly capable students within 30 days of moving to a non-cohort model, and would retroactively apply to schools that have modified their delivery models since January 2019.
This is my third legislative session with Stand, and one of the important lessons I’ve learned is that sometimes bills that don’t make it past cut off aren’t necessarily gone for good, especially if they are deemed necessary to implement the budget. We’re still watching a couple that I’ll call “mostly dead”, but may reappear as amendments on existing legislation, so stay tuned! I’ll be back next week with a report that will feel a little like déjà vu, as policy committees in the House hear Senate bills and Senate committees hear House bills.
If you're interested in getting in on the action today, you can call your Representatives and urge them to support scheduling a hearing in the House Education Committee for SB 6480, one of our policy priority bills that will protect school counselors' time so they can focus on supporting students.
Thank you for following along – we’re halfway there!
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/