We did not let a short 60-day session shrink our ambition for system changes that will benefit young people in Washington. 

We set out with clear goals  to advance ninth grade success and eliminate outlawed debt, while supporting partner priorities to advance racial justice and proven solutions that benefit kids. These goals resonated with legislators, activists, advocates, and community members who shared their voice this session in support of these and other critical priorities. Thanks to their voices and advocacy, the legislature passed SB 5974 and allocated $3M in the final budget for the Ninth Grade Success Initiative.

But despite the short session, we must keep a long memory – many important priorities were kicked down the road to next year, “when there’s more time.” We were disappointed to see some very innovative policies that would have made a difference in young peoples’ lives stall out. These policies include a number of youth justice proposals that would have acknowledged the science of brain development, and the harm done by past policies that were rooted in hyper-punitive, counterproductive narratives about young people. This article highlights why the instinct to build up punitive systems is harmful and unproductive if we truly intend to rehabilitate. Legislators also missed opportunities to put into law the state’s commitment to students at critical junctures, by not passing bills like Ninth Grade Success Initiative (SB 5408/HB 2053) or a bill to provide supports for chronically absent students and students with other barriers (SB 5850). 

As we wrap up this session, we are taking away key lessons for our collective work: 

  1. Now is the time to start organizing to hold each other and our lawmakers accountable for priorities deferred to the 2025 legislative session. At Stand, we do this in multiple ways: through our PAC’s endorsement process, through interim meetings and conversations, and by connecting those closest to an issue with the lawmakers making decisions about it. 
  2. Working in partnership and coalition is vital and helps us have stronger wins and to weather the disappointments. Our partners in this work challenge and inspire us daily to keep fighting for what is right and what will work to support students.  We must be crystal clear in our demands for youth justice to ensure young people stay out of the juvenile rehabilitation and criminal legal systems and stay in rigorous and enriching educational environments, and there is a lot of work to do to cut through the political rhetoric and educate lawmakers about what truly works to support young people. 
    • Our Debt Free Youth Justice coalition brought together more than 20 organizations, and dozens of directly impacted young people, to reduce the harmful impacts of the juvenile legal system.
    • Our High School Success Coalition collaborated on bills to support every student on their path to achieving a rigorous high school diploma and pursuing their dreams.
  3. We must make room for connection and healing. This work is hard, and isolating. The antidote is community connection. We will be looking for opportunities to connect with you throughout interim, virtually and in community. 

As a first step towards that connection, we want to hear from you! Please stay in touch and let us know what you are interested in connecting on, and issues that are arising in your community.

In closing, our work is not possible without your partnership. Thank you for standing with us, and standing with children, this legislative session and always. 

In partnership, 

Kia & Liz 

This week is the next to last week of session – and today is a final cutoff date. All bills that aren’t considered “necessary to implement the budget” need to receive a vote from the full chamber by 5pm today. After today, legislators will turn their attention to finalizing the supplemental budget and passing bills considered necessary to implement that budget. In addition, there are three initiatives that the legislature will consider. 

The last day of session is known as “sine die” (latin for “without day” meaning they adjourn without a specific day to return), and will be March 7. 

Bill Updates 

This was a whirlwind week with Monday’s fiscal cutoff and today’s floor cutoff. Here’s a roundup of the bills we’ve been tracking and sharing with you this session: 

Prime Sponsor Rep. Slatter watches as Senator Randall speaks in support of HB 2214 on the Senate floor

  • SB 5904 (aligning and extending state financial aid timelines) – Passed the House 61-35
  • HB 2214 (auto-qualifying students receiving food stamps for the Washington College Grant) – Passed the Senate 28-20 
  • HB 2217 (to ensure more juvenile offenses are prosecuted in juvenile court) passed the Senate 29-20 
  • HB 2025 (to expand state work study for college access programs) is scheduled for a Senate floor vote today. 
  • HB 2065 (juvenile points retroactivity) did not advance out of Senate Ways & Means on Monday and is dead for this session. 

Ballot Initiatives

Six ballot initiatives were sent to the legislature this session. The legislature has decided to consider three of them and to send three to the ballot for voters to decide. They held hearings and committee votes this week on the three initiatives under consideration and will bring them to the floor for debate and vote next week. The three initiatives are: I-2081, concerning parental rights, I-2111, concerning personal income taxes, and I-2113, concerning vehicular pursuits. 

Budget update

Each chamber has passed their operating budget proposal and will now go into “conference” to reconcile the differences between the two proposals. Ninth Grade Success Initiative is funded in the Senate proposal, but not the House, and we are urging budget negotiators to retain the Senate number in the final budget. We expect the final proposal to be released Wednesday March 6th.

We want to hear from you! What questions, reactions, reflections, celebrations, and concerns do you have about the legislative session? Share your thoughts by Wednesday March 6th; we’ll publish a round up in our final roll-call edition next week! 

