The cherry blossoms are out in Olympia. Legislators and lobbyists alike are sneaking into the sun for a few enjoyable minutes after weeks on the floor and in meeting rooms, debating and hashing out important policy decisions. But we’re just two days away from “sine die” – the official term for the last day of legislative session – on April 23.

We know a lot about how things are shaping up for our policy priorities, but one area that’s coming down to the wire is the Ninth Grade Success program funding. As you know, dedicated funding wasn’t included in either budget proposal earlier this year. The proposals actually repurposed the federal funding schools were relying on – effectively eliminating the program. 

We expect a final, negotiated budget to be released Saturday at noon, and we’ll know more then about the fate of the Ninth Grade Success funding. One thing is certain – this community did everything possible to elevate this to lawmakers. We are so grateful to all of you who signed our petition, called your legislators, and shared information about this proven and transformative program to raise high school graduation rates and support students to thrive in a pivotal year. Regardless of the outcome of this session, we are very appreciative of  your advocacy. 

On the policy front, we’re excited to share that a number of our priority bills are heading to the Governor’s office for signature with bipartisan support!

  • HB 1169 eliminates mandatory legal financial obligations for youth and adults, and also eliminates the remaining discretionary court fees for juveniles as well as making prior non-restitution debt for young people uncollectible. This is a big victory, salvaged from the defeat of SB 5474 earlier this session. 
  • Two dual credit bills are also headed to the Governor: SB 5048 eliminates fees for participating in College in the High School, paving the way for more students to earn college credits that will help them transition to college. HB 1316 makes summer Running Start an option throughout the state, and ensures that students who have graduated high school can participate the summer after their senior year to help them complete their AA degree. 
  • SB 5243 directs OSPI to identify a common online platform for the High School and Beyond plan, and to engage students, families, and communities in the process. This is a step towards more consistent and robust planning for postsecondary opportunities throughout a high school experience. 

We’ll share another update next week with a breakdown of the final budget, and in a few weeks we’ll offer a more comprehensive reflection on this legislative session. 

We’re so grateful to each of you for sticking with us through this long session until the bitter end!

Kaaren with a CHSS graduate

We are in the final weeks of session. Lawmakers are tired, and there are significant differences between the House and the Senate budget proposals to work out. This year, there are also new budget dynamics as federal pandemic relief funds will expire next year and must be allocated and spent before they do. 

Amidst this, our big headline is: Ninth Grade Success Funding is not included in either budget proposal. Worse, the budget proposals are set to use funds that the state Office of Public Instruction had already allocated for Ninth Grade Success and other programs, to fund other priorities. This would result in devastating cuts to programs that are working, and that are already in place to help students and families around the state. 

We need your help to preserve funding for Ninth Grade Success – please take action and sign our petition! 

What’s next? The House & Senate will need to reconcile their two budget proposals through a conference committee, where lead budget writers for both chambers will negotiate the contents of the final budget. We are keeping the pressure on to include Ninth Grade Success funding – without this action, 12,000 students will lose access to this proven program. 

In a bright spot, our juvenile legal financial obligations work got a second life through a combination of bills and budget provisos! HB 1169 was amended to include elimination of all non-restitution court fees and costs. Additionally, two budget provisos were included in the budget proposals to fund additional data and community engagement work on this important topic. HB 1169 will need to be voted off the Senate floor by April 12, and the provisos, one in each budget, will need to both be included in the final budget proposal. 

The lesson of this session is, your continued advocacy makes a difference! Thanks to you, our fines & fees work lives to see another day, and I know that with your help we can get across the finish line for Ninth Grade Success. Take action today!

Kia Franklin testifying at hearing.

It’s day 75 of the legislative session and the pace just continues to accelerate, with 30 days remaining for lawmakers to pass crucial policies and make difficult budget decisions. Maybe the cherry blossoms and the sun coming out have provided added momentum, because as we spring toward the end of session, some of our key efforts that were once at risk of slowing down or stalling now seem to be getting a second wind. But we’ve got to keep pushing, so updates and action items are below!      

Although our two priority policies did not advance as bills, we are excited to share that the elimination of remaining juvenile legal fines and fees, originally part of SB 5474, has been included as an amendment to HB 1169, the Legal Financial Obligations bill that we’ve been watching and supporting. HB 1169 passed out of the Senate Law & Justice committee on Wednesday night and will now need to be heard and passed out of the Senate Ways and Means committee by April 4th.                      

Upon passage of the bill, this would in effect fully eliminate all juvenile fines and fees for young people adjudicated in juvenile court in Washington State! We’re grateful for and standing in solidarity with lawmakers and community members who saw the opportunity to get juvenile fines and fees off the books this session.             

