We’ve just passed the third major cutoff of legislative session – Wednesday (March 8th) was the deadline for most bills to pass out of their “house of origin,” meaning a full vote of either the House or the Senate. Those bills will now need to be heard and voted out of a policy committee by March 29. At the same time, work on the budget is really heating up. We expect the House and Senate to each release their proposed budgets by the end of March, and then spend most of April working behind closed doors to reconcile their proposals into a final budget. 

This is an exciting time to watch the bills we’ve been tracking as they advance through the legislative process, but it is also an incredibly important time for executing new strategies and tactics for our legislative priorities that did not make it through. For that, we need you! See below for opportunities to join us in continuing to be powerful advocates for ninth grade success and debt free justice.

We need your help to tell lawmakers to include $5.65m in the state budget to continue and expand the successful Ninth Grade Success Teams approach. 

We are also working to advance parts of our Debt Free Youth Justice bill through the budget and through supporting other bills. Unfortunately, SB 5474 will not be moving forward, but we can still make important progress. In particular, we are excited to support HB 1169, which will eliminate the remaining mandatory court fees in juvenile court and create a path for those with juvenile court debt to petition the court for relief. It’s a small piece of our larger goal, but a very important step in the right direction. 

Checking in on some of our other bills we are tracking, many of them have cleared the latest cutoffs and have moved to the opposite chamber. 

  • Dual Credit Equity – HB 1146 which improves notification about dual credit programs and available financial assistance, and HB 1316 which expands summer Running Start programs have both advanced to the Senate. HB 1316 is scheduled for a hearing on Monday. And SB 5048, which would make College in the High School free for all students, passed the Senate unanimously and heads over to the House. 
  • High School and Beyond planning – SB 5243, which directs OSPI to identify common digital platforms for students’ high school and beyond plans, also passed the Senate unanimously and heads to the House, where it will be heard in policy committee on Tuesday.  
  • HB 1479 to eliminate isolation and restraint in schools is also moving forward, and will be considered in the Senate. 

As always, thank you for your advocacy! Please take a moment to contact your lawmakers today to support funding for Ninth Grade Success in the state budget.

Today marks the second big deadline of legislative session. “Fiscal cutoff” is the deadline for bills with budget impact to be voted out of a fiscal committee. This week has truly been a marathon of bill hearings and committee votes (called “executive session” in legislative lingo) going well into the night. These will continue all day today until the deadline of 5pm. 

As you read this, Stand’s Debt Free Youth Justice priority bill – SB 5474 – still needs to be voted out of executive session. It is scheduled for a vote today, just squeaking up to the deadline. The bill was heard in Ways and Means on Saturday, February 18 (yes, the legislature even works on the weekends around cutoff time!), and the highlight of the hearing was definitely Jacob, who broke down the long-term impact of owing tens of thousands of dollars before you turn 18. Please take a moment to listen to Jacob’s 90-second testimony

In less rosy news, Stand’s other priority bill SB 5408 to sustain and expand Ninth Grade Success Teams was not scheduled for a hearing or vote in Ways & Means, despite powerful advocacy from school leaders around the state. We are not giving up though! There is a path forward through the two-year state budget and we will share opportunities for advocacy in the coming days! 

Thank you to everyone who rallied and took action on one of our support bills – SB 5434 to “raise the age” of juvenile court jurisdiction from 8 – one of the country’s lowest – to 13. You sent dozens of emails to legislators (and many of you indicated your support even though your legislator didn’t sit on Ways & Means!). Your voices joined a loud call for evidence-based public policy, rooted in best practice, brain science, and positive youth development. Unfortunately, the bill was not brought up for a hearing in Ways and Means before today’s Fiscal cutoff and will not move forward this session. However, thanks to your advocacy, lawmakers know how important it is to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction and are looking into keeping the conversation going via a potential budget strategy. We will keep you in the loop as things develop – stay tuned!

Here’s an update on the status of other bills we’ve mentioned in the last few weeks: 

  • HB 1316 and SB 5048 were both moved out of their fiscal committees; together they set the state on a path towards expanding access to the Running Start and College in the High School dual credit programs. In addition, HB 1146, which would strengthen communication with students and parents about available dual credit options, has already passed the House and is awaiting a first hearing in the Senate. 
  • SB 5243 to strengthen High School and Beyond planning has passed out of Ways & Means, and is in the Rules committee. It will need to be “pulled” from Rules for a vote on the Senate floor by March 8.
  • HB 1479 to eliminate isolation and restraint in schools is scheduled for a vote today in House Appropriations. 

As you can tell, things are moving quickly and the outcome of some important pieces of legislation is still uncertain. We’ll be updating you soon with a full report and how you can take action to keep top priorities moving forward!

Thank you for being in this work with us!

Dear friends –

We are at the top of week 6 and nearing the first major deadline of the legislative session: all bills need to be voted out of their policy committee by this Friday, February 17. And that deadline is quickly followed by another – all bills (with few exceptions) that cost money must be heard and voted out of a fiscal committee by Feb 24. The next two weeks are going to be a nail-biter, but we’ll keep you updated on the bills that matter most to you!