Thank you for your continued advocacy!


Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director


In partnership with the Center for Children & Youth Justice, Rachel Sottile and Kia C. Franklin published an op-ed continuing our commitment to end all fines and fees imposed on youth in Washington.

Read the article here. To track progress on this effort, subscribe to our email list for updates!

This week marked the release of House and Senate budget proposals, and yet another bill cutoff – all bills that are not considered “necessary to implement the budget” needed to be voted out of a policy committee by Wednesday. 

Budgets Released

As usual, there are differences between the House and Senate proposals that will need to be ironed out “in conference.” Over the next two weeks, a small team of negotiators for each chamber will work on a negotiated final budget that reconciles the differences between the two. Our partners at League of Education Voters have put together a very comprehensive side-by-side comparison of the education budgets. We’ve pulled out a few highlights below.

We are thrilled to report that the Senate budget fully funds the Ninth Grade Success Initiative at $3 million. Unfortunately, the House budget does not include any funding; we are urging lawmakers to keep the Senate funding level in the final budget!

ItemGovernor’s BudgetHouse BudgetSenate Budget Advocacy Ask 
Ninth Grade Success Initiative Not includedNot included$3 million Match the Senate level!
Rally for College $3 million $3 million Not includedMatch the House level! 
SB 5904 to align financial aid timelines$1 million Not included $8.3 million Include some funding in the final budget 
HB 2214 to automatically enroll high school students receiving food benefits in WA College Grant  $239k $239k Not includedMatch the House level 
SB 5850 to address learning recovery and chronic absenteeism$0$0$2m Match the Senate level 
Legal financial obligation analysis Not includedNot included $165k Match the Senate level 
Audit of Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) facilitiesNot includedNot included $400k Match the Senate level 
Gender responsive programming in JRA facilities Not includedNot included$200k Match the Senate level  
Contracted security guards at Echo Glen $9.032m$17.934m$9.032mThis is a poor use of public funds. Encourage equal investment in youth-serving programs. 

Cutoffs Continue

SB 5974 to eliminate uncollectible juvenile court debt has cleared the last hurdle and was voted off the House floor 66-27 this week! It’s headed to the Governor’s desk for signature! 

Other bills we’re tracking that need to pass out of a fiscal committee by Monday 2/26:

  • SB 5904: aligning and extending state financial aid timelines
  • HB 2214: auto-qualifying students receiving food stamps for the Washington College Grant
  • HB 2065: juvenile points retroactivity)

And a few bills are waiting in the Senate Rules committee to be pulled to the floor for a vote (which they need to receive by Friday 3/1):

  • HB 2217 to ensure more juvenile offenses are prosecuted in juvenile court
  • HB 2025 to expand state work study for college access programs.  

Thank you for your continued advocacy!


Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

This week saw some late night floor action, the start of “opposite chamber” policy committee hearings, and SB 5974 passed out of the House Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning committee this morning (9-2)!

Also exciting: the House and Senate budget proposals will be released Sunday and Monday. Monday is the last opportunity for the public to weigh in on the budget during the Appropriations and Ways & Means hearings on the proposals. Interested in testifying?

What we’ll be looking for in the budget:

  • Full funding for Ninth Grade Success Initiative – $2.9 million 
  • Funding for the Administrative Office of the Courts to continue analyzing legal financial obligations – $165,000
  • Funding to expand the juvenile justice block grant – $4 million 
  • Funding for Rally for College – $5 million 
  • Funding to fully implement HB 2214 and SB 5904 to remove barriers to financial aid access for low income students, and HB 2025 to expand access to the state work study program for community based organizations.

Actions you can take today:

  • If you haven’t yet emailed your lawmaker to express your support for $2.9m for Ninth Grade Student Success, click here!
  • Sign in pro on SB 5850, to address chronic absenteeism.

What’s next:

The next few weeks will continue to be a whirlwind as bill deadlines and budget negotiations come on fast and furious. Legislators (and their staff) will be working long hours to get bills through committees to a floor vote and to the Governor’s desk. Here are the remaining deadlines for bills: 

  • February 21 – Policy Committee – Opposite House Cutoff
  • February 26 – Fiscal Committee – Opposite House Cutoff
  • March 1 – Floor Cutoff except for bills that are necessary to implement the budget 
  • March 7 – Sine Die/Last day of Session

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

Today marks day 33 of session, meaning we are more than halfway through this short, 60-day session. 

Right now, legislators are “on the floor” debating bills in the full House and full Senate. All bills must be passed out of their chamber of origin (i.e. Senate bills must be voted out of the Senate, and House bills must be voted out of the Senate) by next Tuesday, February 13 at 5pm. We also anticipate the House & Senate to release their budget proposals within the next two weeks.  