Hope remains for Ninth Grade Success Teams as well, originally SB 5408. Right now we’re ramping up our advocacy, urging lawmakers to fund the Ninth Grade Success Teams approach in the upcoming biennium budget. Kia from Stand and Henterson from CHSS testified today at the Senate Budget Hearing, and we ask that you please consider joining in this effort as well by calling your Senator today!                                                           

For added context, the Senate budget proposal came out yesterday on the heels of an updated revenue forecast indicating lower-than-anticipated state revenues in the coming years. The forecast included a reduction in state general fund dollars by about $407 million in the next two years. This painted a rather dim picture for funding requests. Which is why your voice is going to be essential in amplifying and ensuring that the Ninth Grade Success Teams approach be included in the budget. 

We need you! Be a part of this important advocacy!

To end on good news: Other education priorities we are tracking – including eliminating fees for college in the high school (SB 5048) and establishing a digital platform for high school and beyond plans (SB 5243) – continue to move through the process and received funding in the budget proposal!         

Next up: We’ll see the House budget proposal on Monday, and lawmakers in both chambers will then spend the rest of session working through the budget differences and developing a final budget proposal. We’ll be sure to keep you posted along the way.                                                                                         

Thank you for your advocacy and for staying in community with us this session! Happy Spring!

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, 


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, 


Happy first week of session! I started as the Government Affairs Director with Stand for Children in August, so this is my first legislative session with Stand, and I’m excited to move forward our collective priorities together! I’m also excited to be coming into a hybrid legislative session, with more ways to participate than ever – legislators and lobbyists are back in Olympia, and members of the public can participate in person or via zoom. 

I was able to attend the opening of the House of Representatives on Monday, and it was a really nice way to kick the session off. It definitely has a “back to school” feel in Olympia. Watching the swearing in ceremony was also a nice reminder that legislators are humans too – they were cheered on by family and friends, and are excited to be back in person and building new relationships and strengthening old ones. 

A few updates on where we are one week in: 

  • More than 1000 bills have been introduced so far! 
  • The Governor’s proposed operating budget was heard in the House Appropriations Committee & Senate Ways and Means Committee this week.
    • Stand testified in support of K-12 budget investments, urging final budget to include funding for ninth grade success team approach, dual credit equity, and learning acceleration 
  • Stand’s lead priority bills are expected to drop today, and we’ll update you with bill numbers as soon as we can!
    • Ninth Grade Success Team Approach – Sen Liias is sponsoring this bill to sustain and expand a proven approach to improving the “ninth grade on track rate” for high schools around the state. Ninth grade is a pivotal year, and being “on track” in ninth grade is a strong predictor of on-time high school graduation. 
    • Debt Free Youth Justice – Sen Frame and Rep Farivar are sponsoring a bill that would eliminate harmful and ineffective fines and fees in juvenile court, and better serve those harmed by juvenile offenses with a Community Compensation Fund in lieu of victim restitution. 
    • As always, we are working with a coalition of partners in the High School Success Coalition to advance important priorities. This year our priorities include:
      • Promoting learning acceleration & recovery efforts 
      • Improving Dual Credit equity
      • Supporting effective transitions 

I hope you’ll join us in our advocacy this session – with so many bills introduced, we will need EVERY voice raised in support of educational equity and racial justice. Sign up here to join us as an advocate this session!



As a nonprofit advocacy organization active in Washington since 2007, Stand for Children is a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice, to create a brighter future for us all.

To achieve our mission, Stand’s legislative advocacy seeks to:

  • Lead with the goal of racial equity by targeting policies that prioritize students and families who are Black, Indigenous and
    people of color.
  • Promote proven solutions that are already working in schools and communities

In the 2023 legislative session, Stand urges lawmakers to:

Build a debt-free youth justice system that reduces harm and promotes community healing by:

  • eliminating the ineffective and inefficient practice of imposing financial restitution in juvenile cases;
  • improving access to compensation for victims of crime;
  • eliminating remaining juvenile legal financial obligations (LFOs), and;
  • discharging outstanding juvenile court debt.

We are proud to work alongside our partners in the Debt Free Youth Justice Washington Coalition in this effort. Learn more at

Increase on-time high school graduation rates and support students through the critical ninth-grade transition year by equipping educators with the proven Ninth Grade Success Team Approach

With a framework that is uniquely suited to improve student success, the NGST Approach:

  • prioritizes relationship-building;
  • focuses on equity, and;
  • makes data immediately actionable.

We are proud to work alongside our partners in the High School Success Coalition in this effort. Learn more at

To read our support agenda items for 2023, you may download a PDF copy of our legislative priorities at this link.