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!