Successful Day of Action

Thank you to everyone who joined us to take action in support of Ninth Grade Success! While the bills we were supporting (HB 2053 and SB 5408) died this week, we have been focused on securing a budget proviso. Your action yesterday to contact your lawmaker came at a perfect time to influence the budget proposals (if you haven’t emailed your lawmaker yet, there’s still time!) Liz & Kia were in Olympia with our lobbyist, amplifying your voices and messages to lawmakers. 

Bill Updates

  • SB 5974 to eliminate uncollectible juvenile court debt passed the Senate last week, and has a House hearing next week. Click here to sign in pro by Feb 14 at 12:30pm.
  • Among the priorities for our High School Success Coalition, several are moving forward:
    • HB 2025 to expand college work study options to support postsecondary access is waiting for a vote in the House.  
    • HB 2214 which would automatically qualify SNAP recipients for the Washington College Grant is awaiting a vote in the House. Its companion bill, SB 6300 did not advance past Senate Ways & Means. 
    • SB 5904 which would align timelines for state financial aid programs with federal aid programs is scheduled for a vote in the Senate today! 
    • Unfortunately, SB 6254, which would have created a financial aid certification program and expanded navigation support at high schools and colleges did not advance out of Senate Ways & Means and is dead for the session. 
  • Among the juvenile justice priorities we are tracking:
    • HB 2217 would make some technical changes to ensure that most youth who commit offenses while under 18 are charged in juvenile court. It’s a commonsense and broadly supported bill that removes loopholes keeping youth from a more developmentally appropriate case resolution. It is awaiting a vote on the House floor. 
    • SB 6063 which would remove juvenile strikes from 3 strikes is still awaiting a vote on the Senate floor. 

Thank you for your continued advocacy, and for standing for students across Washington State!

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

This week marked the first major deadline of legislative session – all bills had to receive a vote in the policy committee by Wednesday 1/31. We are now racing towards the second major cutoff – all bills that have a projected cost greater than $50,000 must receive a hearing and vote in a fiscal committee by Monday 2/5. The fiscal committees are meeting all day Saturday and Monday to try and move through as many bills as possible. 

Stand WA Priority Bills: 

  • HB 2053 (Ninth Grade Success Initiative) has received a hearing in a fiscal committee but has not yet been scheduled for a vote. If it doesn’t receive a vote by Monday the bill won’t advance, but we can still advocate for funding in the budget. 
  • SB 5974 (eliminating uncollectible juvenile court debt) was voted out of the Senate this week with a strong bipartisan vote. This is great news and means the bill is moving well ahead of schedule! It now needs to move through the process in the House of Representatives.

Other important priorities: 

  • Stand WA convenes the High School Success Coalition, which is prioritizing bills that support high school students to access post-secondary opportunities this session.
    • HB 2214 would ensure those receiving food benefits (such as SNAP) are automatically qualified for the Washington College Grant. This bill was heard in House appropriations yesterday and is scheduled for a vote on Saturday. 
    • HB 2025 would expand the number of students participating in the state work study program working in college access programs. It is scheduled for a hearing in House Appropriations on Saturday and for a vote on Monday. Sign in Pro here!
    • SB 5904 would align timeframes for state financial aid programs with federal financial aid programs, reducing confusion for students and removing barriers to completing their degree. It received a hearing in Senate Ways & Means but has not yet been scheduled for a vote. 
    • SB 6254 would expand college navigation and financial aid counseling for students. It has a hearing scheduled on Saturday in Senate Ways & Means, but has not yet been scheduled for a vote. Sign in “pro” here

Tune into tvw.org to watch the Appropriations and Ways & Means committees live this weekend and Monday, and we will provide an update on bill status next week. 

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

As we end Week 3, we’re just a few days away from the first major cutoff of legislative session. All bills must have a hearing and receive a vote by Wednesday, January 31 in a policy committee or they will not move forward this session (there are exceptions for budget-related bills).

Deadlines are also approaching for legislators to submit their budget requests to begin building budget proposals. We’re seeing the legislature begin to prioritize some bills and budget items over others, which will only increase over the coming weeks. 
We’ve learned that the Ninth Grade Success Initiative bills (HB 2053 and SB 5408) are unlikely to move forward this session, so we’re focusing on securing budget investments via our House and Senate champions. It is essential our champions and budget leaders hear about the impact of this work in communities across Washington. Please join our virtual Day of Action on Feb. 8 as one way to commit to contacting your lawmaker. 

Other highlights from this week

  • SB 5974, to remove unenforceable juvenile court debt that can follow people for a lifetime, moved out of the Senate Rules committee. The next step is a vote by the full Senate by Feb 13. 
  • SB 6254 was heard on Wed.; this bill from Sen. Nobles would expand student navigational supports to increase postsecondary enrollment, with a particular emphasis on helping students with the financial aid process. 
  • Two important bills regarding resentencing individuals received hearings this week and are scheduled for votes early next week.
    • HB 2065 would allow resentencing for people who are serving very long sentences because years were added to their sentence while they were children.
    • HB 2001 is a pathway for individuals with very long sentences who have shown rehabilitation while incarcerated to be resentenced.