Speaking of which, I’m pleased to report that Stand’s legislative priorities are in great shape with both of our top priorities on track to meet the above deadlines! Debt Free Youth Justice (SB 5474 & HB 1432) and Ninth Grade Success Teams (SB 5408) all had fantastic bill hearings last week, featuring powerhouse panels of testimony from community members, educators, those with lived expertise, and system stakeholders. And our community also showed up: More than 100 people signed in pro on each bill! Thank you! Your efforts made a difference in demonstrating widespread community support for our priorities. 

The results of your advocacy are clear: SB 5408 passed out of committee unanimously, and SB 5474 was amended and passed out of committee. Both bills will now need to be scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Senate fiscal committee, Ways & Means, by February 24. 

What’s next? We’re continuing to watch other important bills related to educational equity and racial justice, including:  

  • Dual credit bills – both HB 1003 and HB 1316, which would subsidize cost of participation in dual credit programs for students eligible for free & reduced priced lunch – moved forward unanimously and have been referred to the House fiscal committee, Appropriations. In the Senate, SB 5048, which would eliminate fees for all students in the College in the High School program, is awaiting a hearing and vote in Ways & Means. 
  • Bills to improve the high school and beyond planning process (HB 1273 and SB 5243) also advanced out of their policy committees, with amendments supported by Stand for Children and our partners. 
  • Several youth justice policies that Stand is supporting are poised to move forward: ending isolation & restraint in schools (HB1479/SB 5559), increasing the minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction (HB 1440/SB5434), and a bill to eliminate mandatory legal financial obligations in juvenile and adult court (HB 1169). 

As ever, coordinated and sustained advocacy, the power of lived experience, and the commitment of our community is what ensures that legislators continue to prioritize our issues. Here are just a two 90-second clips from the hearings, but we encourage to watch even more:

  • Alexis Hale’s testimony on the Debt Free Youth Justice Bill
  • Jose Rivera’s testimony on the power of the Ninth Grade Success Team approach to educational equity in Grandview School District. 

Thank you for being in this work with us!

In advocacy, 



This session, Stand is advocating for restorative educational justice by urging lawmakers to build a debt-free youth justice system. One way to reduce the harmful impacts of juvenile legal system involvement on young people’s educational and life opportunities is to eliminate the ineffective and inefficient practice of imposing financial restitution in juvenile cases. That’s why, alongside our partners in the Debt Free Youth Justice Washington Coalition, we are advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 5474 and House Bill 1432.  

Our coalition was thrilled to see this powerful and compelling article by Claudia Rowe, who spotlights the experience of one of our amazing coalition members, and outlines the overall impacts of a system that allows kids to be fined in ways that can create life-altering barriers. Claudia writes:  

‘If we want young people who have committed crimes to change their lives and get on a better path, saddling them with an impossible debt only hinders that goal.’      

Concluding that this only results in “a criminal justice system that provides very little justice — to anyone” this article is a powerful illustration of why we must replace inequitable, systemically flawed policies with community-based solutions that build pathways of opportunity and potential for young people. 

Read the full article here. And to track progress on this effort, subscribe to Stand’s list and visit dfyjwa.org.  

Whew! Session is in full swing with more bills introduced in the last two weeks. Committees are engaging in hybrid hearings and getting smoother at switching back and forth between remote and in-person testimony.

We’ve got updates on Stand’s priority bills!

  • Debt Free Youth Justice – bills have been introduced in the House and Senate and both are scheduled for hearings next week!
    – SB 5474 (Bill sponsor: Senator Frame) will be heard Monday, 1/30 at  10:30 am in the Senate Human Services committee
    – HB 1432 (Bill sponsor: Representative Farivar) will be heard Wednesday, 2/1 at 1:30 pm in the House Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning committee 
  • Ninth Grade Success Teams – SB 5408 (Bill sponsor: Senator Liias) was introduced last week and is scheduled for public hearing on Thursday, 2/2 at 1:30 pm. 

Take action on these priorities by signing in pro for our Debt Free Youth Justice bill SB 5474.

There were several recent hearings on House bills aimed at improving dual credit equity and helping students accelerate their learning after pandemic learning loss. Here are a few we’re watching closely:

  • Dual credit equity – Washington lawmakers are considering two approaches to increasing the number of low-income students and students furthest from educational justice in dual credit programs which allow them to earn college credit while in high school. HB 1003 and HB 1316 focus on subsidies in all or most dual credit programs for students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, and SB 5048 would subsidize costs for all students in the College in the High School Program. 
  • Pandemic learning loss – SB 5248 targets federal pandemic relief dollars toward intensive tutoring and extended learning time, two interventions well-supported by evidence of effectiveness. A crucial topic for this session is to ensure that resources are targeted towards those evidence-based or promising strategies to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss. 
  • Justice system reform – Stand supports HB 1169 which would eliminate the remaining mandatory court fees that judges do not have discretion to waive. We are also supportive of bills to address juvenile court jurisdiction (HB 1324) and end the practice of isolation in schools (HB 1479). 

Last week we called attention to HB 1071, and thanks to you, this bill received a lot of community attention and feedback on both sides of the issue, with over 1300 individuals registering their position on the bill. Some of our subscribers disagree with Stand’s position. We stand by our analysis that fully funding school resource officers in every school, particularly before we’ve even fully funded guidance counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals, is an irresponsible use of state funds and not backed by research to support student safety and well-being. That said, we sincerely appreciated hearing from this diverse community. 

Thank you for reaching out and taking action. We’re looking forward to another busy few weeks of continued advocacy for educational equity and racial justice!

In advocacy,