Welcome to week number eight of 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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Happy Friday! Believe it or not, we’re less than one week away from the end of the 2020 legislative session. Today is the opposite house cut off, which means that bills that are still alive must receive a floor vote by the end of the day. Legislators were up late last night trying to squeeze as many votes in as possible before their final opportunity today. Here’s what we know:
A few bills aimed at expanding postsecondary opportunities have now made it through both houses, including 2SHB 2864, which would establish a two year summer Running Start pilot program at three community college campuses in Washington. Earlier this week, SB 6374, which allows dual credit scholarship money to be used for apprenticeship materials, passed on the House side. ESSB 6141 also passed the House on Wednesday. This bill expands information about financial aid that is made available to high school students; among other initiatives, it requires that the High School and Beyond Plan include information about the Washington College Grant and similar opportunities.
Both houses have also been working to pass bills aimed at serving Washington’s most vulnerable students. We were thrilled to see that SHB 2711 received a unanimous vote on the Senate floor late yesterday afternoon. The bill directs OSPI and other state agencies to convene a work group aimed at closing gaps for students in foster care and/or experiencing homelessness. ESHB 2116, which received a 47-1 vote, would establish a task force on improving educational outcomes for children who are incarcerated or previously incarcerated. The Senate also passed SHB 1182, which makes changes to the Learning Assistance Program, including provisions allowing funding to be used for behavioral health and lifting the cap on funding for community partnerships to 15% from 5%. Finally, ESHB 2455 expands eligibility for the Working Connections Child Care subsidy to parents who are completing their high school diploma.
Legislators are still debating what the final version of the supplemental operating budget will look like. Both houses are working off of their versions of ESSB 6168, and are currently conferencing to reconcile the differences between the two. One issue we’re watching closely is how special education funding will find its way into the final version.
I'll be back in your inbox once the session ends on Thursday with my initial summary of what's happened in education policy this year. You can also register today to join me on Thursday, March 19th at noon for our annual Legislative Debrief Call. I'll be discussing where things landed once the dust has settled and taking questions about the policy you've been following.
In the meantime, we’re thinking of everyone across the state right now coping with the spread of COVID-19. Please keep washing those hands and take care of each other!
Until next week,
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/