Did you know: Both bills above have profound racial justice implications. Nearly 1 in 4 individuals serving very long prison sentences are Black, while Black people make up less than 5 percent of the Washington population. And Washington incarcerates Indigenous people at more than 6x the rate of white people. This over-policing and over-incarceration begins in childhood; we’re committed to preventing youth criminalization and supporting efforts to review lengthy sentences based on outdated practices.

We will need to keep the pressure on for all our priorities in order to keep them top of mind for lawmakers as they whittle down their priorities in the coming week. Stay tuned for action opportunities!

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

Claim your free day of action sticker

Despite the frigid temperatures in Olympia and around the state, it was a week packed with hearings. Committees also started voting on bills (called “taking executive action”). There are only 12 days left for bills to receive a committee vote in order to advance in the legislative process. 

Great news! 

SB 5974, which would create an automatic process to remove uncollectible juvenile court debt, advanced out of committee! After a strong hearing in the Senate and House, this important legislation advanced out of Senate Human Services on Thursday. It goes next to the Rules Committee; it must be pulled from rules to the floor for a vote by February 13. 

A few other bills also moved forward out of committee: SB 6021 which would eliminate the cost of prison phone calls to better connect families with incarcerated loved ones; and SB 5981 which was written by currently incarcerated students. 

Ninth Grade Success Spotlight 

Rep Stonier’s bill HB 2053 had a fantastic hearing in the House Appropriations Committee, featuring student and administrator voices from around the state. The Daily Herald also highlighted the impact of Ninth Grade Success funding in Snohomish County in a recent article. Thank you to everyone who signed in pro for the bill!

Hearings to watch next week: 

  • SB 6082 (Nobles) – Increasing compensation for Washington paraeducators, hearing Monday 1/22 at 10:30am in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education committee. Sign in Pro!
  • HB 2065 (Stearns) – Recalculating sentencing ranges for currently incarcerated individuals whose offender score was increased by juvenile convictions, hearing Monday 1/22 at 1:30pm in House Community Safety, Justice & Reentry committee. Sign in Pro!
  • HB 1228 (Ortiz-Self) – Building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education, hearing Monday 1/22 at 1:30pm in House Education committee. Sign in Pro!

These are just a handful of important bills up for consideration; you can follow along with all the action at tvw.org and see the daily hearing schedule at leg.wa.org

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director

Today is the end of the first week of session, and with just 55 days remaining to consider hundreds of policy proposals and develop a supplemental budget, things are moving very quickly. Educators and administrators testified on the Governor’s budget Monday and Tuesday to urge lawmakers to include $2.9m in the final budget for the Ninth Grade Success Initiative. 

Stand’s top priority bills, and several supporting priorities, have key hearings next week. Read on for more info about how you can support!


  • Monday, January 15: What better way to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than to advocate for bills to advance racial justice and undo the harms of our juvenile legal system?
    • Click here to sign in pro for SB 5974, which would require courts to waive uncollectible juvenile court debt from the record. This is old debt that courts may no longer collect, but it remains “on the books” and is holding back economic mobility for thousands of Washingtonians.
    • Please sign in PRO by 9:15am on Mon. 
  • Tuesday, January 19Click here to sign in pro for HB 2251, which is the House version of the bill to waive uncollectible court debt from the record. Please sign in PRO by 12:15pm on Tues.
  • Wednesday, January 17: Click here to sign in pro for HB 2053, which would establish the Ninth Grade Success Initiative in law, ensuring ongoing commitment to targeted supports for this pivotal transition year. Please sign in PRO by 2:45pm on Wed.

What is “signing in pro” anyway? 

You can let the committee know your position on a bill (pro, con, or “other”) from the comfort of your own home, without even testifying! By clicking the links above and filling out a simple online form, you can note your support of a bill formally for the legislative record. It helps lawmakers know how strongly the community feels about a bill. 

What else should I be watching next week? 

In addition to our priority bill hearings, there will be hearings on bills to remove barriers to financial aid and expand access to peer mentors for students considering their college and career options. There are also multiple juvenile justice bills being heard next week, including one written by currently incarcerated students. We urge your support! 

Is there anything else I should know?

All bills must have a hearing and a vote in a policy committee by January 31, or they will not be able to advance this session. Hearings are a critical step in the process! You can watch hearings live, or check out the recordings, at tvw.org.

Stay tuned for action alerts in support of our bills and our partner priorities next week! 

In advocacy, 

Liz Trautman
Government Affairs Director