Legislative Update
January 2017
Week 1 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

The first week of the legislative session is always hopping, particularly following an election year. On opening day on Monday, legislators took their oaths of office and elected officers in the House and Senate. 

Also on Monday the Education Funding Task Force (EFTF) held its final meeting, at which members were supposed to formally submit the committee's recommendations. However, in a party line split that surprised no one, members failed to agree on recommendations. Following the vote, the committee took public comment (beginning at 14:05). An article in the News Tribune describes the committee as "so divided," they were unable even to "approve separate recommendations."

Side note: Check out this article that ran in Sunday's Seattle Times about education funding inequities in Washington and how other states spend their education dollars. 

On Wednesday in a  joint legislative session , statewide elected officials were sworn in and Governor Inslee delivered his second inaugural address (beginning at 1:20). Among the elected officials being sworn in on Wednesday was new OSPI Chief, Chris Reykdal. Shortly thereafter, he announced that OSPI is withdrawing from the school levies lawsuit filed by former State Superintendent, Randy Dorn, against several school districts across the state. However, an article in the Everett Herald explains that this action doesn't kill the lawsuit since some parents in the affected school districts "have obtained standing as intervening plaintiffs."

State Superintendent Reykdal also announced that he intends to delay submission of the state's ESSA implementation plan so that, " everyone - legislators as well as the general public - has a chance to weigh in on a plan that could guide education policy in our state for many years." The plan will be submitted to the Department of Education on September 18.

Bills introduced this week:
  • HB 1115, and its companion bill, SB 5070, would require districts to implement a paraeducator certification program
  • SB 5023, a companion bill to HB 1059, would delay revisions to the school levy lid (also known as the "levy cliff") until calendar year 2019
Bills making progress this week:
  • HB 1012 would eliminate the use of the high school science assessment as a prerequisite for graduation, is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Education committee on January 19
  • HB 1046 would eliminate certificates of academic and individual achievement as requirements for graduation, is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Education committee on January 19
  • HB 1059 would delay the levy cliff until calendar year 2019, received a public hearing in the House Appropriations committee on Wednesday. It was scheduled for consideration in Executive Session on Thursday, but no action was taken.
Of course we'll continue to keep an eye on these and other relevant bills throughout the session, but if you're interested in doing some of your own monitoring, this article from Spokesman Review has a lot of suggestions for "keeping tabs" on the legislature.

Finally, here's a great NPR interview with the outgoing Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr, in which he talks about how teachers save children's lives and offers some advice to his successor. Poignant reading, indeed.

Have a great weekend!

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Note about 
l egislative updates: 

CSTP relays these legislative updates to provide information on bills, budgets and legislative processes. CSTP doesn't have a legislative agenda, but does track legislative issues most relevant to teaching.